Intimidating digital losses: what’s beyond the resolution?

There’s a point in our lives where it is impossible to escape from the cloud, we can run but never hide from the big brother. After we realize this, we are never the same, there’s no turn back.

Digital life have been edging our life to adopt and consume technology as a sub-medium. In the assumption of Manovich, one of the paradoxes of digital photography talks about the virtual world impacting the real world. But before going there the question will be; how real is the virtual-world and how much of virtual has the real-world?

Beyond Resolution (2015) from Rosa Menkman.

A deeper thought on how technology in digital photography has changed our worldview of the real-world and how our easy access to it due to personal devices have become the hypertext of our lucid reality.

“Digital photographs function in a entirely different way from traditional lens and film based photographs. For instance, images are obtained and displayed by sequential scanning; they exist as mathematical data which can be displayed in a variety of modes sacrificing color, spatial or temporal resolution. Image processing techniques make us realize that any photograph contains more information than can be seen with the human eye. Techniques of 3D computer graphics make possible the synthesis of photo realistic images yet, this realism is always partial, since these techniques do not permit the synthesis of any arbitrary scene“ [1]

In a fast-growing technological world, humankind apparently walks on a different peace than the developers and specialists in the topic. It’s remarkable how in our days the achievement of realism is the main purpose of the future of visual consumption, anyhow unfortunately or maybe, fortunately, the vast majority of pictures we see, share and consume are in lossy .jpg, music in lossy .mp3 and videos in pixelated .mp4 or .avi.

La physis óptica by Paff Stone

The access to this visual hunger let us in between the digital loss and resolution.
Digital artists as Ryan Maguire with his  “MoDernisT” project or Rosa Menkman with  “beyond resolution” & “about xilitla” and the experimental work of “plastic photography “ by Paff Stone, breaks a great path to explore in the visual media art and the quantification through these. It may let see us a tinny ray of light to dictate how real is the virtual-world we’ve created, and how much of virtual has the “new” real-world we live in.

On proper words of McLuhan: “when the people have been strip off their private identities they develop a huge nostalgia.” Are these gaps in information and digital loss in our visual resources has become an unconscious way to humanize our digital approach? Are we trying to merge a machinic/emotional point of view? Are we becoming a species of data?

until then…. we are still humans and after all, we all have to walk through the uncanny valley.


“moDernisT” was created by salvaging the sounds lost to mp3 compression from the song “Tom’s Diner”, famously used as one of the main controls in the listening tests to develop the MP3 encoding algorithm. Here we find the form of the song intact, but the details are just remnants of the original, scrambled artifacts hinting at what once was.
download uncompressed audio: rpm7.bandcamp.com/album/the-ghost-in-the-mp3

The MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 Layer III standard, more commonly referred to as MP3, has become a nearly ubiquitous digital audio file format. First published in 1993, this codec implements a lossy compression algorithm based on a perceptual model of human hearing. Listening tests, primarily designed by and for western-european men, and using the music they liked, were used to refine the encoder. These tests determined which sounds were perceptually important and which could be erased or altered, ostensibly without being noticed. What are these lost sounds? Are they sounds which human ears can not hear in their original contexts due to our perceptual limitations, or are they simply encoding detritus? It is commonly accepted that MP3’s create audible artifacts such as pre-echo, but what does the music which this codec deletes sound like? In the work presented here, techniques are considered and developed to recover these lost sounds, the ghosts in the MP3, and reformulate these sounds as art.
ryanmaguiremusic.com/theghostinthemp3.html
  1. Lev Manovich, “Assembling Reality: Myths of Computer Graphics,” AFTERIMAGE 20, no. 2 (September 1992): 12-14

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