After Image is an art installation comprised of a video piece and creative data visualization both showcasing a series of experiments done with an archive of my own family photographs in relation to a larger archive of South Indian studio photographs from the <a href='https://stars.hypotheses.org/'>Studies in Tamil Studio Archives and Society (S.T.A.R.S)</a>. Each of these experiments employs machine learning and computational techniques to sort, average, and analyze the images in order to surface semantic and visual patterns across the hundreds of images. With my experiments, I performatively question the notion of collective and individual identity, and highlight the complexity of the image as a data point.
For the experiments, the images were first grouped by subject matter using a subject detection machine learning model and a clustering algorithm. The groupings created by subject matter are represented around the central video component in the form of an intricate mapping of images. Each group is represented by a cluster of its individual images around a central node image, which is a computational averaging of all the images within the cluster.
On a second layer above the images, representations of "machine vision" are overlaid onto the individual images in each cluster. These representations show lines indicating pose, circles indicating areas of high exposure and contrast, and finally rectangular boxes indicating objects that were detected. Boundaries between clusters are represented by white lines that can be traced if one chooses
In the center on loop, a video shows me placing my own family photographs centrally, triggering the flashing of similar images from the S.T.A.R.S. archive on the left, and on the right, their corresponding machine overlays indicating pose and object detection.
If you would like to read more about the specific findings and methodology of this project, please feel free to read <a href='https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ubNANWm6I9Aq0N6J9qqgS7vAYClG6OMZVxYHqQl_pEU/edit?usp=sharing'>my paper.</a>