The pixel is a perfect little digi-unit. It is prototypical and scalable, ranging from fragments of an image to large scale three dimensional objects (like monumental Tetris blocks, descending on cities). The whole process of digital organization still relies on two-dimensional boards and chips, but we get to enjoy the illusion of three-dimensional images from increasingly sophisticated processors and graphics programs.
Don Releya’s Systemic Sky uses generative video to process HD footage to deconstruct the frames into vectors. Reyela’s videos explore the relationship between western culture vs. nature, through use of “rigid order” vs. “organic shapes of clouds”. It’s a common theme, but is beautifully done. Releya says:
Systemic Sky is a symbolic representation of the battle between nature and modern western culture. The sky represents nature and the algorithm represents technology driven culture. In Systemic Sky the organic shapes of the clouds are in constant conflict with the systemic algorithm that subdivides the sky and attempts to impose rigid order.
Pixels is a urban narrative of video game characters done by Patrick Jean at One More Productions in Paris. This is a favorite- scaled characters take over and destroy the modern city. It satisfies the desire for apocalyptic imagery, fear of the inevitable takeover of technology, the city as scenery, and the idea of urban games. It’s the upscale of these pixelated characters that both intrigue and horrify- these cute little robots are terrorizing the shit out of NYC…but they’re so cute!
A bit ago, Invader had a show at Jonathan Levine Gallery- his public project posted tiles representing 8-bit characters from Space Invaders throughout cities like LA, Paris, and London. It seems a bit different from tagging, as he was using a more substantial material- he also thought of this as a kind of urban game, creating maps to find them, and giving points for finding each.
I have a feeling the materiality was influenced by Toynbee Tiles- substantial rubber tiles that started appearing in large cities in the 70s. According to the Wiki, the origin of the idea comes from Experiences, a book of Arnold Toynbee’s:
Human nature presents human minds with a puzzle which they have not yet solved and may never succeed in solving, for all that we can tell. The dichotomy of a human being into ‘soul’ and ‘body’ is not a datum of experience. No one has ever been, or ever met, a living human soul without a body… Someone who accepts – as I myself do, taking it on trust – the present-day scientific account of the Universe may find it impossible to believe that a living creature, once dead, can come to life again; but, if he did entertain this belief, he would be thinking more ‘scientifically’ if he thought in the Christian terms of a psychosomatic resurrection than if he thought in the shamanistic terms of a disembodied spirit. (Experiences, p. 139-142)