Untimely ripped (against the mass image)

Sean Cubitt, Goldsmiths University of London

I take the Aristotelean view that the question for ethics is ‘How should I live?’ and the question for politics is ‘How are we supposed to live?’ Aristotle’s next step was to argue that in both instances, these are questions about the good life. These are fundamentally aesthetic questions. So let me advance as a hypothesis that the reason for doing any of the art, science and critique we undertake is happiness. The world we have is unhappy, so happiness depends on negating what is given to us as the world. That is what images do: they negate the world in order to produce pictures that are more startling, richer, surer, more filled with meaning and more desirable than what we have to inhabit. Even images of unhappy events attempt to heal them. An image aspires to happiness. The proliferation of images is a different matter.


Atemporality, art, quantum phenomena and the jester

Paul Thomas, University of New South Wales

Contemporary physics, with its use of probability and uncertainty, has affected the way artists perceive and interpret the world. The impact of probability and uncertainty were initially challenged and explored by the Futurists and Dadaists at the beginning of the twentieth century. This article explores the analogous relationship between art and quantum phenomena such as the delayed choice quantum eraser (DCQE) and multiworlds. How artist when observing the world, translates it in to marks that measure the world and in that act, alter what they really see.


Image as chemical atemporality

Tobias Klein, City University of Hong Kong.

This article analyses today’s perception, production and consumption of the digital image in the context of historical mechanization, photographic development and the prototypical design of a chemical reactive hypertemporal setting. Digital materiality is explicitly designed through a time-based performative image transiimage transition from the static image to the image as palimpsest in a post-digital era. First, it introduces the topic by providing a historical overview of devices that allowed the generation, construction and the change in perception of the image. Starting from the invention of the Camera Obscura as a device of image projection, the article highlights a change of representation from as early as fifteenth-century drawing machines to today’s plethora of image-generating devices. The article investigates in more detail the transition of the image through mechanical production and the change of medium in the form of photographic image development and its consequences. Furthermore, it presents research into the hyper-temporality of a chemical image in relation to the digitalization and computer numeric controlled drawing machines. Each chapter of the article is related to one of my artistic works – Virtual Sunset, Urban Scan, Slow Selfie and the ongoing project titled ‘Liquid Light’. Each of the works is associated with an image production and perception property, gradually articulating the current state of the images as a hybrid. The research concludes with a focus on the hybrid image combining computer-controlled construction through sensorial data and vector-based input with photo-chromic reactions stimulated by multiple overlaying light emitters. The result is a chemical animated image – a piece de resistance and transformation of the a-temporality of digital data.


Living backwards: The (artificially) augmented mental image

Birgitte Aga, i-DAT.org

The desire to predict the future is central to human evolution and behaviour. From ancient beliefs in prophetic foresight, spirituality and mystical forces to today’s scientific and algorithmic data-driven forecasting, humans have continued to augment their mental ability to predict what the future may bring. Without an imagined picture of the future our civilization would not exist. Predictive human thought and behaviour is increasingly being influenced by the tide of artificial augmentation through a conflux of sophisticated personal, wearable and interconnected technologies, big (and small) data and powerful computational and analytical algorithms. From these hyper-connected environments, new intimate and symbiotic relationships between the ‘dry world of virtuality and the wet world of biology’ are emerging. Here artificially enhanced and data-driven mental constructions of past, present and imagined futures emerge as artificially amplified cognition. Instead of living forwards through imagined futures conjured from existing memories, this article speculates whether one will be living backwards from data-driven and artificially predicted futures.