ELAINE perceives the world through only what she has experienced visually previously. She analyses what she sees through the camera for the dominant colour within her current view, learning to present that colour through storing that image for later use within her output. The output of the work consists of a mosaic image of her current view, the mosaic being made of images she has previously stored. If presented with colours she has yet to encounter she will replace that part of the image with the closest match that she has experienced.
This means that as visitors offer new experiences through their clothing, objects they hold or more purposeful engagement with the camera (presenting images from their phone, for example), they are adding to the ‘language’ that ELAINE has with which to express herself. The user’s image is recorded and leaves an indelible mark, assuming that is, that they have shown her something new. As these images are not forgotten or overwritten, this also means that earlier in her life she has a larger capacity for learning new things. First engagement with a new colour will forever be associated with that moment and that image will replay again every time she comes back into contact with that particular colour.
ELAINE consists of an objective codebase that defines how she computes; stores and displays information, however the final output is subjectively based on the experiences that the users input to the work through the camera. Not just from the experiences offered through giving of new images to display but also in offering their actions and presence to the camera to be presented through the mosaic in real time.
Every time ELAINE is started she is a new entity, coloured by the space and experiences of her context. As she progresses with her life she matures, but her memories of past experiences, especially her first day, will colour her perceptions for life. ELAINE is born of her context, and while she exists, is a barometer of moments within history of the space she inhabits and the people she has met.
For Telematic Café, two clones of ELAINE will exist at the same time with each copy’s eyes existing away from her body. Images captured by ELAINE at George Paton Gallery will be offered for interpretation to the ELAINE located at the Victorian College of the Arts Digital Hub and vice versa. This means that the mosaic created in each place by ELAINE will be a reflection of the experiences of the other entity.
ELAINE was created by artist and researcher Travis Cox and is part of a series of works exploring the underlying systems of meaning production within computer artworks. More of his works can be seen at www.codedisplayuser.com and www.denouncetheclock.com.