Some Background on Interstate, page 4

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So, I had the two sides of my project, each affectless, arbitrary and banal. To address the random elements, I set up some simple compositional rules superimposing three random processes.

On paper, the primary work lays out on seven 13” x 19“ sheets containing 24 images each—a regular matrix 6 columns wide x 4 rows high—with each image presented at the same size (2-1/2” x 2-1/2”).

First random process: a random number generator defines the order of the 169 source images. No image may be used more than once in a series. As a series of 7 sheets of 24 images contains 168 images, the last of the series is omitted.

Second random process: for each source image, a random number defines the center point of a selection area on a grid of 48 separate possibilities. This was run on a per-sheet basis so that the random number generator created a series of 24 integers within the range of 1 – 48. A center point value may be used as many times as it comes up.

Third random process: A third random set defines a small, medium or large square around the center point: in effect, the image’s field of view. 

These are then digitally pasted onto the 13” x 19” sheet, each image resized to be 2-1/2” x 2-1/2”. In this way, the image selection and order are the result of three independent random processes. The full series was run ten times.

The project is intended for book, web and gallery installation, and the requirements are different for each. For the gallery installation, the primary unit is the 7-sheet series. On the more intimate scale of the book, I consider the basic units to be the page spread, the page layout and the individual images. In the book, the first run of the ten random series is shown only on full 24-image sheets at the book’s mid-point. The individual images and smaller matrices are from series 2 – 5 presented in the order in which they were generated (only part of the fifth series is used). No image selection is repeated unless the repetition is the result of random operations (i.e. same source image, center point and field of view). The credits section indicates the periodicity of the series, in that certain images will recognizably recur in modified aspects in each series. 

From my perspective, for this project to be successful both subjects—interstates and randomness—should be simultaneously apparent and active for the viewer. I hope you find this as engaging as I do. 


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