Phantom Limb Cruft
(Reparation for Events Real and Imagined)
This cruft algorithm selects search terms from a compiled list of life events that most people document with photographs. The search term is passed into Yahoo! Image Search, one of the resulting images is selected and digitally altered. With our network connected mobile devices the time between living an event and documenting that event has collapsed. The Internet is one large database of shared social experiences that this work relies upon as source material. This new image builds upon the collected images uploaded to the Internet, to create an ongoing narrative speaking to reparation for events real and imagined.
Needing to have reality confirmed and experience enhanced by photographs is an aesthetic consumerism to which everyone is now addicted. Industrial societies turn their citizens into image–junkies; it is the most irresistible form of mental pollution. Poignant longings for beauty, for an end to probing below the surface, for a redemption and celebration of the body of the world—all these elements of erotic feeling are affirmed in the pleasure we take in photographs. But other, less liberating feelings are expressed as well. It would not be wrong to speak of people having a compulsion to photograph: to turn experience itself into a way of seeing. Ultimately, having an experience becomes identical with taking a photograph of it, and participating in a public event comes more and more to be equivalent to looking at it in photographed form. That most logical of nineteenth-century aesthetes, Mallarmé, said that everything in the world exists in order to end in a book. Today everything exists to end in a photograph.
— On Photography, Susan Sontag