New Evidence
face-laminated pigment inkjet prints on paper
308cm x 252cm x 11cm
New Evidence is based on a 1972 photography book titled 'Evidence' by American artists Mike Mandel and Larry Sultan. The book featured a collection of archival photographs — once produced by various government bodies as documentary material — repurposed by its authors as artistic photographs. These photographs, rendered meaningless without their original frame of reference, highlighted the role of context (or lack thereof) in our interpretation of images. I wanted to know what would happen if interpretation was handed over to a machine so I chose an image from the book, scanned it, then uploaded the file to Google Image Search, a type of query which prompts the search engine to find images that visually match the uploaded one. The 700 images returned by Google were printed and displayed alongside the original image and a match I chose. The work examines the relationships between objective and subjective interpretations of photographs by attempting to reverse the change achieved by the Evidence book. From a formal point of view, all 700 image results are relevant to the original image. However, their content varies so greatly that, when looking at the results, one can link the original input photograph — whose meaning was erased — to a corresponding image invested with symbolism.