Julia Varela investigates the materiality of images in the age of digital technologies. Often assumed to be an immaterial object, the image is a latent potentiality whose visual representation relies on a medium. Part of her research involves contact with retailers of state-of-the-art screens and electronic devices that interpret visual content for the consumption and transmission of images. Varela’s video piece originates from a photograph sent to her by an e-commerce retailer based in Shanghai.
This low-quality, trivial-looking snapshot is processed by a photo-optic synthesizer that encodes it into sound waves. An algorithmic bar reads and interprets the image. The visual data stored in the photograph mutates into sound and its waves reach out to vibrate our inner ear.
Shortcut is an online exhibition program showing pieces specifically made for our website by a selection of artists.Being restricted and feeling distant from the museum visit experience, we enable these virtual alternatives to support artistic production and to keep on creating access to knowledge, reflection and transformation. The Shortcut series feeds from artworks and unpublished material that explore and question the limits and potential of digital mediums as exhibition platforms from a critical point of view.
Julia Varela – 3’31”
Text by Àngels Miralda
The image is of a darkened warehouse space where products are finished and wrapped. Outside it is night. In the middle of the image is a lit LED screen horizontal on a table. There is nothing displayed on it, a pure white emits from its gridded screen. The panel lies among huge boxes containing protective plastics. At the edge of the screen is a young woman. She looks towards the camera through her black thick-rimmed glasses. Her face and front are illuminated. She wears a green sport jacket. She places one of her hands on the screen and her other hand rests on her belly. The image was a throw-away. An emailed thumbnail for a simple sales purpose. An image emailed in order to create more images on that blank screen. At first glance, trivial. Yet, an accidental relationship had already started to form.
You can read the full text downloading the following document: