Transmounted digital C-prints
27.5 x 27.5 inches

“All reality is mixed reality”
(from the book Bodies in Code by cultural theorist Mark B. N. Hansen)

The digital revolution has permanently dethroned photography from its historical position as the medium of choice for capturing truthful representations the world. The algorithms that regulate digital imaging processes literally grid all representations into millions of pixels that can be manipulated at will. A stream of binary code virtualizes that which is seen through the lens of the camera. No matter how many megapixels simulate reality, when one ‘zooms in’ close enough, the image eventually scatters into grids of coloured cubes.

In the series ‘CONSTRUCTION SITES,’ I use photography to picture constructions of all kinds. On the plane of visible subject matter, the photographs depict current construction sites in the Greater Vancouver area. These construction sites are also the sites where our society constructs its ideologies, dreams and futures – whether it be the ‘2010 Olympics,’ the ‘Canada Line,’ ‘Waterfront Living’ or a ‘Dream Home’… On a virtual plane, pixelation operates as a metaphor that questions both the constructed nature of the photographic image and its embodied ideologies.

The photographs appear seamless when viewed from a distance – and yet, as the viewer approaches the image, pixelation subverts this ‘analog’ experience by giving the eye myriad mixed messages.


Thomas Ruff - JPEG series
Gerhard Richter - Cologne Cathedral Stained Glass Window
Roy Arden - Colour photographs of construction sites

© 2008 helma sawatzky – updated in june 2010