For the past 15 years, from his studio in Zurich, Kurt Caviezel has been monitoring 15,000 publicly accessible webcams located all over the world. By taking screenshots of any situation he found interesting he compiled an archive of more than 3 million images, categorizing them for recurring patterns and subjects. This encyclopedia is comprised of a small part of his archive. The dust jacket of the book contains all 15,000 web-links used by Kurt Caviezel to create this body of work.
From the foreword by Joachim Schmid:
“Through years of camera surveillance, the artist has compiled a virtually unreal amount of images, which have all been harvested from webcams. The quantity of images is of crucial importance here, because quantity (as is the case with many collections of things) at some point turns into quality. Only abundance enables the detection of recurring patterns. May the single image be just funny or banal or vacuous, in a series of similar ones it becomes a building block of knowledge. By sequencing kindred images, Caviezel makes order emerge from the torrent of images.
His typological arrays structure events in front of the camera. Patterns start looming in the continuous, amorphous stream of single images, in the events before a single camera as much as in those before multiple cameras, which are operated independently and no one had thought of bringing together. No camera operator had ever intended something like this. For that, creatures of a different intelligence were required.
Every webcam was installed based on an idea, following an intention; and some cameras even serve a purpose. But all those ideas, intentions and purposes become secondary once one takes a look at the synopsis of all the images produced. Carefully selected and arranged, the encyclopedia of automated vision unveils the unforeseen visual surplus drawn by Caviezel from the endless stream of images, which constantly emerge and immediately vanish.”
© Kurt Caviezel, 16x24cm, 416 pages, hardcover, images by Kurt Caviezel, foreword by Joachim Schmid, curated by Nicoló Degiorgis, editing by Rorhof, foto-forum, design by Nicoló Degiorgis and Walter Hutton, first edition, 2015