. art —

Year created:


Illicit images

"Illicit Images" are images taken from everyday Web pages then reduced

to anonymous and indistinct visual static. Using data encryption

technology, the artist experiments with the structure of these images in

a programmatic and transparent fashion.

This Web site displays thumbnail-linked galleries of images collected

from the Internet. The pixel data in each image was encyphered using

the strongest cryptographic algorithms, resulting in images that appear

to be composed of random static.

Great care was taken to insure that the original images can not be

recovered, especially through coercive methods. The images were

collected in a "clean-room" environment from various deeply linked

locations using a Web browser with its URL display areas obscured from

view and with image display support disabled. An encrypted redirection

service was also used to insure that no useful ISP or similar logs were

recorded during collection.

Each image was selected based on its promotional context, encyphered

using a unique properly randomly generated key, and compressed. The

keys existed only long enough to perform the encryption. The images

were compressed using a scheme that preserved the visual appearance of

the ciphers. The software used was improvisationally composed from code

extracted from various open-source net repositories.

The encrypted and compressed images were transferred to the Web site,

and finally the hard drive in the computer used for collection and

processing was destroyed. The artist never viewed the original images

(in some cases images were made visible to the artist during collection

due to the design characteristics of the associated Web sites, and these

images were specifically rejected).