8 April – 14 May 2017

SITUATION #68: Constant Dullaart, Jennifer in Paradise, 2013

8 April – 14 May 2017

Jennifer_in_Paradise, restored digital image re-distributed online with steganographically encrypted message, 2013 © Constant Dullaart

“Jennifer in Paradise” was the first photograph that was included in and distributed with Adobe Photoshop, as a demonstration for the program’s capabilities in 1987. The photo was taken by the co-creator of the now ubiquitous software and shows his girlfriend Jennifer at the beach of Bora Bora. Although widespread at the time, the image has become hard to find. In Jennifer in Paradise, Constant Dullaart recovers this first photoshopped image in history, manipulates and redistributes it, making it widespread again. This artistic intervention is not just an archeological effort, though. Behind the placeholder image lie the initial ideals and promises of digital culture, embodied by the manipulation allowed by Photoshop. Jennifer in Paradise reveals the creative utopian vision behind tools that allowed free exchange and cultural expression in a world still unaware of surveillance and control of contemporary imaging systems. The photograph and its endless variations become a nostalgic ode to a historical moment and a reminder of the cultural hegemony hidden behind digital images. Finally the artist inscribes a secret visual message, encoded within the print through a steganographic encryption, exploiting the possibility for the visual placeholder to carry a message within it.

More by Constant Dullaart:

“A Letter to Jennifer Knoll”:

Cluster: Placeholder

Tags: appropriationdigitaldistributionhistorymanipulation, media-archeologyPhotoshopsteganography  

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