Across the web there are a number of sites, such as Shutterstock, providing royalty free stock images available for purchase and use. However, I was shocked to find a
number of computer simulations of the deeply tragic and horrific 9-11, available for sale at quite extortionate prices. For £54 you can buy 18 seconds of inaccurate
computer simulation. I found the notion of monetising such a tragic event through simulation, to be deeply questionable, and raises many questions surrounding the
distribution/use of simulations and data. Not only is it ethically questionable but it is also inaccurate footage. The simulation which is presented is no longer an image
of remembrance but an image of digital commercialism.
I believe this to be a shocking example of the pressing contemporary issues with the transference and selling of data which is ingrained within our digital society. Not only is our personal information hoarded, distributed and sold for advertising through social media and tracking cookies, but tragic society changing events such as 9-11 are simulated, distributed and sold too.
‘Simulate to Sell’ is a response to this. The audience enters an interactive 3D space, where every object and texture has been created from the simulated 9-11 stock imagery. I am interested in the fluidity of the image, that its meaning and truth are malleable elements.
“The digital photograph once uploaded into the computer is not an end point but the beginning of process which can see the image totally detached from its subject and truth.” Peter Lunenfeld (2000) Snap to Grid, MIT. 'Simulate to Sell' is also an attempt to reclaim the image’s original meaning and atmosphere, returning it to the deep sadness that it should emit, rather then the digital commercialism that the Shutterstock image displays.
'Simulate to Sell' was exhibited in Vector Festival's 2017 flagship exhibition 'Pattern Recognition' at InterAccess, Toronto, 14th July - 12th August 2017
(Exhibition images taken by Natalie Logan)