Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Jonathan Harris's Whale Hunt

Jonathan Harris is an artist who works out of Brooklyn, New York. He combines anthropology and computer science to tell stories and explore human experiences. He recently went to Alaska to document the hunt of Bowhead Whales by Inupiat Eskimos, by taking photographs at specific times throughout the trip:

"I documented the entire experience with a plodding sequence of 3,214 photographs, beginning with the taxi ride to Newark airport, and ending with the butchering of the second whale, seven days later. The photographs were taken at five-minute intervals, even while sleeping (using a chronometer), establishing a constant “photographic heartbeat”. In moments of high adrenaline, this photographic heartbeat would quicken (to a maximum rate of 37 pictures in five minutes while the first whale was being cut up), mimicking the changing pace of my own heartbeat."

The photos themselves are fantastic, however its the system that he has designed for us to view his trip that is most special. You can choose 3 different ways of navigating the story (the mosaic version is really satisfying as a user) and the timeline that has been put in place manages to heighten the experience.

Go to thewhalehunt.org and a good old look, its really well thought out project and i for one have found myself drifting back more than once. Johnathan also has his own site number27.org which has details of his previous work.

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