Photos are being projected on a surface, embedded in a table-like installation. The photos are randomly scattered as if thrown on a desk, some seem to be further away from the surface than others. There is also a prism-like object which a user can pick up and move across the images.

Placed over an photo for some time, rays of light gradually start to appear from its center which project other photos when they hit the sides of the table. When the prism is rotated, the projected images move across the sides, gaining in width at some points and becoming mere slits at others.

These projected images are actually the photos that were taken in the very same moment as the photo which the prism is currently being placed over.In addition to the visual information, digital images contain precise information about the photo's origin in the stream of time. Blinks uses this information and, as if time would run vertically through space, horizontally refracts the original moment into different photos of that very moment.

Refracting time
Employing a metaphor similar to the way in which a prism breaks up visible light into different colors, it breaks up time itself, making visible what happened elsewhere in the very same instant. How the other photos are being projected also incorporates an extent of information about where they are coming from: a specific photo will be the widest when it is in the area which corresponds to its timezone since the 360-degree-radius around the prism represents our system of twenty-four timezones.

A user can not only interact with the photos that were already present, but also add new ones to the column of moments inside the installation. Using a bluetooth connection, it is possible to upload an image from the memory of a phone or camera.

When the transmission is complete, the photos on the table vertically re-arrange themselves, depending on the temporal distance between them and the newly uploaded moment. Blinks doesn't just display the other images, it rather wants to create an ephemeral impression which is meant to fuel the user's imagination about that other.

The photos on the surface are being projected from above. Below that surface is a camera which tracks the position of the prism, a source of infrared light, a second projector, several mirrors and a computer which is running custom software written in Processing and PHP.

When a user uploads a new photo via bluetooth, the software instantly analyzes the metadata of the photo and starts to search on Flickr for other images that come from the same moment. Once the first photo has been found and processed, usually after a few seconds, the projector inside the installation creates a ray on the surface and the other photo at the far end of the ray, deflected by mirrors to the (vertical) side of the table.

The more photos Blinks finds, the more rays appear. The prism can be manipulated all the time. Horizontal movement pans over the displayed photos while rotating makes it possible to explore photos that come from different timezones.

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