Sydney fade

Residency Project at the Sydney Olympic Park

Sydney for a digital ensemble is a photographic installation that seeks to reveal the digital composition of the image, the construction and density of pixels. My interest is to present an active association between the viewer and the image. I am also interested in the relationship between what is visible and invisible information that the naked human eye can recognize and decipher. With the aid of digital devices, gaining physical proximity and/or squinting the eyes, the image becomes increasingly easier to comprehend. 

Sydney fade is the culmination of a research about the pixel within the image. The project has been creatively satisfying and revelatory because it has assisted me by informing my photographic practice in new ways.

The title, Sydney fade, refers to the image as constantly disappearing. To our everyday vision these images fade and it requires that we continually refocus our eyes and reposition our physical proximity in order to find the missing/invisible information and complete the picture.

This project represents the link connecting research on presence, (in front of the image – technology, perception, psychology), and a research presenting a random dance of pixels, causing the process of the image to be revealed. The creation of an expanded image – with visible and invisible information – promotes the participation of the public and develops a relationship between the image and the observer.

A pixel is generally thought of as the smallest complete sample of an image. The more pixels used to represent an image, the closer the result can resemble the original. (1)

For example, the pixel can be compared to a bit or a binary digit (0 or 1), with two alternative choices and different combinations in between, the image appears on the surface because the information is physical. (2)  The bit is the choice between the two alternatives, because the binary numbers have two bits instead of ten digits like the ordinary numbers, the binary numbers get longer more quickly than the ordinary numbers, digital numbers (3) (which means that the more numbers we have the more information we get).

Digital cameras typically use 24-bits to produce 16-million colors, comparable to the number that the human eye can distinguish. A photograph that registers the same amount of visible information as the invisible information would have to be a massive photograph.

Digital photographs register the right amount of invisible information for the naked eye to decipher. But when we blink our eyes to see beyond the image there is a physical process that creates energy and allows us to see between the pixels. Human perception – which involves more than just the eye – doesn’t work in terms of bits. Humans are able to see a fairly broad spectrum of colors but nowhere nears as many as digital devices. I believe that pixels are in a constant motion with the information; it’s just a matter of time and space to understand the origin of each image. 

It is finally the back-and-forth between these different pixels that allows the image to exist and the human eye to distinguish them. The less number of pixels that exist in a photograph the more our imagination is demanded to fill the space between them. With the minimum number of pixels, (increased invisible information), it remains possible to distinguish the image.

Pixels are particles acting on the same surface creating the same information, which means that pixels can give different answers/information to the same image, depending on the proximity of the viewer. Or even more interesting, depending on the digital device used to see the image. (Viewing the image through a digital device – mobile phone camera etc)

One of the photographs in this project is painted in large scale on a wall at The Armory, Sydney Olympic Park, Australia. Given its scale, it requires that we explore the surface, which gives the impression of a living environment and a unique lecture.

The interesting thing about the panorama is to see the true city – a city inside a building. What stands in the windowless is the truth … (the truth has no windows; nowhere does it look upon the universe.) (4)

The panorama demands special consideration for two reasons. The first, this illusion space represented the highest developed form of illusionism and suggestive power of the problematical variety that used traditional methods of painting. The panorama is also exemplary in that this effect was an intended one, a precalculated outcome of the application of technological, physiological and psychological knowledge. With the contemporary means at hand, the illusion space addressed the observer as directly as possible; this latter was “implicit”. The second, the study of the panorama can help to lay the foundations of a systematic comparison, where the metamorphosis of image and art associated with computer-aided virtual reality emerges in a clearer light (5)

In summary, through the written and practical components of this research, Sydney fade becomes a constructed reality where the information travels freely onto the space and draws the viewer into the image.

1. visited 19th April 2007.
2. SETH LLOYD, Programming the Universe, A Quantum computer scientist takes on the cosmos, Vintage, 2006, p. Prologue xi.
3. Ibid., p.19.
4. WALTER BENJAMIN, Das Passagenwerk, Gesammelte Schiriften, col. 5, 2, p. 1008. Rodolph (ed.). Frankfurt/Main:Suhrkamp.
5. OLIVIER GRAU, Virtual Art, From Illusion to Immersion, The MIT Press, 2003, p. 6.

Klaus Fruchtnis © 2007