A Contemporary Self-Portrait

Visually exploring JPG's compression algorithm

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Recently, the self-portrait has been adapted, re- or misused by the public as the “selfie”. Former usual self-portraits have been static and commonly been painted, drawn or photographed. Instead of the natural fade and decay of colours, this generative experiment aims to implement a non-analog way of alteration over time by visually exploring a commonly used lossy compression algorithm.

A portrait is redundantly being compressed. During this process information gets lost. Compression might further be understood as a digital version of aging. Since the generative process is theoretically infinite, we get endless variations of the up to date static self-portrait. One might call it an aging or generative selfie.

The videos below show different takes of the custom-built process. At the beginning, we look at a picture after every few compression steps and later on after every 500 compressions. Video one shows the result of 100 000 cumulative compressions applied to the same image, video two shows the process of 241 500 individual compressions with different variables.

Our take on a contemporary, generative self-portrait.

Design, Software Development: Moritz Resl

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