11 November 2020

Photographs are no longer natively physical nor even visual, but are composed of various forms of hidden data, a situation with a wide range of repercussions. In collaboration researcher Lewis Bush and creative coder and generative artist Matt DesLauriers have been developing an algorithmic system designed to transform inputted photographs into new visual forms.

The new images this system outputs appear highly abstract and at times even random, but contain essentially the same information as the source image, only re-rendered and re-presented in new ways, ways which are largely unrecognisable and unintelligible to human visual cognition. They are still, in a very literal sense, photographs, but in rendering them in this way we want viewers to appreciate the enormous differences in the ways that digital systems like computer vision technologies ‘see’ images. (see a wider set of images from this project here).

For the Photoworks commission, I propose using this system to generate a series of images based on familiar Christmas motifs. These could be highly abstracted, or like the examples included here, more or less recognisable. The first image in this series is the source image, the following four are various forms of reworking.