Name, first nameMichelle NüssliYear of birth1995UniversityFHNWField of Interest / research fieldIconic ResearchTitle of projectRevealing the medium: An attempt to expose systemsAbstractRevealing the medium:

An attempt to expose systems through failures

Our whole world, our society, our daily life, everything is composed in and through systems. Almost every part of our human life is constructed and arranged: from political systems, bank systems and language systems to computer systems and art systems. A digital image has a specific code behind it, something we don’t see on a first glance, but it’s always there to make the image to what it is. Every technical device, such as our phone, our computer, but also our language, a simple letter or drawing: everything is arranged and maintains an internal dialogue. In Kevin Kelly’s words: “a system is anything that talks to itself.” Thus, we can define a system as a set of elements integrated with one another to such an extent that they form a recognisable whole.

Also a medium is constructed – like a system – by various elements that form together a functioning whole and are able to produce meaning. Single or loose entities have to be connected and arranged by a fixed form in order to make sense and work. By doing so a brush, printer, scanner, photo or video camera can be understood as a medium: all of them rely on single and loose parameters forming together a whole in order to transmit meaning.

Today we are surrounded by hundreds of mediums everyday. Marshall McLuhan mentions that most of the time we are not really aware what impact the medium itself can have on us. Maybe a broken screen lets us understand the phone as a device and rethink of how we use it. Like the Broken Plate from André Kertész that shows not just an image of Paris but also the photographic plate and gives us the possibility to see photography as a medium. In Maria Zinfert words: "[…] it allows one to also see the damaged plate of glass from which the print was made, thus making the viewer's glance switch endlessly between the representation and the network of cracks interrupting it."

As Michel Serres sates: “Kein System ohne Parasit.” No system works perfectly, but a parasite or ‘failure’ can not only break the system, it can also change it by revealing something that was hidden before. Hence, failures lie somewhere in the middle; they are always part of the system and they can reveal a second layer that maybe never would have appeared. Failures can take us beyond assumptions and what we think we know. “Artists have long turned their attention to the unrealizability of the quest for perfection, or the open-endedness of experiment, using both dissatisfaction and error as means to rethink how we understand our place in the world.”

What happens if we understand failures as something productive? What are they able to expose? Can we generate failed images in order to reveal a certain medium? Those questions brought up the idea to expose a certain medium through failed images. It is an attempt to reveal hidden systems or the medium itself by either changing or manipulating single entities or by going against certain rules that are set by the medium and his surrounding. How can we reveal the medium, his system, different entities, parameters, materials or his construction and usage? And most importantly: How can we reveal the medium or his system through failures?
TutorsMarion Fink, Nicolaj van der Meulen, Michael Renner
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Revealing the medium:  An attempt to expose systemsRevealing the medium:  An attempt to expose systems