It's Organic If You Look Close Enough

A sonificated macro feedback from an OLED monitor, 2017

The Audio-Video-Installation It's Organic If You Look Close Enough by artist Wolfgang Spahn aims at deconstructing the so-called perfect surface that is created within the virtual sphere by contemporary digital technology. By using macrofilming to explore the surface of OLED-monitors the camera visualizes the frayed edges of the Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLED's). Thus it creates images that would not be visible to the naked eye: the so-called homogeneous perfect squares are indeed uniquely shaped, ragged, and uneven when approached with macro lenses.

A triptych of three OLED monitors equipped with a Raspberry Pi-camera each presents patterns that are created and re-created by macrofilmed images of the frayed pixels. Thus each monitor is the source as well as the display of the patterns, which are generated in an endless feedback loop. These patterns come in a variety, because macrofilm shootings enlarge their objects and thus performatively create changes regarding structure, colour, and dimension of the images.

Insofar the installation pronounces both the organic structure of OLED's and the analogue technology that is part of digital interfaces. In doing so it creates disillusionment: the pure digital surface can only exist as an abstract reality within the virtual sphere. At the very moment when digital data are made accessible – be it by use of monitors, cameras or any technology that allows to store data, share data or visualize data – the pure digital surface gets disrupted by the interfaces' hardware, which always contains analogue technology.

Yet, the installation also includes the virtual space. The VGA input signals (Video Graphics Array) of the OLED-monitors are tracked and their sound is amplified and streamed. Insofar the imprecise sound that arises from the organic images will be publicly accessible within the virtual sphere. The sonification of the data can be seen as an interference: organic material intervenes in the perfect surface of the abstract virtual sphere.

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The Installation was part of the exhibition Feedback #1 - MARSHALL MCLUHAN AND THE ARTS West, Den Haag, 2017.

Wolfgang Spahn is a visual & sound artist based in Berlin. His work includes installations, performances of light & sound and miniature-slide-paintings. His art explores the field of analogue and digital media and focuses on both their contradiction and their correlation.
He is faculty member of the Sound Studies and Sonic Arts, Berlin University of the Arts.

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Here is most of the hard- and software the artist developed for his artwork.
- Analog Computer
- Pop Neuron
- Paper-Duino
- Paper Synthesizer
- Paper Bits
- Raspberry Pi Hats
- VGA Synthesizer
- Sound Boards



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