Year created:


Photo Noise

This software democratically curates an endless art show of found

digital photographs. Using an algorithm that prioritizes both a

consistency of form and a variation of content, it generates a pulse of

the world. The algorithm uses the popular google-api to search in

real-time for photos of various camera types: sony, canon, kodak, casio,

nokia cell phones, etc. While a few other artworks and websites use

similar search engine technologies and algorithms to locate random

images, Photo Noise is unique for its non-interactive simplicity and

passivity. Referring back to traditional experiences of media and art

viewing (television, radio, gallery walls and floors) it attempts to

bridge the gap between passive experience and a cumbersome network

containing billions of pages and images. Typical access to this

information requires one to do various activities such as to navigate,

search, find, choose, look, think, possibly go back, close a window,

click again, search, change options, type again, click, choose, close,

click, search, open, and view and click. It has even been theorized that

the amount of mental effort to locate and filter such information,

sometimes outweighs the benefits of the findings. Photo Noise invites

you to sit back and relax as the photographs made by the people in your

world come and go.

More about the software used in Photo it might appear to be

nothing more than a simple one-page internet script. It favors the

traditional design principle of encapsulation, to ensure a lazy, almost

boring experience for users at any level. This may differ from many

other current forms of software art, where the code or the engine are

visually or conceptually very present in the work. But here, the

software is designed so that it looks like there is no software. In

actuality, this program is responsible for many things such as: finding

'good' numbers from the api; uptime and reliability;

balancing camera default filename schemes with google search result

probabilities; carefully managing the usage of limited and precious

google api queries; hacking the bitter reality that the google-api

doesn't even allow for the 'image search' function; dealing with slow

result servers; useless thumbnails; filtering and maintaining a fifo

queue of findings; client navigation of queue; caching; image scaling;

and so forth. This is not to say the software and algorithms are

perfected or even terribly complex, but they do indeed exist! To

encapsulate the software within a minimal interface, for me, is somewhat

of a non-materialistic approach to the software medium. This has not

been particularly easy to do, as software is indeed a seductive and

beautiful medium.