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Waves of Nena



Photographic Installation and gif


Nena was raised in Ontario and I imagine that, in this photograph, she is swimming in the ocean for, perhaps, the first time in her life—it is her taut expression and that the waves seem about to overtake her. I assume that the picture was taken at Maracas Bay on the north coast of Trinidad sometime in the 1940s. I have felt those waves too and, for us Ontario lake-women, the water at Maracas is surprisingly aggressive. The original film slide no longer exists, only a degraded JPEG remains. In its absence, I attempted to reverse the process of encoding that this image had been subjected to by sending it back into an analogue format, using 4K, Hi8, CRT, and 35mm film. Perhaps it is my grief that has driven me to reverse-engineer the image, to try to get back some information that was lost in conversion. I wanted to suspend the moment captured, to bring her back into the waves in the only way I could, by sending her image through modulated or ‘wave-like’ signals, instead of that deadening OFF or ON of the digital binary. Although the image changed rapidly through this process, I found comfort in the persistent glow on the screen, a circle of light that seemed to fade and reappear in spite of the dissenting technologies.



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