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Low Resolution Prophecy is a site-specific installation created for Waterloo Public Library in collaboration with Mary Allen Studio Tour and LUMEN. Its source image is a pixelated version of a Medieval manuscript illumination, the pixels of which are superimposed onto the Robert Fagles translation of The Odyssey. The work plays with the multiple meanings of “illumination”. As well as referring to the act of lighting something, “illumination” references the art of illuminating a manuscript. The word also refers to the moment where things begin to make sense, or a narrative is “illuminated”.

On the night of LUMEN festival, the work was illuminated with projections of computer-generated fortunes.


The work is a collaboration between digital and analog media. Illuminations that were done by hand are translated into low-resolution versions of themselves. Prophecies are generated by a computer instead of a person. Illumination and prophecy – both of which have spiritual, rich histories, live on in our technology but are also turned into poor reproductions of themselves. In a way, this is disappointing. But it is also quite beautiful that while we accuse new media of killing older media, it is also what keeps it going and disseminates it to a wider audience than it would have otherwise had. Perhaps a loss of resolution is the price we pay.

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