“The Photographic Universe” consists of a tumblr page with the exact same image uploaded every day until graduation in 2016. The image is of a camera on a tripod, Photoshopped together with a wooden picture frame. Every day the image is uploaded via ifttt.com.¹ The installation as a macbook, table, and chair, mimics the factory of the information age.
“The Photographic Universe” works on two fronts: firstly the image itself, and then its repetition. Inspiration for the image came from a press photo of an exhibition on contemporaryartdaily.com in which the (usually invisible) camera was reflected in the glass of the picture it was photographing.² I was interested in how this might constitute a break through of the programme of the camera as explained by Vilém Flusser (2012).
Flusser explains that each seemingly new photograph within the stream of images we encounter in day-to-day life, actually works within the prescribed programme of the photographic apparatus. And that breaking through this would constitute a break through of the photographic universe, opening up new lines of flight. He goes on to say:
“What would be informative, exceptional, exciting for us would be a standstill situation: to find the same newspapers on our breakfast tables every day or to see the same posters on city walls for months on end. That would surprise and shock us.” (p.65)
The work inhabits the murky waters of difference, repetition and the new. While each image is identical with respect to the code it is generated from, each takes its own place within the HTML coding of the tumblr page and pixels of the screen. And the massing of images in the “archive” page that each tumblr page is programmed with creates a rhythm, in a similar way to Google Image search.
Feedback was mixed in the sense that the repetition created an interesting situation, but the project’s subversiveness could have gone further: The image was too “safe,” and the project as a whole could be more concretely connected to/implicated in the systems it relates to, for example, selling the images online with the price linked to the value of gold or some other commodity.
¹ I am indebted to Neale Willis for bringing this website to my attention.
Flusser, V., (2012)  “Towards a Philosophy of Photography” – London: Reaktion Books