Bad bits

A machine that exposes digital images to the deteriorating effects of the physical world

Can digital images age?

Three timelines of Marios.

This system explores the above question by exposing bits to the physical world. The original image is broken into single pixels, each pixel into its three color components and then encoded using single bits (0 or 1) that are sent to a LED that flashes dim or bright light accordingly. Then the process is reversed and the image is read in again bit by bit with the use of a photoresistor.

This process takes quite some time, because the flashes representing each bit need to have a minimum temporal distance in order to be properly recognizable by the photoresistor. During this time the external light conditions can disturb the transmission leading to unpredictable errors and distortions. By repeating this process multiple times — feeding the output to the program again —, we obtain incrementally degraded images.

100 pixels moon × 4.
Two timelines of 60 pixels moon × 4.
60 × 45 pixels mountains × 5.

Activities

Creative coding, Arduino

When and where

2015, Milan