Industrial Abstraction is a selection of ‘distressed compression’ panoramics from the TrainPans series that I’ve been working on for several years. This particular selection highlights effects of rhythm and abstraction in panoramas compiled passing through engineered and industrial environments.
I use the iPhone as a slit-scan camera, physically affixed to the train window. It sequentially captures the environment we pass through. If a photograph is a frame, a window into a moment, this approach produces an algorithmic window recording moments, connected-disjointed, flashing by in front of the lens. Each bit of time and place, reduced, compressed and stitched into a photograph by the phone’s algorithms – sometimes a hundred yards and a few seconds, other times it is miles and minutes.
This technique intrigues me because the resulting work engages in a variety of ways. Algorithmically generated, the images can be dense and visually stimulating – exploring the physical compression of time and space. While on a conceptual level there is an interesting interplay between auteur and editor, the relationship between algorithmically generated art and the human editing the material – the code is agnostic in what it captures, the human eye gives it meaning.
These photos are directly recorded with the iPhone’s panorama stitching algorithm and not manipulated except for cropping and color correction. The phone’s algorithms have been commandeered to record a sweep of time through space though, rather than the intended scenic moments.