"Stability through electronic representation."

Tuesday (9th Oct) was my first day at art school and I already feel incredibly inspired and restless. The people I've met properly so far have been lovely and I'm very excited to do all the things and also do a lot of laughing (7 of us did a lot of laughing in the pub on Tuesday night). We have a few heavily directed mini projects to start us of with, which should be very interesting. The first is to choose a frame from The Man With The Movie Camera and photographically reproduce it ourselves. Here is the frame I chose, and a preliminary attempt at recreating it with a scanner:

It's quite nice to have specific instructions for a change, although I've had so many thoughts about what I can do for my self-directed work. I thought I'd scan my laptop screen and see what happened, so I made these scans. I like that the screen scans black and white and I like the distortion and blurring. The contrast between the brightness and saturation of my face and hair against the dull greys of the screen are really pleasing. This could also be a good visual metaphor for personal profiles on the internet being muted, distorted versions of a person.

Also, the face scans themselves combine the "real" world with the digital world (note: Digimon theme tune now stuck in my head) in that you're obviously digitising yourself in quite a direct way. And again, distortion is possible (and in many cases inevitable to some degree).

So then I was cutting and pasting my favourite bits of these scans into the little mood board you see below, and I noticed the scans looked really interesting with these stark absences, these big bright white blank spaces where a bit of my face used to be. And this is yet another way of relating the idea of absence of personality, reduction, distortion, engineered digital selves - a pic 'n' mix of a real person.

I printed two scans - one of my face, and one of my computer screen - and overlaid the face print out with the cut out frame as a little collage experiment. What is immediately obvious on re-scan is the desaturation of the image, which gives it a lovely ethereal look. Milky dreamy internet ghost. I think it'll be a good idea to experiment with re-scanning images. I could do a sequence in which I print and scan the same image repeatedly and see what effect that progression has on the image. It could be that we see a process of degradation, which is something I'm very interested in.

Stepping away from using paper momentarily, I took some digital images I had and databended them using Audacity (Google for a tutorial). I then animated the databended versions of the original still and reduced the colours of the resulting gif. I saved them into my drafts and left this note attached: "Working on a gif series about fear of the erosion of everything I love represented by databended images which are also reduced to 8 colours."
So here I am using digital decay as a visual representation of emotional decay/turmoil/fluctuation. I find it interesting to compare how real-life objects and digital objects are both capable of being damaged, and how in a world that is increasingly reliant on computers, how digital damage/corruption/loss can be similar to damage suffered by real-life objects (and people themselves) and how digital decay affects people.

I'm going to put blog posts about my work, from here (lilashton.blogspot.co.uk) and possibly also from uhuhhhhh.blogspot.co.uk (more of a rambling inspiration blog for vibes and ideas and artists I like) into my research journal, as I feel that having the two modes of writing about my work will compliment each other, and will allow me to express myself and my ideas in different ways (as this blog can be more diary-like but it also may be more polished than my journal because I know I'm publishing it for anyone to see). It could also be interesting to comment on the way the two differ and interact as part of exploring the internet and communications and what my public internet personality is. Every time I publish a blog post I'm presenting a part of myself to the public, whether I feel I'm particularly conscious of that or not.

EDIT: Thought I should include the animation frames.

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Thank you so much for your comments, especially if they include limericks about skeletons.