Fenlandia, slow pixels.


The myth of ‘real time’ and of the supposed reliability of the transmission of information through the net are concepts made up by commercial propaganda and are reminiscent of the advertisements for the first TV sets in that the underlying concept was essentially the same: instantaneously connecting two points very far apart. Fenlandia breaks this apparently unbreakable link (digital = real time). It’s a work by Susan Collins which, for a whole year, will show the images of a region both rural and technologically advanced depending on the zones considered: the region named Silicon Fen, located in East Anglia, United Kingdom. This work started in May 2004 and can be enjoyed both on the web and with a standalone Flash client. What can be observed is an image forming very slowly, at the rate of one pixel per second, a rate that will vary in the future. The image loses its characteristics of instantaneousness to become a stratification of the passing of time. It’s an elaboration which involves a remarkable conceptual leap compared to the creative use of the shutter speed in classical photography and which contains one of the peculiar characteristics of digital technologies (the accumulation of information), applying it to the domain of time and of visual effects. Thus, the webcam is transformed from an eye prothesis to a slow and ephemeral video recorder recording a fixed space. It’s an extremely interesting blow against this speedy era.