Announcing the release of Perpetual.portrait by Garrett Lynch:

Perpetual.portrait was photographed during 2003 and completed as a 
gallery piece for the inaugural exhibition "Renewal 1868/2004" at the 
Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury, England.  It has recently been 
completed as an online work.  Below is a text concerning the work.  On 
the site is further documentation concerning the differences between 
the gallery and online versions alongside the online work.

Requirements: Shockwave player version 10+ (users with intel macs 
please make sure your browser is open using Rosetta, see here for more 
a sound card with headphones or speakers, access privileges to your 
computer (Perpetual.portrait writes preference files to your system), a 
reasonably fast computer with not too many background applications 


"How sad it is!" murmured Dorian Gray with his eyes still fixed upon 
his own portrait. "How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and 
dreadful. But this picture will remain always young. It will never be 
older than this particular day of June. . . . If it were only the other 
way! If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was 
to grow old! For that--for that--I would give everything! Yes, there is 
nothing in the whole world I would not give! I would give my soul for 

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Perpetual.portrait is a work inspired by Oscar Wilde's The Picture of 
Dorian Gray. It is an automated, self-perpetuating, portrait 
application created to be distributed and viewed in two ways, as a 
gallery piece and an online piece.

The Picture of Dorian Gray tells of the transference of sin from the 
subject of a portrait, Dorian, to his portrait. The suggestion is that 
the gaze of Dorian adds to the accumulation of sin in the portrait. By 
staring his actions in the face he confronts his own deeds and sees his 
true self as no mirror could reflect it. By studying his portrait he 
destroys it, distorting himself. The story culminates with the death of 
Dorian and the discovery of his body next to view the portrait, Dorian 
horribly disfigured while his portrait is as fresh as the day it was 

A digital photographic portrait was taken daily for the period of one 
year. The photographs measure exactly 320 pixels wide by 270 pixels 
high, giving an equivalent to the amount of seconds in a day. The 
complete collection of digital photographs represents a calendar year, 
a single photograph a day and each pixel of each photograph a second of 
that day. The photographs become more than simply representational 
forms, they are transformed into a database of information which can be 
copied / pasted / modified / deleted / broken down and manipulated as 
required. Collectively they form a documentation of change as seen in 
the artists face. Aging, health, mood, state of mind are all recorded.

Perpetual.portrait, the application, uses these photographs, this 
database, as its source to assemble the portrait. For any given day it 
uses the corresponding photograph and updates it pixel by pixel until 
midnight, when it becomes the photograph for the next day. Each version 
of the application evolves uniquely with time for the viewer / user who 
observes it. Starting from the same series of photographs it becomes a 
unique portrait, reflecting the gaze of each and every viewer / user 
and their time watching it. Their presence, their gaze, their 
connection contributes to the fragmentation of the portrait and further 
diffusion via the network.

Perpetual.portrait is both an ideal portrait and an anti-portrait. As 
an ideal portrait, it continually modifies itself to reflect change in 
the subject. It is no longer the impression of a subject at any one 
given moment but instead displays samplings of all and every possible 
moment, every possible permutation. As an anti-portrait the subject is 
in a continual state of degradation, the face is continually eroded 
away, the image continually polluted, corrupted. While the concept of 
'digital' typically evokes ideas of longevity and one of the primary 
shortcomings of traditional arts is preservation, here the technology 
purposefully assists in the deterioration of the work to keep it in 
constant flux.


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