[ 0100 ]

Resolution Dispute 0100 : Scaling as Violence
[[part of Resolution Studies]]

[ 0100 ]

Knowledge of the hidden and knowledge of the measurable What happens when something exist outside the dimensions or system units of scale? In order to distinguish something of significance from its background environment we must first be able to perceive it. If it remains invisible, inaudible, intangible, or unmeasurable it remains indiscribable and therefore unknowable at least to most of us.

- Graham Harman on OOO objects.

[or: Distances from and behind the screen]
Scale, aspect ratio, size, frequency.


Arts Collide International :: Shadow Knowledge
I am so thankful and excited to win the incredible Collide International award and residency. I can't wait for my time at Cern and Fabra i Coats, its more than a dream come true. It means so much to me and for my research to obtain acknowledgement from these institutions.
The first part of my residency will start really soon, already in a couple of weeks, and I am planning to post little updates, so please subscribe to Resolution Updates if you are interested!  

About Shadow Knowledge:
Shadow Knowledge is a research into how to perceive the shadows; the fringes of what is enlightened (or not in the dark) but also knowledge of what exists in the shadows....

Discussions about what is "real" are often fuelled by the use of terms like “hyperreal”, “fake” or "alternative facts". As a result, the 2010s have become a very interesting decennium for images of "reality". As it turns out Standard Models need extensions, fields of knowledge can scale and vision can reach beyond the unseeable. Take for instance the discovery of the Higgs boson particle (2012) or the capturing of the shadow of a black hole (2019) - these are examples of when science and imagination cross and together shatter norms previously thought of as 'universal realities'.
Even for the laymen, realities should now finally be understood as complex and multiple. And because of this, we need space for Shadow Knowledge - knowledge derived from objects of unsupported dimension and scale. In the shadows, things lack definition. The shadows offer shady outlines that can function either as vectors of progress or as a paint by numbers.

Statement from CERN:
"According to the jury, comprised of Monica Bello, Arts at CERN, Oriol Gual, director of La Capella in Barcelona, Joana Hurtado, director of Fabra i Coats and Helga Timko, CERN physicist, the winning artist demonstrated a sophistication of concept and approach. Menkman’s topic focused on the idea of resolution, which resonates with CERN’s quest to perform research from the smallest to the largest scale. They found Menkman’s argument about the significance and purpose of scientific measurement and how information is filtered in and out of an experiment inspiring."

Commissioned by Sonic Acts and ESA (European Space Agency) as part of the Vertical Cinema program.

About the Vertical Cinema project
What we usually identify as the indisputable ‘temple of film’, the Cinema, is not really a given, especially not in the realm of experimental cinematic arts. Yet this is somehow sidelined in the process of re-thinking the possibilities of cinematic experience, mostly because the architectural frame is already there, if only as a convention established a long time ago within the theatrical arts. Actually, the history of experimental cinema and the art of the moving image suggests that the space might very well be the crucial aspect of the total audiovisual experience – something one should always question and take into consideration when producing a work for audiovisual, sensory cinema.

For the Vertical Cinema project we ‘abandoned’ traditional cinema formats, opting instead for cinematic experiments that are designed for projection in a tall, narrow space. It is not an invitation to leave cinemas – which have been radically transformed over the past decade according to the diktat of the commercial film market – but a provocation to expand the image onto a new axis. This project re-thinks the actual projection space and returns it to the filmmakers. It proposes a future for filmmaking rather than a pessimistic debate over the alleged death of film.

Vertical Cinema is a series of fourteen commissioned large-scale, site-specific works by internationally renowned experimental filmmakers and audiovisual artists, which will be presented on 35 mm celluloid and projected vertically with a custom-built projector in vertical cinemascope.

The programme is made solely for projection on a monumental vertical screen that was first upended in 2013 at Kontraste Festival in Krems, Austria.

About Lunar Storm. 4’15’’ COLOUR; 2013.
The surface of the Moon seems static. Though it orbits the Earth every 27.3 days, with areas of it becoming invisible during this rotation, it is always (visibly or invisibly) above us, reassuringly familiar. The Moon is the best known celestial body in the sky and the only one besides the Earth that humans have ever set foot on.

The Seas of the Moon (Lunar Maria), consisting not of water but of volcanic dust and impact craters, appear motionless to the naked eye. Here, volcanic dust forms a thick blanket of less reflec- tive, disintegrated micro particles. But on rare occasions, beyond the gorges of these Lunar Maria, and only when the lunar termi- nator passes (the division between the dark and the light side of the moon) a mysterious glow appears. This obscure phenomenon, also known as lunar horizon glow, is hardly ever seen from Earth.

Beyond the gorges of the Lunar Maria, the Moon is covered with lunar dust, a remnant of lunar rock. Pummelled by meteors and bombarded by interstellar, charged atomic particles, the molecules of these shattered rocks contain dangling bonds and unsatisfied electric connections. At dawn, when the first sunlight is about to illuminate the Moon, the energy inherent to solar ultraviolet and X-ray radiation bumps electrons out of the unstable lunar dust; the opposite process occurs at dusk (lunar sunset). These electrostatic changes cause lunar storms directly on the lunar terminator that levitate lunar dust into the otherwise static exosphere of the Moon and result in ‘glowing dust fountains’.

official website || Vertical Cinema about

Myopia 2015

[ Wavelets ]
‘Myopia’ (2015)
Myopia (2015)
13x3.5m wall vinyl showcasing wavelets and extruding vectors.
Zooms into the JPG2000 wavelet compression artefacts.

Myopia zooms into the JPG2000 wavelet compression artefacts, created by introducing a line of ‘other language’ into the JPEG2000 file data.

The day before the iRD closed its doors, visitors were invited to bring an Exacto Knife, to cut their own resolution of ‘Myopia’, and mount them on any institution of choice (book, computer or other rigid surface).

Myopia (2015)
“No objects, spaces, or bodies are sacred in themselves; any component can be interfaced with any other if the proper standard, the proper code, can be constructed for processing signals in a common language.” - Donna Haraway’s A Cyborg Manifesto (1985). Link pg. 32

Its a late, clear night during the Winter of 2016. From the porch of my little cabin in the Mojave Desert I observe strange lights in the air. They are floating along the mountain rims, 30 kilometres up North. Its not the first time that there, in the distance and above a simulation village some name ‘little Baghdad’, I see the military test their new strange flying machines. At night, I film the lights and record the unexplainable rumblings; the different forms of sound pollution in the otherwise quiet desert. During the day, I drive around, exploring with my binoculars.

I read all of the few magazines in the cabin, issued by CLUI (Center of Land Use Interpretation). They feature research on several military outposts ranging from nuclear test villages in Nevada to the USAF-51 Aerial photo calibration targets. And it is then when I feel no longer like a lost visitor in the desert. The desert, the military and I are connected by our research in resolutions.

This Google maps screenshot depicts a slab of concrete displaying an original USAF-51 resolution target, a two-dimensional optical artefact that was used for the development and calibration of aerial photography, following a measurement sometimes refered to as Ground Resolved Distance.
The resolution of an aerial photograph can be described as “a GRD > 0,5 m;” meaning that objects of 0,5m or larger can be detected or interpreted from the image in question. Smaller objects presumably will not be resolved and, therefore, are not interpretable.

The history of these targets is shrouded in mystery and their locations are hard to track down. Even CLUI (the Center for Land Use Interpretation) in LA had no information about their location for me. During a long Google Maps stumble session, I suddenly roll over the coordinates of one of the huge slabs of concrete. Surprisingly, its location is rather close: a 3hrs drive North West of the cabin, East of the Mojave Base ‘Fort Irwin’. Its a pilgrimage that needs to be prepared - its not clear if the dirt roads leading to the lonesome, decommissioned slab of concrete are maintained. But the slab of obsolete technology speaks to me: it is the first physical embodiment of my research.

︎ corona test targets near Casa Grande @google maps



Decalibration Target

A DCT resolution target for decalibration, in the Mojave Desert.

Inspired by the USAF-51 Resolution Target, I wish to build a Decalibration Target. Located in the Mojave Desert, in line with the locations of the orginal USAF-51 test patterns West of the Black Mountain Wilderness and East of the Edwards Air Force Base. 

But instead of featuring a USAF-51 resolution pattern, the target will carry a message for decalibration, written in DCT (Discrete Cosine Transform). By doing so, the work that will tie together different parts of an Ecology of Compression Artefacts. 

In time, the target will be documented by Google Earth, a documentation that I welcome as part of the work.

The project will reach over the boarders of the digital art, as it combines many of parts of our daily life (military, art, Google navigation). The project aims to bring together these institutions, to instigate possible conversation. At the same time, the project reflects on practices of 1960s and 1970s land art, which were never build to visit, but just to be referenced as a photo in a catalogue, and frames these tradition within a contemporary framework.

Background writing / research:
▚▛ On resolution
▚▛ On racial bias in resolution test cards

Related artworks:
▚▛ On file formats
▚▛ On the JPEG compression
▚▛ On DCT
▚▛ An Ecology of Compression Complexities

Proposal for a solo show.
- possible Decalibration Target
- video on color test cards [letting Lena talk]
- Release of Beyond Resolution catalogue  
- prints of an Ecology of Compression Ecologies

mock up of the Decalibration Target.

Whiteout in AXIS

︎ read: PDF Essay as published by Photoresearcher

Whiteout is based on an essay of the same title, originally written for AXIS (a project by Mario de Vega in collaboration with Rosa Menkman, 2019)

Whiteout is inspired by my time during the CERN Collide, our climb of the Brocken and a voyage on board of a ship of the Chilean army to Antartica.

In Whiteout, I tell the story of an exhausting hike during a snowstorm. As we makes our way up the mountain, I experience the loss of physical sensations - leading to an inability to see, hear, or orient myself. The spatial dimensions that were at first seemingly wiped out, seem oversaturated and start to offer themselves in new ways.

What does it mean to navigate a grey, dimensionless space?

To move without visual or auditory references or to physically plot a course when there is no conventional sense of direction or even horizon?

To feel oversaturated, by a lack of anything?

    ░▒▓▓▒▒░▓██ ᴿᴱᴬᴸᴵᵀᵎᴲS ᴯᴭʎᴼᴻᴰ ᴿᴱSͦᴼ̥̥̥̥̥ᴸᵁᵀᴵᴼᴻ ██▓▓▒▒░░



█ █     █   █ A CONFUSION OF DEPTH

[ᴿᴱᴬᴸᴵᵀᵎᴲS ᴯᴭʎᴼᴻᴰ ᴿᴱSͦᴼᴸᵁᵀᴵᴼᴻ]

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The sound starting from around minute 9 is from a live performance recording by Mario de Vega.

Some of the footage is also taken by him during our shooting of AX15.

The stroboscopic images are all from the slides of the 2 year colloquium “Resolution Studies”, documented here.

Some images of Whiteout in AX15
(a project w/ Mario de Vega)
(a project w/ Mario de Vega) 

PDF Essay as published by Photoresearcher

ARTFORUM write up:
        ´´´†††††††††††††††††††††††░▒ ▒ ▒ ▒▒▒▒▒  

▒▒▒▒▒ ▒ ▒ ▒ ▒▒▒▒

▒ ▒ ▒ ▒▒▒▒▒ ˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙

performative lecture // rendered video // online environment // artist book

Visit the BLOB here | Chinese version of the BLOB here  

The im/possible BLOB as installed at “Temporal Stack: the Deep Sensor” in Guizhou, China. Curated by Iris Long and HE Zike (2021).

Imagine you could obtain an 'impossible' image of any object or phenomenon that you think is important,
with no limits on spatial, temporal, energy, signal/noise or cost resolutions.
What image would you create?
(the answer can be a hypothetical image of course!)

This was the question I asked every scientist I spoke to during my Arts at CERN/Collide Barcelona residency (2019-2020). As a result of this exploration, I now have a collection of Im/Possible images, that I organise in a low poly rendition of the unquantifiable BLOB of Im/Possible images. Some of these images would have never found their way to our eyes; they would have remained impossible, only to exist in the hypothetical realms outside the BLOB.  

The BLOB (Binary Large OBject) gives a home to the collection of Im/Possible images that all together illustrate the concept of the impossible image and the relationships between affordance, resolution and compromise. As different Axes of Affordance (X,Y,Z and α) cut the BLOB, they define what is possible to resolve, and what images are compromised, or in other words, will never be rendered. While normally these compromised images would never find their way to our eyes, the hypothetical realms of the BLOB offer pasture to these impossible renders.

The BLOB of Im/Possible Images is made in commission for Haus der elektronischen Künste Basel (HEK) and uses the NewArt.city platform. In the summer of 2021 Lothringer 13 Halle (München) organised a real life exhibition of Im/Possible images.





当不同的可见性阈值轴(X、Y、Z 和 α)切割 BLOB 时,它们定义了哪些是可能解析的,哪些图像是损失的,或者换句话说,是永远不会被呈现的。尽管通常情况下,

The BLOB visiting the real space of the Lothringer in Munich

im/possible Images @Lothringer_13, in Munich

im/possible images is conceptualized and curated by Rosa Menkman, and produced by Luzi Gross, to whom I am very grateful.  💎 💎

🔹 Photos from the install here
🔹 My chipmunk-style video walkthrough click here
🔹 Artforum review here


At the entrance of the Lothringer, a computer provides access to the digital version of the exhibition, titled:   the BLOB of im/possibe images. The BLOB is home to a virtual collection of im/possible images that I sourced during my Arts at CERN/Collide-Barcelona residency, by asking every scientist the same question: 

Imagine you could obtain an 'impossible' image of any object or phenomenon that you think is important,
with no limits on spatial, temporal, energy, signal/noise or cost resolutions.
What image would you create?

I developed the BLOB to function as a virtual home for my collection of im/possible images during the pandemic, when all galleries were closed. But now, at the Lothringer 13, the im/possible images show has become a real space actualisation of the virtual BLOB. 

In analogue photography, the latent image space exists when photosensitive material has been exposed, but has not gone through the process of development (yet). It is the space that has been touched by light, but that is not showing trace evidence (in the form of an image) yet. The im/possible images show uses the latent image term as an expanded concept and a hypothetical space, that involves every imaginable and unimaginable image that could ever be rendered. A main premise of im/possible images is that once a render parameter is chosen, this parameter acts as a metaphoric cut through the space of the latent image, dividing it up into images that remain possible, and images that have become impossible. So effectively, every render setting realizes particular images, while it compromises others.

In the Lothringer these parameters or axes, are materialized as architectural elements that quite literally cut through the space while introducing five categories of im/possiblity.
offered to the audience as a map that they can navigate. 

all possible images

The axis of all possible images serves not really as an axis, but rather as an entrance into the hypothetical, latent image space of Lothringer 13 Halle, which contains all conceivable and inconceivable images.

Fabian Heller, All possible images [True Color, Full HD], Print on PVC, 18x2 metres, 2021.

low fidelity images

Sometimes the parameters by which the image was originally created are not supported by the image processing technology that is rendering it visible. This can happen when for instance the encoding system (the codec) has become unsupported or the amount of pixels of the image is higher than the resolution of the display or the computer can process.
When this happens, the technology or decoder can sometimes still try to ‘interpret’ the image data. As a result, the carrier that is used to translate the signal into an image, will influence and possibly deform the image that is finally on display.
This axis functions as an imaginary threshold that exists in the realms of render technologies, signalling that while some images are possible to render and others are not, there is also a liminal space, where the displayed image exists as an ambiguous interpretation.

︎UCNV, Supercritical, Video installation, 2019.
︎Peter Edwards, Nova Drone, Interactive installation, 2012.

images based on speculation, dis/belief or imagination

While some images may be presented as evidence, with ‘high acutance’ or as truthful, in reality the processes through which they may have been produced are inscribed with values, bias or even erroneous interpretations. Think for instance about the image of the shadow of a black hole, which was constituted from a trove of RAW scientific data, but then enhanced by artificial coloring. Or the basemap of planet Earth, that is used by Google maps, which exists devoid of clouds, while inhabited by inconsistent shadowing.


︎Susan Schuppli, Can the sun lie? Video, 2014–2015

︎Sasha Engelmann & Sophie Dyer, Open Weather, Installation & Workshop, 2020-2021
︎Rosa Menkman, Whiteout, video (15 min.), 2020
︎Quote by Ingrid Burrington "forever noon on a cloudless day
︎NASA basemap of Earth.

chronologies of im ⁄ possibility

Technically, what once was possible to capture might become impossible, while some images that are impossible now might become possible to create in the future. This axis functions as a timeline on which some images move from possible to the impossible, and vice versa.

︎Röntgen, Röntgen photo, print, 1896
︎NASA Voyager / Carl Sagan, Pale blue dot, 1990 
spectroscopic X-ray 2018

new complexities and humanly un ⁄ readable images

With the introduction of simulation technologies, which today also include AI and Machine Learning Algorithms, the latent image space has expanded. Images are no longer just relying on the object that is captured, the capturing device and its modes of display but also on intelligent processes that now complicate every step of image processing.
As a result, images are no longer just used as evidence, or to illustrate and explain, but also to predict and explore previously inaccessible scenarios. Moreover, image processing technologies have expanded to spaces of production that were previously unthinkable and unknowable.

︎Alan Warburton, RGB FAQ, Video essay (27:38 min), 2020
︎Memo Akten, Learning to See: Gloomy Sunday, HD Video (3:02 min), 2017
︎Rosa Menkman, Shredded Hologram Rose (4:30 min) 2021