The Treehouse + The Cave

The Treehouse + The Cave: Average <body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src=""></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: '\x3d9561264\x26blogName\x3dThe+Treehouse+%2B+The+Cave\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLACK\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3d\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3d\x26vt\x3d-2611371644715887499', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Friday, March 18, 2005



Flickr user, Brevity has created a program that given any tag, for instance the word shadow, selects 50 random Flickr images that contain the tag, and then layers their contents, effectively producing an "average" image of whatever the program is told to search for. The visual results are beautiful, mysterious and muddy, reminiscent of a young oil painting scrubbed down to the canvas, or a Gerhard Richter.

Conceptually rich as well, the computer-created images pose many intriguing questions about the dissolution of the subject, the collective unconscious, the perceived truth depicted in photographs, and the wisdom of crowds. Once again, Flickr is showing great potential in the journey towards a shared global visual memory; I'm beyond excited to witness the kinds of ideas it facilitates.

Image 1: 50 People See a Candle by Brevity
Image 2: 50 People See a Shadow by Brevity

Blogger hipp-o thought:

i think its a little too easy and a little cheap as well. im not sold at all.

and its not that im being a skeptic. the images are beautiful, don't get me wrong, but in the end i dont thing the conceptual richness lasts....

conceptually, my main problem is that the human does not see an image like a computer does. when we see a face we do not spend as much time admiring the middle of the left cheek as we do on the eyes and the contour of the lips. to average the whole image will result not in an image of shared perception but rather in a mathematical equation for aesthetically pleasing noise (or at least a decrease signal:noise ratio).

another problem is that the "averaging" implies that all images are treated with equal weight, but that is not the way we perceive "objects", some sunsets get better billing in our idea of sunsets than others. perhaps this is what you are getting at with the idea of "dissolution of the signifier".....perhaps if one were able to give the objects that people spent more time looking at via google image more weight, then i could value these as a representation of a collective unconcious a little bit more than i can now...

these are just sloppy thoughts, destroy them at will.....

March 18, 2005 at 6:02 PM - Comment Permalink  
Blogger Dan thought:

Are you familiar with Jason Salavon?

See, for example, his Playboy centerfolds by decade or the classes of 1967 and 1988.

April 13, 2005 at 4:17 PM - Comment Permalink  
Blogger Andy thought:


No I wasn't, but clearly I should have been.

Thanks for the spot-on suggestion. I have a vague feeling that I saw something of his in Bitstreams back in the day, but I hadn't experienced either of the pieces you called out. He's definitely someone that I need to be aware of, given the way my work has been shifting lately.

Thanks too, for making this space feel like a studio for the first time since I started posting. I'm not part of a significant visual artist community anymore, so it's been a ridiculously long time since someone name dropped an artist that I actually felt some relation to.



April 14, 2005 at 10:08 AM - Comment Permalink  

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