_12 gaz-e

The gaz-e is an online digital platform which presents an ongoing collective research project that interrogates the ever-increasing digitised gaze. It does so by sourcing ‘headshot” from email inboxes (attached to or embedded in emails) and placing them in a virtual scape that constantly fluctuates the gaze ad infinitum.

Within the context of the internet we are constantly under the digital gaze. The World Wide Web embodies the notion of a Big Brother dystopia. Its subtle and undetectable collection and storage of information and personal data has developed a new panopticon machine. A result of this online digitised experience is the re-configuration of our own gaze, where data visualisation creates a new paradigm of this new way of seeing, within which pixels become elementary grammar.

The website constantly source and re-distribute the e-mail information flux of the gaze and place it on the World Wide Web. It is maintained by both algorithms and human agency.

Gaz-e is a collaboration between curator Alfredo Cramerotti, artist Ronan Devlin and academic Gillian Jein.

Our minds take shortcuts, often making sense of the world through remembered sequences, connecting perceptible fragments into likely interpretations of what appears before us rather than what is actually there. Through playing with the possibilities of the digital medium, Gaz-E seeks to explore this short-circuiting at work in human perception.

This exploration takes the shape of a single channel moving image work that engages with the digital gaze. Built from a collection of digital images of faces, the appearance and disappearance of these multiple strangers seeks to represent the numerous virtual encounters we experience daily in our increasingly prolific use of screen-based media. Through the reduction of digital information, the work tests how even in conditions of extreme visual abstraction we reach towards anthropomorphic recognition. The work places a small number of pixel dots into an arrangement to visualise a morphing sequence of eight versions of each portrait, arranged to the proportions the Golden Section and following the Fibonacci sequence at 34, 21, 13, 8, 5, 3, 2 & 1 square pixels.

Designed to endlessly expand, the work is also interactive and invites its audience to add their facial portraits to this morphing hyperimage.

Moving through gradients of dissolution and resolution, from black holes and white walls to more complex binary expressions where dots reach to become faces, the work seeks to raise questions around how we look when we look digitally, and to draw attention to the kinds of nostalgia and fascination which the binary play might provoke.

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