Sunset Noise


Cropped frame from a video work by Artie Vierkant, Exposure Adjustment on a Sunset, 2009. A 35 minute real time video of the sun going down over the ocean gradually breaks up as the camera's "exposure adjustment" algorithm struggles to keep the light constant in an image that is fading to black. What should be a calm bath for the eyes becomes increasingly, violently agitated--an accidental psychedelic light show.*

This video is recommended to anyone who uses a digital zoom or similar enhancement features in a camera: it's a Dorian Gray portrait of that pretty, fake image you are presenting to the public. Instead of the aging in the Gray painting, Vierkant traces the bicubic corruption inherent in attempts to stabilize a changing reality. Paradoxically (and unlike the Gray), the digital noise is ultimately more aesthetically pleasing than the postcard sunset.

See also: Joe McKay's Sunset Solitaire
and Jonathan Horowitz's Maxell.

*The still came from a Vimeo version--the softening of pixel edges from saving it online is a whole other degradation topic.