Elizabeth Wright - 

Involuntary Works

‘Involuntary Works’ was a term first used by the 20th century Surrealist photographer Brassaï, referring to the use and manipulation of everyday objects, such as bus tickets and bread rolls; photographed in extreme close up to monumentalize the act of human unconscious play. Here, both the act of selection and framing through the camera lens initiated a process whereby the focused objects, become ‘involuntary’ photographic sculptures (as seen in the magazine Minotaure1).
By using an archeological and conservational non-invasive visual scanning method, ‘Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI)’, the shift from analogue capture to digital, provides greater surface detail, whereby the non-visible information of an object can be seen. The alignment of what was once hidden: traces, indentations and marks, provides, an alternative navigation of the object. For Brassai extreme close up photography provided a photo-sculpting tool, for making visible unconscious production. Whilst for the ‘Involuntary Works’ made with the RTI process, the screen subsumes this ‘photo-sculpting tool’, as the viewer, now navigates the surface depth of the captured object through its interface.

Involuntary Work - Dell Laptop

A Dell laptop computer is displayed on a wooden post in front of the Creekside Discovery Centre, having been removed from the River Ravensbourne at Deptford Creek London. One of the many river flotsam including: stolen wallets, shopping trolleys, mobile phones and other digital devices, that form part of the ‘found object’ displays located both within and outside the Centre.

Formerly the ‘latest’ model, the Dell laptop’s defining design features, eroded by its submerged life in the Ravensbourne; once leads and external hard-drives would have appendage, now they are replaced by crustaceans, algae, moss and sand.  To make an ‘Involuntary Work’ from the Dell laptop, an RTI capture of this stage of the entropic process is taken, resulting in the formation of two distinctly different processes; from this stage forward, the material form of the, laptop will de-compose. As digital data, the RTI facsimile, flows ad-infinitum at

1Brassaï's photographs of Involuntary Sculptures were published in number 3-4 of Minotaure; the magazine was published between 1933 and 1939.