With the advent of the digital camera, the art of photography
has witnessed its most massive paradigm shift since
the advent of the instant Polaroid camera imaging. With
the emergence of "digital photography," the
act of capturing images has altered the way we as a
society negotiate visual data. The digital camera has
brought about a shift in the way images are treated,
considered and even consumed. This instantaneous feedback
possible from a digital image allows the photographer
to keep or disregard an image instantly. In many cases
a digital photograph will never escape the digital realm,
it's data moves from camera, to computer, to email and
through to an unimaginable set of destinations as data.
The physical tangibility of the snapshot held in hand
is becoming a thing of the past. Tangibility now comes
from the act of deciding what to keep, what to delete,
what to manipulate and what to print, shifting the art
of photography into the realm of the post-modern. With
these new possibilities, the exchange of images over
the net has become both a convenience and a social trope.
Meggan Gould's Google project explores mass reproducibility
and availability of images on the net while also investigating
image habit from our own practice of consuming, looking
at and/or glossing over, the millions of images available
in digital realm. Gould, a self-described photographer,
has branched out into the realm of net-art to realise
her latest project.
"This is my first piece that really enters (the
realm of net art) per se, and I am enjoying it vastly
first and foremost I do consider myself a photographer
- simply one that is blurring the lines between on-screen
and off-screen landscapes."
Gould's project begins with a "Google image search".
A program, conceived by the artist, takes the first
100 or so images hit on by the search engine "Google",
and then flattens the results into a composite of the
100 sources. The resultant image contains elements of
all 100 images found through the Google search. In many
cases the images become abstract splashes of colour
that have the air of a painting with no obvious visual
references or cues. Gould presents these googled images
on her website as either individual tableaux or within
a slideshow, the word, which has been googled, accompanies
the composite image thus allowing the viewer to negotiate
the elements that make up the image. The process, thus,
becomes a unique amalgamation of text and image, signifier
and sign, played out within the familiar space of the
Google search engine.
Gould explains that she displays her images differently
when in a gallery setting as opposed to her website,
"When I have set up the images in a gallery setting,
I have marked each image with a number and kept the
title/text key apart from the images, precisely because
I want the viewer to have to search within the imagery,
to guess, to work towards comprehending the images."
When viewed online the images are displayed with their
corresponding searched words, like a title, similar
to the way a viewer would approach a work in a gallery
or textbook along with it's title in plain view. This
discrepancy in exhibition practice exemplifies the difference
in practice between photography, an intrinsically modern
art form, and net art, a much more post-modern practice.
"I have approached presentation photographically.
These pieces will be shown as static, framed photographs
in upcoming shows." The intervention of the artist's
hand, the physicality of the pieces and the aspect of
the ready-made really place Gould's treatment of her
gallery exhibitions in the realm of the modern.