Φ – feed art

phi golden ratio parliament fight
A common reaction of these last years to the violence in particularly theatrical images from current events has been to place a spiral over them, in order to perform a fake ‚revealing‘ of their classical construction. Events as images as quasi-paintings. This spiral is of course the golden ratio, or Φ. What is happening here, is that the violent is made beautiful through pointing out order in a situation where order is seemingly falling apart. But in fact order is becoming obvious here, Barbara Kruger’s „You construct intricate rituals which allow you to touch the skin of other men“ was the better proto-meme from the 1980s for this.
barbara kruger rituals touch skin other men

But the Φ spiral gains a special potentiality on the feed. Users move along the feed, casually examining what passes by, a bit like passengers on a train looking out the window and non-reading the graffiti along the train line. The eye jumps from post to post, while the content scrolls. The spiral on and in the image is a counter movement to this. It guides the eye movement back into the feed, a bit like clickbait headlines want to draw you behind or beyond the feed. A contrast to the 1960s Yarbus study about eye-movements according to how tasks guide the visual search process when we encounter images. We search along the feed, and are derailed and led along a harmonic structure through an image. And the fact that we now all know the harmonic structure, the Φ spiral, helps to have us seduced.
Alfred Yarbus eye tracking

The Φ spiral is a very potent graffiti, it goes back beyond the lettrism of writing vandalism, back to the pure art of vandalism, the scratching of lines in walls. A spiral line is carved digitally in the images.

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This note on golden ratio spiral memes was written for the phi pavillon of the wrong biennale 2017.


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