pattern recognition

pattern recognition

Before the next unfolding, an enfolding: seven years also contained a game within a game. Here I began to consciously address the idea of doubling that The Parallaxis had repeatedly made manifest. This was not the doubling of performative methodology, in which the articulation of the project was also the enactment of the project; or the doubling of methods, in which the reflexive and the reflective came together to establish the performative. Rather, it was the doubling that can be found at ‘the crossroads between metaphysical and material’ (Vannini 2015, p. 8); a doubling that speaks of ‘entanglements … associations, mutual formations, ecologies, constellations, and cofabrications’ (ibid.). The game was primitive and quite literal, and in truth it did not hold my attention for very long. But as the drafts were a conceptual precursor to seven years, this small experiment would prove to be a draft as well.

At the end of each day of seven years I would come home, briefly collapse, and then copy the day’s photos onto my laptop to browse through. This became its own ritual; a second living of the day. But I also left the new photos on my phone, and when I was done going through them on my laptop I turned to this enfolded game.

The camera that remembers everything. That dream reverberated still. The double exposure mode on the Instax had been interesting to play with for a while, but it was never going to be my impossible machine. Impossible, yet so elegant: a camera with infinite recall of every image it had ever captured, able to randomly entangle new moments with old. I was convinced that I could make it real. I scoured the Internet, looking for technological scraps that I could stitch into a whole. When that failed I investigated the feasibility of building it from scratch.

In the end I settled for a readymade solution that got me at least part way to the realisation of my haunting dream. It was a free phone app (Stettiner 2014) with a simple interface: tap a dice icon (or shake the phone; nice touch) and the app would “double expose” two random photos from the memory card. (Which is to say that one photo would be superimposed on top of another, in reference to the analogue technique.) Each roll of the dice also applied a random, garish filter — a feature that I would occasionally switch off, only to admit that the embellished images were usually more interesting.

And so each evening I would sit down, glass of wine often in hand, and gamble with my ghost. What was I gambling on? That my dream quest hadn’t been pure folly? That the chance arrangement of these signs and signals might reveal some kind of meaning; a found mythology of sorts?

We are tossing dice to survive, still huddled in our circle. Looking for clues, trying to collaborate our way into a version of events that will show us how to escape by revealing how we got here.