Pique Nique pour les Inconnues :: The CHORUS VERSION (2019-2020)

Menkman considers the ways in which the history of technology has been defined by standardization, in particular through the use of color test cards. The work presents les Inconnues - unknown women whose images are linked to the history of image processing. In this work, test cards, bots, virtual assistants, stock photos, and others find a voice but fail to recover their personhood. As Menkman states, “Engineers used these female objects to evaluate the quality of image processing, rendering and composition of architecture and to make these latent spaces more amicable. While these women seem to be able to prolong their existence for as long as the (digital) realms will copy and reuse them, most of them have lost their name and identity.” In this work, the viewer is haunted by the familiarity of these digital ghosts.

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Menkman's work focuses on noise artifacts that result from accidents in both analogue and digital media (such as glitch and encoding and feedback artifacts). The resulting artifacts of these accidents can facilitate an important insight into the otherwise obscure alchemy of standardization via resolutions. The standardization of resolutions is a process that generally imposes efficiency, order, and functionality on our technologies. It does not just involve the creation of protocols and solutions, but also entails the obfuscation of compromises and the black-boxing of alternative possibilities, which are as a result in the danger of staying forever unseen or even forgotten. Through her research, which is both practice-based and theoretical, she uncovers these anti-utopic, lost and unseen or simply "too good to be implemented" resolutions -- to produce new ways to use and perceive through, and with our technologies.