Visuelle Kommunikation



Laura Tolomelli

This Is Not a Failure –
Inverting the Language of RAW Codifications


Media encoding means everything is quantized: pixels are rounding of reality. Without being stored and labelled as .jpeg, .tiff, .RAW, etc., the data is meaningless. 0 is the dimension of the numbers not yet decoded (0,1). Therefore, the interpretation of the code (decoding) provides the key to maintain a connection with the sensorial world.

Behind every digital image is a sequence of bits, which is the unaware keeper of a recorded information; by simply looking at the surface, everything is abstract though. Thus “digitality” is an idealized surface.

Can we input our language and visualize the digital interpretation of the code which has finally been given a “humanized” content? In what way are we conscious of the media manifesting itself? What and where is the “truth”, or what do we define as reality? What is the meaning of an image? How do we decode an image?

Visualizing the algorithm reveals the ornamental essence of the project. And embedding repeated texts in the code of a lossless compression (RAW) file does not corrupt the data, but reinterprets it. This is not a failure, or a glitch resulting from traditional data-bending techniques.

Every different type of media can be seen as an alternative perspective of the same content. The “glitch” that is explored is inherent in the decoding process and can be interpreted as a “perception glitch”.

Starting from a proper text conveying ideas and mental images, its alter ego is displayed looking through the kaleidoscope of digital imaging — whereby the fragility of the media representation comes to light. Such a methodology keeps the image creation process linear and free of contradictions: there is no break, malfunction, or accident.

The outcome is about aesthetics — affirming the ambiguity of digital content and revealing other perceptional dimensions far from human categories but close to machines. There is no corruption of the data itself, but a reversal of perspective. Lines and colours appear as clear traces of artificial computer intelligence: sequential and articulated through loops and Boolean logical conditions.

Here the subject is a pretext, a chance, an opportunity.
The artistic significance lies beyond the exterior or practical meaning. There is no logical relationship between the meaning of the subject and the subject itself; which, instead, is just a perfect academic exercise, or a pure work of style. The real poetic contents are never directly empiric but, rather, intimate and mysterious — engraved only in their embodied form. Content and style correspond to two different states of the soul: the irrational (fantastic) and the rational — simultaneously existing and interchanging with each other.

Lines and colours are immortal. The subject dies in time.
The only solution to contemplate art is to avoid its meaning, finally living it as catharsis.

Beauty is always synonymous with expressiveness: is this rapture for abstract beauty the genuine, human and real content of art? In its eternal form, the content is fused, lowered, forgotten, and lost.
The constitutive elements of an image have only to be understood in their interior necessity: their objectivity. Their sense is arbitrary, random, and gratuitous — and completely subjective. Only style is objectively necessary and objectively descriptive: demonstrative.

Laura Tolomelli,

Institut Visuelle Kommunikation, FHNW HGK, Freilager-Platz 1, CH-4023 Basel
+41 61 228 41 11,,