CONCEPT AND PROCESS
The lightbox that was constructed displays a 'portrait' of London, as seen by Google on the 10th of September, 2013 at 4.30pm. Using a search engine such as Google to source the images, the final piece was designed to question the way cities are visually represented by both the people who inhabit them, and the digital systems which are increasingly responsible for our visual perception of urban spaces.
The methodology employed searched for the ten highest ranking image returns for 'London' and filtering via the 'Large' image size option. One of the intentions of the project was to determine whether certain cities had a particular quality, a grain or texture that would become apparent through its visual representations. In order to abstract the images into a more textural representation, the ten results were then layered on top of one another, merging into a single atmospheric image. The use of a lightbox echoes the glowing nature of the screen through which these images are viewed, and allows the images to build and iterate upon one another.
The ten highest ranking images returned from Google using the search term 'London' and filtering by 'Large' size.
10th September, 2013 1630.
LAYERING THE IMAGE
The ten source images were centred and cropped to the same proportions in preparation for printing on clear acetate film. The layering process meant that it was difficult to anticipate the final result so several test prints were made at differing opacity; 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%. The final prints were made at 50%, a balance between luminosity and density of colour.
The ten images were printed onto acetate via a flatbed digital inkjet printer. The final prints could then be layered one on top of the other before being placed into the lightbox display.
The lightbox itself was sourced from a fabrication company providing signage and displays for advertising, and allowed for approximately 10mm of material to be sandwiched between a diffusing layer of opal acrylic and clear acrylic on the finished face.
Printing the images as individual layers not only replicated the digital process from Photoshop, but also provided a way to manipulate the final tone and grain of the piece by altering the order in which the images were stacked.