a world of non-linearity

1     alkine 1:42
2     dream 11:44
3     genetic b 1:16
4     droplets 1:14
5     the exact location of yesterday 1:15
6     residue 1:42
7     returning to nerve 1:08

a world of non-linearity
2011
720p video, stereo audio, 10'01

a world of non-linearity (nerve)

1     above the wasteland (nerve theme) 1:50
2     finding stones in mist 3:05
3     “there are whispers at the door” 1:19
4     cave scene 2:41
5     crystals melting 0:55

a world of non-linearity (nerve)
2011
720p video, stereo audio, 9'50

a world of non-linearity is a transformation of photographs into video, in 2 parts, to explore the meaning of identity in images; the idea that there might be a space between images in a series. This space is chaotic; it is possible to understand it, but it remains unpredictable.

To know oneself is no longer sufficient, because everything is on a knife edge, subject to laws that defy direct comprehension. Is this surprising? At an atomic scale, the surface of my skin is not much different to the air which surrounds it, the relative distance between atoms is comparable to the distance between planets and stars. At measurable distances far removed from even atoms, distances so small that even the idea of solidity is no longer valid, what can we say about the difference between an object and its environment? In this subatomic world where reality and mathematical constructs are one and the same, both these terms have long lost any concrete meaning.

…yet this is what we are, what we are made of, where we come from and where we go to, our flesh and moments, our memories.

This space between images once exposed is as real as the image from which it was derived, and so carries the same weight of meaning – which leads to a paradox, that a purely abstracted image might be equivalent, in terms of identity and meaning, as a photograph of something (someone): that both the real and the unreal are ultimately the same, of the same substance, which can only be true if they are both empty .

The images (appropriated from galleries found on the internet) have been turned into a video by morphing one image into the next, so that each original image occurs once every second and the intervening frames are unstable, fragmented interpolations.

In both parts, the source images have also been transformed prior to the conversion into video. Each transform questions the limits at which we might ascribe meaning to a photograph: on the one hand by taking a small sample of a photograph and taking this to be a valid signifier for the original, and on the other hand, taking the whole photograph but blurring it to a point close to where the image looses all definition (but not blurred so much that all images become formless).

a world of non-linearity (dream 1)

a world of non-linearity (dream 1)

a world of non-linearity (nerve, crystals melting)

a world of non-linearity (nerve, crystals melting)

a world of non-linearity

a world of non-linearity (from source)

a world of non-linearity (from source)

a world of non-linearity is constructed from a series of small samples of photographs of people. Each source photograph contained a person but the samples were almost exclusively taken from the space around the person, their environment.

The person in each source photograph is absent (removed) but the fragment of their environment retains their presence… because it wouldn’t exist in a photograph if that person was not there in the first place. The person is the reason for the photograph being taken, but this act of photography justifies everything in the photograph, not just the person whose photo is being taken.

…everything is always carefully arranged, even though we might not realise it. How else can it be? Otherwise we would have to accept that the environment in which we live, and take photographs of, is in fact a completely arbitrary and random collection of things which just (miraculously) happen to take recognisable form.

[…so the question always leads upwards, towards the question of God. This work seeks to find a Godless-God, a truth that can only be explained by God but at the same time does not require a blind leap of faith towards a God. It seems however, regardless of whether there might be a God or not, a leap of faith will still always be required to understand the forces that make this world]

Implicit in this sampling is that the environment and the object (person) are intrinsically connected, not just because one is inside the other (or one is external to the other) but that in the context of the photograph, both the person and the environment are completely, irrevocably, dependent upon one another. The question is, if this context is also valid for the reality of the scene – the whole moment at which the photograph was taken.

…because we never see moments in their totality, they move past us so fast we are lucky to even glimpse the idea of a moment. We might almost understand that our continuous view of the world is in fact made up of impossible moments: impossible to isolate, impossible to completely understand… which makes our perception of the world (and hence, our world ) a massively approximate one.

Given all this, it sometimes feels surprising that we are not continually in a state of horror and shock, as if suddenly we were deaf and blind and with no sensation, suffocating in non-sensation, because that is clearly equivalent to the state in which we actually are living, completely adrift from the reality in which we float, that lies beyond the limits of our perception. So we must conclude that it is not reality that is outside , it is us.

[…at times, I have felt like i am drowning in images, as if there is no escape from images, and their sub-divisions, grids, pixels, composites of pixels… as if to prove by experience that there is no end, no solution, no truth, to be found in images]
[and also, perhaps, to confront the worrying conclusion that there is no truth to be found in art…]

…beyond the abstractions, formulae, particles, images… how can there be hope?

a world of non-linearity (nerve) 

nerve (from source)

nerve (from source)

The nerve video is constructed from a series of blurred, luminous photographs of people.

On their own the blurred versions are simply reductions of a portrait, the blurring removes most traces of the original image’s identity and in doing so removes the possibility of the original photograph or memory from ever being found, recovered, or understood in the context for which it was intended. But the blurred images have not been constructed as a thing in themselves, outside of the simple act of photography, people standing, sitting, lying in front of the camera. The images still represent some form of identity even though this identity has collapsed, become diffuse.

Each image only lasts for 1/25 of a second. The frames between each source image show single moments of 2 people being coerced into each other in a digital unreality. The effect of merging one image into another also often distorts each original image, so that there is no frame that purely represents a single person. All we see is a chaotic mesh of dependencies. When everything is dependent upon everything else, our ideas of memory and identity become ideals, things which we hope to hold and treasure, fix, even though/because our true reality is fluid, chaotic and uncontainable.

In a moving image, every frame is as important, relevant, meaningful as every other one, otherwise the idea of a video would be untenable, since every frame in a video relies for it’s existence on the preceding frame and the one that follows (therefore at the very beginning or very end of the video, where the movement is a static frame, the video looses it’s identity).

When every frame is explicitly as meaningful as the next, the duration of the video becomes arbitrary, since how can there be 2x meaning, 3x meaning, etc? By fixing the duration of a movie, it’s length takes on a meaning in itself. But where inside this composite meaning is anything that might represent a component, a particle of meaning? Is every moment unique, or do they all internally share and show the same fundamental truths? If there is any fundamental truth, then all moments are derived from this truth; would this mean that the difference we perceive between moments (how we recognise them as distinct moments) is something superficial, illusory?

 

© Michael Davies, 2011