Autumn 2000

Craig Kalpakjian,
Hall, 1999,
mounted on
100.3x133.4 cm.
Courtesy Roberty
Miller Gallery,
New York
At first it is almost possible to believe in Hall, Craig Kalpakjian's photograph of an interminably long corridor somewhere in corporate hell. Lit from above by row upon row of strip lighting, its only discernible feature is a knee-high air-conditioning vent a third of the way along its length. A precise line of black skirting marks the bottom of the immaculate grey walls, and below this a dim reflection of the vent and the fluorescent lights can be detected in the glassy surface of the floor. It may strike you as strange that there are no doors leading off to other rooms, and perhaps stranger still that there is no sign of anyone ever having visited this inviolate interior. Yet the longer you look at Hall, the more you see that this is a place of apocalyptic desolation, a cold, glittering world that has been purged of every trace of humanity.
For anyone who knows just how sophisticated thecnology has become, it will come as no surprise to learn that Kalpakjian, thirty-nine, created Hall entirely on computer. Using architectural design programmes such as Form Z and Lightscape, he is able to generate uncannily convincing images of interiors and fixtures out of nothing more than ones and zeroes. He begins by drawing a simple model on screen, before adding details such as light, surface, texture and tone. Then he selects a viewpoint and once the image has been digitally rendered he makes a photographic print of the result. If the confusion which the ensuing pictures gives rise to is
an uneasy reminder that what we like to think of as the virtual and the real are no longer truly opposed, then the sterile, unpeopled geometries of these intensely psychological spaces also point to the mood of the computer age, which has seen the cooling effect of technology telescope into every last corner of our being.
Kalpakjian, who studied art history at the University of Pennlylvania, first emerged on the New York scene in the early 1990s. Inspired by minimalism and conceptual art, his work from that period was a sort of hybrid between sculpture and installations, employing barriers, waiting lines and other objects that control the way we move through space. Yet it was not until six years ago, while using a computer to help