VIII. Digital Works

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Other names: Digital compositions, photo-based computer works, generative computer graphics, camera electronics.

The Bielefeld Art Association planned a solo exhibition for my computer-aided design work “Interface. Generative Works,” created from March until autumn 1994. The name refers to the transition between analogue and digital works (Bielefelder Kunstverein, 1994).

I began by scanning selected “pinhole structures” and processing them with Adobe Photoshop™. I came across a method of down-sampling that crudely simplifies complex patterns through gradual reductions. Simultaneously, it resulted in surprisingly original shapes: an entropic, irreversible process. It simplified the original variety of shapes, but also gives rise to the world of experiences (shape/form/design, figurine). “Mosaic” is the term that I have given to these results. A sub-program creates the “cybernetic alphabet,” which forms a relationship between the individual forms of the mosaics and the terms of control technology.  

At my suggestion in 1980, the computer scientist Peter Serocka from Bielefeld wrote me a computer program that allows the optical design parameters of the pinhole structures to be algorithmically simulated – but leading it to both familiar and new patterns: a form of dialogue between Camera obscura and Camera electronica. I named the resulting topic “Generative Images.” A sub-program makes the “snapshots” (abb. “snots”). The snapshot of the “crucial moment” from the continuous data stream to the outside world corresponds here to the snapshot of the inner world of the apparatus. The first presentation was in 2000 in my solo exhibition at the Lutz Teutloff Gallery Bielefeld (Catalogue, text Lambert Wiesing, Bielefeld 2000).  

In 1997, I worked with “photo pictograms” from technical literature: They were read and alienated with pixel reduction, creating an effect where a familiar photo could still be recognized, images and characters that accompanied the medium in its countless instruction manuals. However, they took a new form in their appearance; from a distance they seemed familiar, but closely considered they emerged as autonomous appearing structures. In a publication, Andreas Müller-Pohle defined corresponding works as “digital ornaments,” a term I adopted. 

Finally in 2004, free digital compositions based on the Adobe Photoshop program emerged at the double exhibition “Real Light. Works from 2008” with Karl Martin Holzhäuser in the Gallery of the Epson art production in Düsseldorf.  My contribution led to the new topic “Photographisms.” Individual photos were named “photo,” supplemented by a ten-digit number for the date and time of the click and saved. Both terms represent the paradoxical results, which no longer from real but rather computerized light. They present photo typical forms without being photos. 

The digital works can be consequently categorized into four groups:

1. Mosaics, beginning with scanned pinhole structures 1994-2003.  

2. Cybernetic Alphabet 1994.

3. Generative Images based on the program „lochbl“ by Peter Serocka from 1996 onwards.

4. Photographismen with “photos”, free digital compositions utilizing Adobe Photoshop from 2004 onwards.

© 2024, Gottfried Jäger, Bielefeld