JPG Artefacts (Windows), 2004


2 Inkjet-prints, 88cm x 88cm each

Artwork [1] [2] 3

The images of this body of work use simple geometric shapes only a few pixels wide on white background (click on the image to see the original shapes indicated). The images are compressed with the jpg compression algorithm that produces invisible artefacts in the white areas of the image. These are, by increasing the contrast, brought to the fore so as to melt with the original image. The resulting image is then enlarged using bicubic interpolation that gives the form a distinctive blur.

Although the images might resemble images from the constructivist period or early computer graphics, they offer the reverse perspective onto the constructed image. The images in JPG-Artefacts are not constructed but found and appropriated from the computer. The construction algorithm is 'known' only to the computer and not to the artist/audience. As spectators they are confronted with a pattern that appears to be highly organised (like a magnified circuit board on a chip) where the rules according to which the order is determined has been lost or is not accessible. This illustrates a recent shift in computer related art away from a mechanised use of the computer as a tool to an appreciation of the computer as black box beyond the artist's understanding. Computers are used less and less to produce preconceived results but to enable lucky finds in the hidden plenitude of possible images.

Because of this, rational cognition is suspended in favour of visual appreciation. The eye finds a different type of symmetry at the edge of our visual understanding. The images make us think in which 'dimension' we would have to live in order to share a common level of organisation with the computer. Anthropocentric ideas of symmetry and order might have to be replaced by more complex visual forms for whose understanding we might not yet posses the right frame of mind.

Michael Schwab (31/08/2004)

See my CV and further documents here.