Gently honing in on what my essay will be discussing: software and imaging. Hoping to go further than just exploring the amazing array of things that can be done with images via computers but to look at the very nature of an image in the digital domain. From it's creation from light into its encoding in binary. Obviously a rather broad area of inquiry that i need to refine, pronto. The first five minutes of this video from Sun's Bryan Cantrill offers an insight into something i have never really resolved:

Although a bit old hat in the online world of digital imaging, Content Aware Image Resizing is a fascinating look at where public level interaction with images is heading (my use of 'level' and 'layer' really need to be defined outside of my mind, so as to make sense to others);

"The basic idea is that if you want to stretch out an image, it will keep the key elements of the photo in sensible places while filling in less important areas. The same goes for shrinking an image - it will eliminate the less important features of an image and leave the main subject areas intact and in the same relative location as they previously appeared in the image."

Any truth that people may have seeked from images is now well buried. Much like the shift to mp3 and the mass loss of quality in comparison to other mediums; many people i have observed accept low bit-rate poorly encoded music with it's shrill treble and muffled bass. The real jokers are the people who listen to music from their phones!! Can they really accept that as progress. There is a point where the mediums entropy begins to effect the enjoyment of the music (message). Here i am creeping into Marshal McLuhan territory, so i suppose i could be looking at the amount of effort required to derive a meaning and how the medium is changing the fundamental content of the information. In this sense images will become a further simulacra.


Robert Sharl said...

Lots of stuff to discuss here. I want to throw this post your way first though, as it directly challenges your audiophile tendencies. The point, I guess, is that music happens in the mind, not in the ears (though that's a paraphrasing and an over-simplification). I think your own personal bias shows too much when you talk about audio, and there's something essential that seems to survive pretty much any amount of encoding and artifacts. Isn't the basis of Content-sensitive Image Resizing that you can fuck around with an image any way you like and still retain the essential meaning? Are data and meaning equivalent? Are online interactions more real or meaningful with greater bandwidth? I don't know the answers either, but I'd love to hear your thoughts.

PlumpWench said...

It has taken me an age to respond to this; every thought leads me of into a semantic maze of confusion.

I would agree that their is an 'essence' that can transcend poor encoding, but i don't think that this essence is synonymous with an meaning. Meaning appears to be a philosophical, psychological nightmare with distinctions defined by the discipline its being used in.

For me at this point 'meaning' would be that i can recognize a face and respond to it in my mind from a altered image. I suppose (yet another) point might be how much of the essence is intentional verses how much is what is captured and or survives encoding. Can the data be likened to a meme, upon computation.
My thinking is like this; data is the product of the encoding of [input] into a know syntax/structure that is interacted with by computation into an output. Data is nothing until computed is is just potential like the latent image in wet chemical photography.

I need to stop and think some more. I don't really feel like i have answered anything.