These snaps are an experiment in transition, an exercise in what Edward Tufte calls “micro and macro” information relay.

The screencaps contain personal micro-readings for some viewers. The desert itself may literally be home, allowing the audience to uncover intimate recollections, connections and associations with the geography contained in the stills. Still others may have vacationed there, visited family, or be otherwise additionally familiar with the personality of the desert dirt roads of Southern California. Another strata may remember, or recognize, the television show this cap was taken from, or may have experience off-roading or driving all terrain vehicles.

The color palette would speak to some as digitally decayed, or an artifact of poor reception. Others will instantly recognize the washed-out hue of a 1980s playback.  The size and orientation move more into the macro–most can recognize the orientation of a television screen, or interference waves, or familiar formats of presentation. Few people would see this and read it as a photograph of an actual war or battlefield. The macro-readings are a broader response. There is no “universal” response, but the macro allows for recognition and reaction, even when the viewer has no personal interactions with the site depicted. We recognize people wearing helmets, shooting guns, clearly in pursuit of another vehicle–a situation that can lead to further examination and narrative.

I find the micro and macro fascinating.

In Envisioning Information, Tufte talks about the micro and macro nature of data construction. A good illustration of this concept is a city street map view. An aerial, detailed map of Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, California would exist both as a macro representation (a street map, the rendering of a city, associations of architecture and street patterns, a place, a space, a point that could be visited or explored, a list of restaurants, shops, and hotels, a famous locale, etc.) and as micro experience (viewers can identify restaurants they’ve eaten at–perhaps even linking the two-dimensional map to places where they had lunch with specific people, broke up with a significant other, last saw their father, etc. The game on the micro view allows the viewer to find the familiar, to trace personal narratives or even social narratives, onto the map (the street corner where River Phoenix died…), etc.

On my use of “snaps” to describe these cell phone captures:

I purposefully call these photos “snaps.” I lie in wait for appropriate environments to appear in these shows (car chases are my buddies). I compose the shot in an instant, following the flow of action and story. I later filter which shots end up in the actual project and I try to post them the same day they were taken. If I take photos in batches and use them over the course of several days, I try to post them the same day that I curated, cropped and adjusted them so that the activity is fresh.

Even with processing, I define it as “snapping” since I’m purposefully using a common, vernacular camera (in this case, my iPhone 4S) and limiting the amount of fine art photographic staging that might go into a more composed work. The combination of low-end camera, moving video, and LED screen are also generating unique layers of interference and distortion.

KR S2 E1

2 thoughts on “7/23/13

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