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Invisible Layers

DAY, Michael (2015) Invisible Layers. [Artefact]

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Abstract or description

This work investigates the point of contact between smartphone users and the endpoints of communications infrastructure that is often below the threshold of attention. It explores the gestural similarity between the way space is captured through digital mapping and how digital selves are restlessly constructed and assimilated.

Gershon speculates about how mediated selves might be understood not as performances, but as animations (2015). She asks what work an audience has to do to co-create an animated character, and applies this thinking to the fragmentary selves constructed collectively through social media profiles.

The piece consists of animations of hands using smartphones, controlling the view of digitally sourced maps. It explores the pinch-to-zoom and swipe gestures in particular, as these forge a relationship between the user and the image that can’t be replicated with a physical material. The factor of zoom caused by the gesture would induce vertigo if not bounded by the tiny edges of the smartphone screen. The maps are drawn from LiDAR data provided by USGS, and the Open Street Map database.

The piece represents the user of the smartphone in the same schematic line as the maps, and the pinch-to-zoom and swipe actions are repeated to infer a lack of sustained attention to the imagery. The hands are shown life-size on the screen, so that they might be read as mediated versions of the viewer’s own. The absence of an identifiable protagonist makes it possible for the viewer to ‘project an affective connection’ to the protagonist, or occupy that role themselves (Gershon, 2015, p. 2). The piece draws attention to the impossibility of visually assimilating the overly complex assemblage of map data. In the relentless dismissal of these complex map images, the ‘swipe’ and ‘zoom’ gestures are depicted as restless, repeated actions that inevitably lead to dissatisfaction.

Gershon, I. (2015). What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Animation. Social Media + Society. 1 (1).

Item Type: Artefact
Uncontrolled Keywords: animation, digital, map, swipe, gesture
Faculty: School of Creative Arts and Engineering > Art and Design
Depositing User: Michael DAY
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2018 15:22
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2018 15:22

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