Ficus Focus


GIF, 500x400 px. 2013
Manuel Fernández, from his Recognition series

The back story is pretty funny. A camera's face recognition software is desperately seeking a human mug in various images: this plant, a pigeon, a dildo, a table lamp.

Let's assume it's true. (The whole thing could be faked.) The images are compelling, though, with even lighting and classical proportions (Greek new media! meets stock photos) and the slithering, erratic green rectangle has good animated GIF eye feel (a term borrowed from culinary "mouth feel"). I like them as photography with the intervention of an arbitrary, Baldessari-like formal element as much as for whatever they are saying about the ubiquity of surveillance or [insert obligatory grant-friendly language].

Found this through uncopy, an art database with a taste spectrum similar to the recently-shuttered Vvork (the latter is still online as an archive).

Update: an Apple iPhone user says the green rectangle is iPhone-only so therefore the project is fake because obviously they aren't made with the phone. I was hoping not to have to talk about Apple but if the green rectangle is that well branded then this is an iPhone community in-joke and deserves to be discussed that way. Can the GIFs be enjoyed without being dragged into that swamp? Doubtful; oh well, I tried.