QUANTIZATION IN MOTION visualizes the effects of pushing key components of JPEG compression (DCT) beyond an ideal state. This results in a stable glitch, making a transparent process opaque and demonstrates the rich set of aesthetics a digital image holds within.

This work technically began in 2008 while first investigating the effects of modifying the JPEG image header, specifically the quantization tables, while beginning my masters thesis, Precise Mishandling of the Digital Image Structure. This was first done with single images, followed by one early attempt to build all 256 possible hex variations from 1 of 64 offsets including all 15 frames of The Horse in Motion manually– however that study ended following a severe hard drive crash. In the end, HEADer_REMIX was built as a tool to enable one to explore and exploit this region amongst others within the JPEG header.

QUANTIZATION IN MOTION is a return to an interest in mapping out all visual possibilities from 64 quantization offset regions, each containing 255 byte variations*, across 15 frames of animation = 244,800 images. The images of each offset region have then been compiled into separate movie clips, showing the gradual transformation from ideal » extreme compression. This exercise in perverted pixel perfection wouldn't have been possible without a handful of amazing open source tools: [Processing, ImageMagick, tlassemble, FFmpeg, ddSlick].

I hope that this serves as a useful tool for the curious and gives the profound photography of Edward Muybridge a relevant home in our digital realm.

Ted Davis 2014