Toby Ziegler

Oracle, 2017

  • Medium:2 channel video installation
  • Dimensions:Variable

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About the Artwork

Oracle, 2017

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Oracle is a two-channel video, displayed on two large LED screens, one mounted on top of the other. The top panel displays a sequence of 12 images of Matisse’s ‘La Danse’ in which the hue has been systematically modulated through the spectrum. The 12 images of the painting have been pasted into an online ‘similar image search’ and each one renders dramatically different results. As the colours of the Matisse masterpiece depicted on the upper screen shift, the screen below displays the corresponding grid of visually similar images showing a plethora of rapidly oscillating subjects ranging from close-up photos of bloody, marbled beef, to luminous green surveillance images from night-vision cameras, and everything in between. Like the layering and eroding of paint on Ziegler’s aluminum panels which makes a clear reading of the original image difficult, this sped up and constantly shifting repository obfuscates a direct understanding of the originally searched image while highlighting the transformative, instantaneous and deconstructive capacity of reverse image searching and the symbolic implications of digital cross-referencing.

Ziegler’s work demonstrates the human desire to discover meaning between strange and incongruent images and forms. As the video loops, the visual stimuli trigger a response, which demands that connections and links be made.  Ziegler lifts Yandex, the Russian counterpart of Google Image Search, to the status of ‘seer’: a form digital consciousness that finds configurations between colour and tone, moving from image to data and back again.