BITS OF US
Since its invention by Kodak in 1888, the camera has been the family’s primary instrument of self-representation. Yet, despite enormous changes in the institution of family itself and the speed and simplicity of digital capture in the 21st century, pictorial conventions of family imaging have not been significantly altered since paintings from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The gap between lived reality and a perceived ideal in visual representations of parents and children, siblings, lovers and extended families essentially continues to grow wider. Enabling communication with images, BITS OF US extends the 21c family stamp in an organic film that continually morphs and grows.
The recognition of family in photography elicits an affiliative look, the ‘familial gaze,’ through which the image is adopted into the viewer’s own family narrative. Family photography can thus be either idealized or revelatory, or both, as it links private memory to collective history.
BITS OF US is a realtime online collaborative video editing platform for participants to juxtapose their family photo or video with the images of others to generate a collective family film that continually morphs and expands, in realtime on home computer screens and in on-site museum installations.* It is a an ever-evolving collective family film with no beginning, middle or end.The shape and architecture of the film emerge from themes that grow within the film itself, similar to an endless scrabble game of visual associations.
The project was researched 2012-2014*, having an advisory board of scholars including Marianne Hirsch, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and author of “The Familial Gaze”; Eric Maskin, Professor of Economics and Mathematics at Harvard University and Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics for work on Game Theory; Mark Dredze, Associate Professor in Computer Scientist at Johns Hopkins University; and Beryl Korot, internationally known video artist who has created multimonitor installations shown world-wide, and an early video art pioneer.
Cindy Konits 2022