WRO Art Center / August 5, 8:00 PM

Visual field disturbances.

Vera Sebert’s work (Liquid Traits of an Image Apparatus) treats vision as a tool that ingests data packets and, based on a programmed instruction protocol, interprets them as images. Any distortions or defects are caused by incompatibility of eyesight interfaces, software errors, or failure to follow safety instructions for using the visual structures. In Sebert’s work, looking and perceiving have nothing organic about them, and individual optics are formatted into machine vision shaped by standardised media conditions.

The Telcosystems group (Testfilm #1), trying to find gaps in the global standardized DCP (Digital Cinema Package) system, points to the creative potential of hacking, inducing errors, or exceeding the rules and limitations set by the machine. The artists refer to the history of visual artistic experiments, which in the past were characterised by greater freedom of access and exploration of the technology itself. When the film tape was replaced by the digital protocol, less space was left for experiments whose in essence wanted to search search for and use of both the possibilities and imperfections of the medium.

The evolution of image technology is also discussed in Chloé Galibert-Laîné’s work (A very long exposure time). However, the artist focuses on the potential inherent in the development of particular tools for recording and imaging very ephemeral and individual ways of perception. She emphasises their social function and places them on a cultural timeline. Unlike the previous two works, technology in Galibert-Laîné’s work is very organic and inseparably linked to the history and experience of the human being who uses it, which also determines how s/he uses it.

Francesca Fini (Trespassing) also tracks people through technology. The public CCTV camera system inspired the artist to create a synthetic composition assembled from the anonymous presence of people in the urban space during the first lockdown in Italy. Their presence is captured only by some digital alert and the print of pixels on the screen. The motion-tracking software is an example of machine vision, peeled from the abstract thinking, submitting to protocols but not immune to errors and mistakes. Fini’s work is intimidating not only through flashbacks of COVID isolation, but also by pointing to the dark, understated side of surveillance technology.

Floating threads, dots and wrinkles in the visual field are traces of errors in the vitreous body of the eye, called flying flies (from the Latin muscae volitantes), or simply eye floaters. Most of the time ignored by the brain which constantly analyses signals from the visual apparatus, they only become visible when there are no other stimuli, when the background is bright and calm, when the eye stops looking, then one can calmly look at one’s own mistakes.

Dagmara Domagała

Zoom out

Liquid Traits of an Image Apparatus

Testfilm #1

A very long exposure time