genre experiments


in Art, Geek stuff, Internet matters, Photography, Writing

For two years I have been working on an art project.

I’m not sure whether the concept predated when I first heard James Allard’s lecture on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, but the lecture is a great demonstration of how labeling does interpretive work when it comes to art.

Presented with a digital file, we may struggle to decide what it is in both a technical and artistic sense.

Perhaps it’s an HTML file with embedded image files being displayed in a web browser, or the raw data from the sensor of a digital camera. In either case, it’s also an object within a software and operating system-defined architecture and also bits physically written to some data storage medium.

From an artistic perspective, it may be a line from a play quoted in a piece of art which has been photographed and posted online (or a screenshot of a cell phone app displaying a tweet of a digital photo posted online of a print of a photograph taken illicitly in an art gallery, on display in that art gallery).

The multiple presentations of the same data are the idea of interest: like all the exposure and white balance modifications that can be applied to a raw file from a digital camera, meaning that every photograph arising from that process is an interpretation.

These experiments are also intriguing insofar as they concern cybernetic relationships between individuals, organizations that archive data (like search engines), algorithms nobody fully understands, and governments. The location of a data file on the internet does everything to establish its visibility and significance.

The idea of the project is that every distinct work within it is presented to the viewer with multiple possible modes of interpretation, whether they are based on data architecture, metadata, or the cultural and political content of the human-readable image.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

backup November 20, 2017 at 3:06 am
. November 20, 2017 at 3:10 am

Genre experiments

Experiments with data and art

Oleh November 26, 2017 at 3:32 pm

I see this form of art as a natural extension of your photography.

Many of your photographs involve looking at objects from a different perspective.

Milan November 28, 2017 at 12:11 am

One major focal point for the project is

People should realize that internet content tends to degrade even with conscientious gatekeepers, and it can be severely undermined by governments, internet service providers, and monopolistic internet giants like Google and Facebook.

Tools like the Wayback Machine are very important, and so are local copies on systems and networks independent from the commercial internet.

. December 6, 2017 at 1:42 am
. December 13, 2017 at 4:29 am
. January 16, 2018 at 11:59 pm
. February 26, 2018 at 5:16 pm
Milan July 8, 2018 at 1:45 pm

It occurs to me that one people why people are resisting this experiment, and failing to understand or appreciate the art project, is because we’re so used to having genre packaged for us and presented in some sense up front. That’s still happening to a huge extent here in this automatically generated HTML file, with everything from filenames to the user interface of the web server. Nonetheless, here people are being confronted with simply a list of filenames without a user interface much tailored to help you understand, or graphical control elements or file previews.

It’s actually such an unusual way of presenting files that it may work against the idea that many web crawlers will index this page. To computer nerds, it looks like a file permission error in my Apache configuration. To most people, it seems to look like some sort of vague error or ‘behind the curtains’ area in technology where they aren’t supposed to look. In a way that’s exactly right: the project provokes you to consider the enabling mechanisms and design-side features of technologies like digital photography.

Hapax November 13, 2018 at 7:32 pm

“It’s ’cause you’re dumb.”

Duck test November 13, 2018 at 8:10 pm

asking “are things like ducks” as a means of deciding what categories to put things into

Duck test November 13, 2018 at 8:11 pm
7685234999 August 14, 2020 at 2:53 am

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