CutMod is the moniker of Los Angeles based digital media artist and technologist Will Michaelsen. What began as a stage name for DJing in a student organization at UC San Diego, soon became an identity for creating audio reactive visuals at the shows and in the San Diego bass music scene. The operation scope has expanded over the years to include hyper-technical R&D projects, interactive installations, whimsical festival stage productions replete with aerial choreography and practical effects, and national touring as a lighting and projection designer for metal bands.
CutMod has created an interactive video wall titled “Joy Displacement” and designed custom shirts for FUTRA presents SUPER FUTURE. His piece is an exploration of the social capital afforded by nostalgic imagery in a society that increasingly romanticizes the past. The project more specifically examines the case of Joy Division’s “Unknown Pleasures” album art, and subsequent re-appropriations. The original design for the album art is a scientific diagram described by The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Astronomy as stacked plots of “successive pulses from the first pulsar [star] discovered, CP 1919.” Today that scientific diagram is emblazoned on a $225 T-shirt for sale at Barneys New York. How did we get here, and what is the future of this iconic design?
The project involved recreating the original process—tracing, cutting and stacking paper plots—as a real-time 3D computer graphics process by stacking and displacing many 3D planes. In this way he was able to recreate the natural occlusion of successive layers you would expect from layered pieces of paper. From there he created the shirt designs and the interactive video wall without the usual show-through of typical line displacement effect.
The SUPER FUTURE shirt available in Men’s T-Shirts and Women’s Tanks will be $15 at the event. In addition to the main design, CutMod is selling his own limited edition prints in other designs.