6,400

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6,400 examines how conflict images are being exposed within contemporary photographic culture, addressing how we can retranslate sensibility to the reception of the photographic image and its sensory impact on society. However, it is important to address the media on which these images are often shown for they can position a difference within how one reads an image. As Marshall McLuhan suggests this can be problematic (McLuhan, 1964:02). Nevertheless, it is the overall significance of the image that is being watered-down and its interpretation becoming challenging and not so much the media platform that it is being shown on.

 

This project also studies photographic representations of conflict and their jostle for position against other images within a pool or ‘cluster’ of pictures. This causes a dilution which then becomes an imminent response to the reader of such imagery often, this can cause desensitization. As Susan Sontag indicates ‘Flooded with images of the sort that once used to shock and arouse indignation, we are losing our capacity to react. Compassion, stretched to its limits, is going numb.’ (Sontag, 2003:84)

 

This project pursues to inspect the state of images today, addressing their changes and traditional methods but also underpinning how post-photography can be used to view these issues regarding visual resistance from an abstract scope. Through the application of abstraction and post photographic practices this project aims to challenge the reader’s perception of the traditional photographic image of war and conflict.

 

Using a previously created artefact ‘Download Delete Repeat’ Surah comments on the bombardment of image data we see daily by using algorithmic strings of programming code to download the first 64 images of any given internet search term. Subsequently the results are flooded into an 8 by 8 grid creating an image mosaic which relate to the former search terms. Once each term has been executed the images are then chronologically averaged out into their dominant colours and housed in their own 8 by 8 mosaic. Each cluster of search term images then get destroyed however, both original and average mosaics are kept and saved into a separate file. The program continues to function and read search terms from a text file until it reaches the end of the text file and then loops the sequence indefinitely.

 

6,400 pushes further the intersection between the text which is fed into the computer program, using one image panel of 64 images multiplied by 99 more panels per search term, resulting into 6,400 images in one whole image. Search terms are collected from Google Trends. Popular terms linking to war and conflict from the year 2004 to 2019 are collected and inputted into the computer system, allowing a diverse selection of past and current searches to be examined. Two pallets have been rendered from these searches, one containing the original downloaded images the second the averaged abstractions of those images, both holding the same amount of images. The work provokes the viewer to ask questions regarding todays media which is flooded with imagery, but more importantly their own reception to images of conflict in such abundant quantities.

 

McLuhan, Marshall. (1964) Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. MIT Press.

Sontag, Susan. (2003) Regarding the Pain of Others. London: Penguin books.

© Ravinder Surah 2018

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