Working on abstraction

Architecture and Information MAS CAAD ETH

Zurich Switzerland


The video is an abstraction of a plot, a mashed-up video footage, montaged and datamoshed, to produce a visual and auditory generality. The samples used are chosen from current [2015] movie trailers which have not yet been released to the theatres, in order to maximize the speculation of the produced video's content. Instead of interfering with the linearity of the filmic motion, the digital image, and consequently its content, gets fragmented. The transferring of the message to the viewer happens in an encoded way, such that the viewer constructs his/her own narrative. There is no time nor space for the narration. Only bits of them. The viewer is allowed a margin of decoding of what he/her sees and is left to recontextualize in his/her own terms how to translate the incoming images and how he/her interrelates with the events. The sound comes to reverse the dismantling of the image, trying to  ounterbalance the lack of a content for. The technique used, as a means of facilitating abstraction, is Datamoshing.

“Datamoshing is a technique for producing videos that contain one or more unique expressions from applied errors in the motion compensated inter-frame prediction used in video encodings.” Each single video is connected to all of its neighbours in a way that makes the sum a system, interconnected and closely dependent from one another. Bits, through datamoshing, are loosing their structural arrangement, as an array constructing an object representation, and are instructed to perform outside their usual framework. The result of the process followed and the relationship between the frames transcends the, what would normally be, final image. The medium is used as a means to perform an empirical manipulation of it. The primal matter of the video, the pixels, are being re-articulated by the meaningful handling of the frames [I and P frames] which are reordered. The reordering results in pixels, leaking from one video to another, blending their expression and content into an implicit mixture.

As abstraction can be seen as a compression process, the production of errors is inherent to the process of compression , digital representation and replication. By deletion and insertion of fractions of footage taken from movies, the phenotype of the final movie is destratified, altering its formal and conceptual traits [meaning]. Even though the pieces are not logically connected to each other they aim to form a coherent whole. The actor is the medium in a scene made up of these video collections. Its articulation of the plot is expressed by the destruction [or not] of the image by the one that follows. So the character is a digital/error artifact, a false representation of the original, an immaterial object that exists only in the digital environment and more specifically in the corrupted video. Thus the resulting virtual artifacts can only be contextualized in the digital culture realm. [Without this context the viewer may not be able to distinguish compression error from an intended reformulation of the image.]

The content of the montaged videos [story] is being manipulated as much as their expression, their discourse. The more their expression is changing the more the content gets more abstract. While the form and substance of the content are left almost blank for the viewer to reconstruct, the form and substance of the expression are manipulated in a way, where there is no determining meaningful result in the outcome apart from that the viewer will give.