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Andrew Pepper

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One Million Points of Light

One Million Points of Light was launched at the Broadway Media Centre, Nottingham, England, on 3rd February 2006 as part of a presentation given by Andrew Pepper about artists working with creative holography and his own activities in the filed.

This Internet based project invited a possible ten thousand participants to select pixels on a web page, choose a colour and then "switch" on their block of virtual light. Participants were also able to include their name, location and a link to either their own web site or one they found interesting.

The resulting 'image', made up of multiple blocks of light , developed over four years,  and produced a network of connections from thousands of collaborators in over 120 locations.  The abstract, online, image also constructed a 'catalogue' of links to web sites around the world and is forming the raw, visual data for a future hologram and gallery installation.

The project used software and structures normally associated with Internet advertising.

In 2005 Alex Tew, a business student in the UK, set up a web site so that he could sell each of the pixels on his page to advertisers for $1.00 each with the offer to "own a piece of Internet history"! In return those advertiser were able to place an image (often a company logo) in the pixels they purchased.  Ridiculous as this appeared, each pixel being too small to make a logo visible, companies purchased multiple 'blocks' to make their corporate image visible, paying several hundred dollars each for the opportunity.

 

Tew made over a million dollars in 5 months and started a 'gold rush' on the internet. There were numerous sites selling advertising space and trying to duplicate Tew's success. A new 'mini' industry developed to provide 'turn-key' pixel advertising software.

One Million Points of Light took advantage of these readily available programmes to explore a visual, none advertising, model.  It disrupted and adjusted the software to prohibit the inclusion of corporate or advertising images - allowing only the choice of a carefully selected palette of colours taken from one of Andrew Pepper's early reflection holograms.

Through launching this project Pepper hoped to examine if it was possible to 'sell' light and, at the same time build a collaborative visual statement produced via a global network of individuals who never actually met or communicated?

An unstated aim, but one which underpinned the project, was to begin with these very specific colours taken from an actual hologram, made up of light 'taken' from a virtual (holographic) image.  After being processed by the web-based project and its many collaborators, the resulting online image would be converted back into a holographic (virtual) image completing a visual, conceptual and physical cycle.

The project was self funding and used income generated by the sale of these small blocks of coloured light to administer the site, maintain the servers on which it ran and, at a later date, produce a hologram and gallery installation.

The collection of luminous 'points'  on the original website is now complete and the site has been decommissioned while its data and connections are being used in the production of the holographic element of the project. 

 

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About

Andrew Pepper works with projected light, holography and installation.  Based in the UK,  he has exhibited his work in group and solo exhibitions internationally and is a senior lecturer in fine art at Nottingham Trent University where he teaches into the BA (Hons) fine art course, the Master of Fine Art course and acts as a PhD examiner.

 

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