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Digital Visions
Brad Brace
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The 12hr-ISBN-JPEG Project

Throughout the past 30 years, a Canadian photographer and graphic artist, Brad Brace, has produced many photographic and design works. In December 30, 1994, he ambitiously launched one of his most famous Net art, “12hr-ISBN-JPEG Project”.

In his artist statement, he states that the project as “a round-the clock posting of sequenced hypermodern imagery. The hypermodern minimizes the familiar, the known, the recognizable; it suspends identity, relations and history.” He also describes it as “a post-rhetorical, continuous, apparently random sequence of imagery... genuine gritty, greyscale... corruptable, compact, collectable and compelling convergence.” It can also be identified as “the art of making the other disappear.” Every twelve hours, another pointless photo image will be mailed/posted online. “Similar subjects reappear like remembered acquaintance. Each 12-hour posting is like the turning of a page; providing ample time for reflection, interruption, and assimilation.”

The idea about the time between images is as important as the images themselves. The time interval can be thought as “Twelve hours of night is followed by twelve hours of day.” The basic structure of the whole project took over twenty-four years to make. “The specific sequence of photographs has been presently orchestrated for more than 12 years’ worth of 12-hour postings.” In the future, Brad Brace may add new interjected imagery to extend the life time of his Net art. He is trying to play with the idea of never ending games.

While commenting on the longevity of the “12hr-ISBN-JPEG Project”, I am constantly being reminded by another famous Net art, “Every Icon”, by John F. Simon, Jr. in 1996. It is also playing with the concept of never ending games. “In a 32 X 32 grid, Every Icon progresses by counting. Starting with an image where every grid element is white, the software displays combinations of black and white elements, proceeding toward an image where every element is black. The total number of black and white icons in this grid is 1.8 X10308.” According to theory, we need hundred trillions of years to complete the whole project. Whether or not the project is successful or turns out the way it should be is not our main focus here. We do not care about the result. All we care about is the process and the concept. This idea is very similar to the “12hr-ISBN-JPEG project”. In the near future, we are not likely to see a conclusion to these interactive Net arts. They may continue to run in our next generation or the one after.

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Site: http://www.eskimo.com/~bbrace/bbrace1.html