The Spectral Lens (Twenty-Six Stories from the Book Machine) (2012) is a visual poem featuring images photographed by Google book scanners through tissue paper. The scanner treats the tissue paper as a “valid” page in the book and scans it as it would any page, capturing the image (or text) behind it. The images are degraded in various ways, depending on the texture and opacity of the vellum. Rips or folds in the tissue are sometimes captured.

The images are “mistakes”—visual information that might normally be corrected or removed by bots. Instead, the errors remain as permanent additions to the Google Books library, forever altering the viewer’s perception of the work.

I search for these mistakes and treat them as found photography. My screencaptures expose deviations in the algorithms hiding deep within the archive.

The Spectral Lens is at once the glass eye of the book machine and its faceless human operator; it is also the lens-less “camera” of my computer.

The Spectral Lens launched at Offprint Paris, November 2012.

8 in. x 10 in.
140 pages + cover
Digital color print-on-demand
Perfect binding
Open edition