Memories are the subject of time. Vulnerable to permutation and decay, they link associatively often connected through only one or two variables. One of the ways that photography has demonstrably influenced the way we think is that it can affect the variability of a moment (or memory) through capture. I’ve spent my life documenting moments, relationships and events. Looking through my archive of 17,000 35mm snapshots, which span from 1990 to the present, I find myself linking these images in the same thread-like manner.
From this 25-year archive of images and my continued pursuit exploring connectivity in new media, I have created a web-based system that relays images from my archive to the public through the graphic website www.balloonsumbrellasandsnow.com. Powered by an intelligent and poetic algorithm of my own design, I have coded it to behave akin to the faculties of human memory with an emphasis on free association.
My relationship to each image and its content is personally defined through extensive tags. They are categorized within “Content,” “Location,” Time,” & “Reflection.” This provides the selection method for the algorithm to operate. A “seed” image is selected by the system. The second image shares a tag with the first from a single category. The third image shares two tags with the second in two categories, and so on. If the system fails to find an image that matches the criteria, a new image is selected and the process starts from scratch. A single train of thought can operate anywhere from 1 minutes to 2 years until the algorithm cannot find a relation from one image to the next. As I continue to document my surroundings, I will proceed to upload and tag images to this growing archive whereby allowing dormant images/memories to surface.
On the screen, a 4”x6” image appears and is accompanied by a 6 digit archive number delineating the year, month and day. Against a stark black screen, the photographs suggest the look of a memento mori: a remnant suggesting death, the inevitable alteration of history, and in my photographs, the decay of memory. The work is accompanied by the score, Disintegration Loop1.1 written by avant-garde composer William Basinski. This meditative composition, much like memories, disintegrate and change over time, producing an ever dissolving reflection of what the image once was.
Visitors to the site observe an intimate visual glimpse of my personal history through technology. The thread of these captured moments flows uninterrupted like the memories they represent. The relationship between the image and memory unfolds and chance makes it unable to be strictly navigated or controlled. Memories arise and fade, images appear, endure, and then dissolve.