Active Perceptual Systems
The images that make up the Active Perceptual Systems project were taken over a period of two years with an automated “intelligent” wearable camera called the Autographer. Originally designed as a mnemonic device for people with Alzheimer’s, the Autographer was subsequently remarketed by the OMG Life company as a media gadget tool for the “always-on” generation. On selected days between 2014 and 2016, I wore the camera in various everyday situations: on a city walk, in a holiday resort, in an art gallery, in a lecture theater (when talking about nonhuman photography), at home. Inconspicuous due to its resemblance to a small necklace yet clearly visible, the camera randomly took photographs at frequent intervals. I then uploaded the photos to my computer. My decision to wear the camera on a given day, switch it on, and then select and process the images (originally taken in color) was coupled with the decision of the camera algorithm regarding what to photograph and when. The machinic behavior was nevertheless influenced by the way I moved my body, enacting a form of immersive, corporeal perception that broke with the representationalist linearity of perspectival vision while also retaining human involvement in the multiple acts of image capture. The human element was also foregrounded in the subsequent editing activities: I was faced with over 18,000 images from which I chose several dozen. The selection process was akin to making careful incisions in the image flow, with a view to setting up narrative connections—some of which were not necessarily present in the original sequence. In an age of constant surveillance—from CCTV cameras installed in city centers, on public transport, and in shopping malls, through to self-monitoring via the constant recording of our lives with cell phones—Active Perceptual Systems is designed as a commentary on this incessant fabrication of images: of us, but also by us. It also raises the question of whether, in the age of “image obesity,” the creative photographer can be seen as first and foremost an editor: a Flusserian in-former who provides structure to the imagistic flow after the images have been taken.