Ambient Memorial

Laser-eteched bismuth

The work consists of five etched metal pieces arranged into an array, cast to fit flush into gaps in the paving of a public space. Laser etched onto their surface are images of the site that have been algorithmically interpreted by non-line-of-sight imaging techniques which use visual information contained in a photograph to provide visualizations of the area outside of the captured frame.

The work examines the ways in which memory or historical information is embedded intentionally or not, within implicit everyday documentary practices of the built environment. Resisting direct communication or visualization of historical information, the work instead aims to model a relation to historical revelation which addresses its subject through the happenstance encounter at the edge of intelligibility in time as well as visual perception. Embedded flush within the gaps produced by the disaggregation of the industrially produced urban surface they form an array which together might inaugurate a stopgap mnemonic– encoding and searching for that which has past.

In conversation with the histories at MIT of perceptually-oriented urban planning projects, environmental art, and contemporary technologies of computational urban science, I think about this work in relation to that which is registered yet unseen within technical description. I am interested in generating images which might not look or look only indirectly, for the potentials of meaning-making across scales and to model ambulatory peripheral visualities and practices of looking.

Credits: Production funding provided by MIT Art, Culture, and Technology, and by the Council for the Arts at MIT. Assistance from Adam Yedidia the Signals, Information and Algorithms Labratory at MIT.