Artist's Statement

Lee Day

The TrainPans LA project extends the 'distressed compressions' photography I've been working on for several years with a new series from Greater Los Angeles.

I use the iPhone as a slit-scan camera affixed to the train as it travels on its routes through the region. An algorithmic window recording moments, connected-disjointed, flashing by in front of the lens. Each bit of time and place, reduced, compressed and stitched into a photograph by the phone's algorithms. Sometimes a hundred yards and a few seconds is captured, other times it is miles and minutes.

This technique intrigues me because the resulting work engages in a variety of ways. Algorithmically generated, the images can be dense and visually stimulating – exploring the physical compression of time and space. While on a conceptual level there is an interesting interplay between auteur and editor, the relationship between algorithmically generated art and the human editing the material - the code is agnostic in what it captures, the human eye gives it meaning.

The Los Angeles series highlights the effect that a place has on art produced there. L.A. is vast, arid and filled with open space, a contrast with the forested density of the North-East corridor where my earlier series was situated. The new work reflects this. The code has produced an overall calmer, less hectic outlook than what it found in the North-East and the editing reflects this observation.

These photos are directly recorded with the iPhone's panorama stitching algorithm and not manipulated except for cropping and color correction. The phone's algorithms have been commandeered to record a sweep of time through space though, rather than the intended scenic moments.