Stratotype digital-ien is an autonomous computer program (a bot) that randomly recomposes images of the Quebec landscape. The function of this mechanism, available on stratotype.ca, is to transform images taken by Gagné and collected from individuals. To the original photographs, the bot adds excerpts of geomorphologically similar images found on Google Image. The remixed image is archived and indexed on the network in an effort to ensure the perpetuity and diversity of memories of the Quebec landscape. The landscapes reconstructed by the bot will enrich and challenge the state of the natural and collective patrimony as it creates a new generation of images.
The modified images will create unusual visual occurrences of Quebec territory on the web and in search engines, generating a new layer of digital data. This desire to produce a new stratification of data inspired the title of the project, Stratotype digital—ien. In geology, a stratotype is a junction between two fossiliferous stata that serves as a reference point for determining a given period. The Stratotype digital—ien bot will act as an intermediary between two strata of digital information. Unlike its geological counterpart, rather than defining a time scale it will make a connection between two digital states of an image: the first state corresponding to the physical appearance of a Quebec natural landscape, and the second state – intermediary, transformed – showing the digital image made by the bot.
Gagné began to gather images from the public when she was in residence at the Rencontres internationales de la photographie en Gaspésie in August 2017. Her research is being presented in a solo exhibition at TOPO - Laboratoire d’écriture numérique art center, in Montreal, from September 8 to October 7, 2017, and shown simultaneously at Vaste et Vague art center in Gaspesie.
The project will conclude with a solo exhibition at the 9th edition of the Rencontres internationales de la photographie en Gaspésie in 2018. After this period, Gagné desire is to translate the platform and open it to all Canadian provinces and internationally.