Random Selection In Random Image – Hypermateriality

Random Selection in Random Image

Jan Robert Leegte’s new works re-examine the hypermateriality of the digital domain. Educated as a sculptor and architect this Dutch artist has a unique approach to art in the context of the internet. His recent online work‚ Random Selection in Random Image pushes the boundaries of both the notion of creativity and of individual perception. Leegte has created a smart commentary on thenew prerequisites for the reception and production of art in a technology infested environment. By highlighting random areas within random images from Flickr he both undermines and reinstates Ronald Barthes’ idea of the punctum in photography. “The notion of the manifested or materialized cognitive process of selecting intrigues me,“ says Leegte about this work. Also the punctum is no longer a purely immaterial, social or psychological phenomenon, but it merges fluidly with an encoded and embedded media-material reality. Images and particularly photographs have lost a great deal of their magic and appeal since they started flooding the net. By taking them as raw matter for the new camera (computer software) and the new eye (the network) images are reinvigorated. In Random Selection Leegte brings back the element of surprise to each photograph by robbing us of our alleged privilege of being at the basis of our own point of view, our own gaze, literally. In an interview with V2, Canadian theorist Brian Massumi describes this kind of manipulation as elementary to art: “Every art object works by tapping into a certain aspect of “natural” perception in order to re-abstract it, so that some actual potentials that were there are suspended while others that tended not to appear before, or even had never appeared before, are brought out.“ In this work the uncertainty brought on by the use of software agents and bots is used to our advantage. It is used to reinstate the poetry and the magic of the image.