“Image Factory”

for West Projections Festival, August 2018

WEST PROJECTIONS FESTIVAL is a festival that invites artists to respond to a central theme through projection in the areas of Footscray, West Footscray and Seddon. The theme for 2018 is non/FICTION.

The theme of non/FICTION defines the translucent parameters and hazy borders of communication, language and interpretation. In an age of accessible and instant technology, we are all writers, photographers and reporters, disseminating information at an accelerated rate to a global audience. Pop-culture and consumerism endlessly occupy our screens and streets providing blurry realities. How do we filter between fact and fiction? Who benefits and who suffers from this information? 

The ceaseless development of tools and apps for smart phone users has opened up a realm of perpetual image manipulation. These, with the growing platforms for transmission, have extended the role of the ‘image maker’ to the public. The expansion of image based technology has now set in motion new channels of surveilling, recording, dissecting and depicting reality through humanity’s Image Factory, of which virtually any user can contribute content boundlessly for public circulation.

As we become more scrutinizing with where and from whom we consume our information, our nature of consumption has not slowed down. The immediate access to an ever-expanding world of information has facilitated a culture in which data seems to be ceaselessly transmitted, swiftly viewed, but not always interpreted. This consumptive culture that seizes the ease and the immediacy of information has resulted in a hasty disregard for content unable to bypass our mental filters.

This project aims to provoke users to engage with their devices as the marvel or hindrance that they are – highlighting the unnoticed pushing and swiping that we are all so familiar with. An open call for participant submissions of personal screen recordings hopes to feature a unique pool of voices and perspectives to share the nature in which they interact with their neighbourhood, community, and the virtual realm. The footage will be distorted, through an assortment of time displacement maps, creating an effect that prompts the examination of how we interact with the world through our phones.

The screens on our devices that allow us to consume and manipulate content also act as frontiers between our physical reality and the digital realm. What if they were expanded, projected and shared in public space? The audience will be offered a voyeuristic view into strangers’ phone screens, ordinarily a small and private volume in our pockets. This offers an inadvertent surveillance of a very private activity that is eerily familiar. We never watch others on their phones, but we do see the other side of their projection or transmission.

Is the information viewable on the distorted screen of another user’s phone, just as reliable as the content that they are making? … Or that I am making? If I knew someone was watching my screen, would I still be transmitting information the same way that I do now? This project hopes to question the instantaneousness, the processing, the production, the informing and the reliability of the information that has become fundamental to our current period of expression.