Exclusively released for Sedition, CELLS is a new collection of three works in continuation from Domenico Barra’s ongoing and collaborative Bioglitchy series - a project studying glitch distortion in image files after applying compression and manipulation using software.
Made in collaboration with biotechnology researcher Anna Spina, the aim of the new CELLS project was to bring together imagery from a scientific research method like immunofluorescence, and a glitch art technique such as databending. Here, Barra attempts to juxtapose the approaches by digitally manipulating images from Spina’s staining research, as both entail the study of the structure and behaviour of elementary organic and digital matter, with the common goal of revealing what is unseen to the human eye.
The original images show biological cells under immunofluorescence staining, whereby this technique highlights the structures in tissues, enhancing colour contrast in the microscopic image with the use of dyes. By revealing the presence of specific compounds in a biochemical reaction, it is a highly specific method for detecting proteins present in a section of tissue or cells. Antibodies with fluorescent molecules appear only if it recognises the specific protein, emitting a fluorescent signal under a microscope.
Meanwhile, databending in glitch art, is the operation of reacting with and manipulating the data contained inside digital images. The original images are glitched so as to alter the actual state of the image’s ‘internal skeleton’ and the structures by which its pixels are sorted. The process uses various computer applications not designed for image editing, such as hex editors and music software, to add, substitute or delete the data that constitutes a specific image digital file and let the software itself reallocate the new data and render a new image from them.
For the works that form the CELLS triptych, the image file formats were converted, glitched and saved in this sequence:
Cells 1: .png - .jpg2000 - .rgb - .tga - .rgb - .vst - .psd - .cin - .iff - .pdf - .cin - .pdf - .iff - .vst - .cin - .vst - .jpg2000 - .png
Cells 2: .tif - .tga - .tif - .jpg - .tif - .pdf - .iff - .vst - .cin - .jpg2000 - .ldf - .vst - .jpg2000 - .rgb - .png
Cells 3: .tif - .jpg2000 - .tga - .vst - .iff - .pdf - .tga - .bmp - .ldf - .cif - .rgb - .jpf - .jpg2000 - .tif - .png