On a large plexiglass screen suspended in space, an ongoing imaging process is visualized. A sudden burst of energy scrambles the visual coherency of an image, picture elements careening off into the far reaches of a three-dimensional virtual matrix. The pixel or “basic unit of programmable color” as Graham Harwood calls it, is for a brief moment freed from its representational burden, traversing space, becoming nothing but pure chromatic value and geometrical coordinate, caught up in a turbulent, expansive moment.
For media theorist Friedrich Kittler, the addressability of the pixel provides the conditions of possibility for what he calls the virtualization of optics. Where the physical camera lens once embodied the laws of optics in order to model and extend the human eye, software now simulates the camera and all other forms of optical hardware. The pixel’s implied receptacle, the two-dimensional Cartesian grid, acts as an invisible placeholder, an organizing principle intimating neighbor relationships that provide affordances for all manner of filtering, processing and image recognition proper to computer vision and computer graphics, the analysis and synthesis of the technical image.
Over time, certain points from this bustling jumble slowly drift back, drawn once again toward the center of the screen. Pixels langorously position themselves in relation to one another, contiguous colors gradually forming small surfaces. Little by little a new image takes shape. Once the last pixel is in place, the operation repeats anew.
What one sees are the latest photographs of breaking news in real time. The news agencies’ transcription and transmission of these events, as information, forms the background for both Addressability and its linguistic counterpart, Disambiguation. A dialogue is created across the two works, words and pixels becoming discrete components in combinatory play : depiction poetically reconfigured in one, description visually permutated in the other.