Interment Of Nowhere To Be Found
By Jan Wojda & Emir Karyo
In this work Jan Wojda and Emir Karyo explore the parallel relationships between the sensitivity of data-storage and missing persons. Both leave trace artefacts behind that function as tributes and final evidence of people being alive and not having been forgotten.
This work is based on a collection of 1648 carefully scraped images found on the platform of the International Center For Unidentified & Missing Persons
. The collection contains data focused on finding people that are lost or unidentified. Updates of these cases contain physical descriptions, personal items, circumstances of disappearance supported by original photographs and reconstructed age-progressed images. The more recent images appears in different techniques in comparison to the older ones. The technological development on investigation and identification offers new possibilities for re-creations.
While these images are being reprocessed some things disappear, both intentionally and unintentionally, while other things start to bond between the changing pixels. This process starts a loop of re-interpreted images as the transforming cycle takes off.
It was a Friday afternoon when the two designers were surfing through the backfields of the internet, and their paths crossed with an image archive on doenetwork.org that is updated daily and aims to collect and store data from missing persons cases that are still waiting to be closed.
Working with the title Digital Debris gave birth to dilemmas about its possible representation. The negative connotation this creates can be directly linked to the designers' site of understanding. While their own image archives (stored on their phones) were getting more and more overwhelming, some other archives were also growing independently. This observation opened up a space for a research interest and new possible sites of an explanation. The designers proposed the research question: How can image values be redefined? What kind of relations are to be found between digital data and its materiality? These questions lead to a speculative narrative to summarise their observations and perspectives in a more metaphorical way:
Humans may be represented as a building's main construction and all the images and objects that are created about a person may be seen as the balcony, mosaics or other external additions to the building.
In cases where the construction (its core) is missing, all of the pieces that were previously connected become a pile of debris thats fallen to the ground.
Debris appears in contrast to its associations: not as useless trash, but a memorial of artefacts. This memorial plays a very important role as analysing debris can lend definition to a missing core or the construction that is no longer present.
Mosaics collected from this fallen debris become a representation of small parts constructing a bigger image, forming the primary tool of expression in our process.
 International Center For Unidentified & Missing Persons. www.doenetwork.org
 LensCulture, Ziyah Gafic |. “Quest for Identity - Photographs and Text by Ziyah Gafic.” LensCulture, www.lensculture.com/articles/ziyah-gafic-quest-for-identity.
 Waters, Michael, “Death as Entertainment at the Paris Morgue.” Atlas Obscura, Atlas Obscura, 29 Oct. 2019, www.atlasobscura.com/articles/paris-morgue-public-viewing.
 Chen, Aron, “This AI Might Take Over the Jobs of Police Sketch Artists.” PingWest, en.pingwest.com/a/7039.
 myfoxla, “'America's Most Wanted' Returns to FOX 11.” YouTube, YouTube, 15 Mar. 2021, www.youtube.com/watch?v=J__LoaI7-sA.
Data was manually collected and curated from http://www.doenetwork.org in the form of JPEG image files.
Prototypes & Experiments
All these images and datasets are stored in mechanical or metal constructions, known as data centres. Access to all this digital debris is possible only via electrical power. In relation to these fundamental characteristics, it was proposed to produce an image-monument, using the power of electrical current, such as etching on metal. Each print is created with multiple variations of experimentation in order to find new possibilities between the mediums of image transfer, metal, etching and epoxy.
For the digital creation of images, a reprocessing technique is developed that is supported by artificial intelligence and manual manipulation in order to create the final result.
As a final outcome, the exhibition setup offers six mixed-media prints and a video in context of a spatial installation. The details in print invite the viewer to apply their own investigation as a form of contributing to the whole process.