Grid of low-resolution face images in the All Thumbs interface

Overview

An interface to navigate every possible 48 x 48 pixel black and white image. The software presents a complete, navigable spatial map of each of the 248×48 images, from solid white at the top-left of the map to solid black in the bottom-right.

Four means of navigating the possibility space are provided:

  1. Direct panning through the space.
  2. “Teleportation” to other points in the space through a compressed mini-map
  3. Direct entry of a specific image number.
  4. Camera-based navigation in which the live feed from a camera jumps to the matching point in the map.

The project is intended to explore the implications of digital quantization on representation, originality / creativity, and functionally infinite vs. truly infinite data sets. The camera interface, in particular, suggests that one truly “takes” a photo from a predetermined and bounded possibility space — one does not “create” a photo ex nihilo. Some actions which we casually classify as creative are in fact collisions with, curations of, or temporal accelerations through information which already exists.

A 48 x 48 pixel 1-bit image was selected as the subject for the sake of computational expedience, and also because it’s around the perceptual threshold required to convey semantically meaningful content. Technical — not conceptual — constraints prevent this technique from being applied to much larger images.

Images

Over-the-shoulder photograph of Joshua Clayton looking at All Thumbs artworkProfile photograph of Joshua Clayton looking at All Thumbs artworkScreenshot of a field of windows in the All Thumbs interfaceScreenshot of a field of hands in the All Thumbs interfaceScreenshot of random possibility space in the All Thumbs interfaceScreenshot of zoomed-in random possibility space in the All Thumbs interfaceScreenshot of the All Thumbs interface showing the first all-white image in the spaceScreenshot of the All Thumbs interface showing the final all-black image in the space

Video


Components

  • Prepared LCD display (optional)
  • Prepared USB webcam (optional)
  • Custom software

Exhibitions

  • May 2010 / ITP Spring Show / New York
  • March 2011 / SITE Fest / New York
  • August 2011 / GD2011 / New York

Related Courses

Related Posts

Source Code

Related Works

Thanks

  • Tony Collins