Twin Pixel: How we got here


Twin Pixel is a work that came out of a conversation around the spectacle of Twin Peaks Season 3, Episode 8 by David Lynch and Mark Frost. Unexpectedly engaging with a work that had more in common with video art practice than televised drama in this way led us to question the context(s) in which we had experienced it: online/offline, laptop/TV, living room/bedroom, sofa/bed…

‘You’ll think you have experienced it, but you’ll be cheated. It’s such a sadness…’

(Inland Empire: Limited Edition Two-Disc Set, 2007).

… Which reminded us of the above quote from David Lynch about watching films on a telephone, and subsequently to consider the point at which Episode 8 was no longer Episode 8.

Streaming video and sound over the internet remains a problematic task for contemporary browsers and devices despite faster connection speeds, more powerful hardware and complex encoding/decoding optimisations. This process of compression in particular means that when experiencing streamed audiovisual content on any digital device, we are already ‘cheated’ by compromised versions of the content we are promised.

The roles of the technical in the aesthetics of contemporary cultural objects are often misunderstood. It seemed logical for us to explore digital representation at its limits of abstraction to better understand how computers deal with images and sounds at the moments we engage with them. Testing how these digital objects are affected by being sent through web protocols and related codecs has been our task to celebrate 30 years of the World Wide Web.

The original aim of Twin Pixel was to see what could be learned by re-presenting Episode 8 at something close to its most reduced scale: in two pixel resolution, with colour information reduced to the dominant hue of each side of the frame and sound reduced to the dominant sound frequency per frame. For ‘Vague but Exciting …’ we have taken the next logical step, re-engaging with Lynch’s point of contention, by developing a version that is live-streamed over the internet from Vivid Projects. The original pixels of Episode 8 are not part of Twin Pixel this time, but as part of this iteration designed for real-time interrogation, you might be.

Inland Empire: Limited Edition Two-Disc Set. (2007). [DVD] Directed by D. Lynch. Hollywood: Optimum Home Entertainment.

Some Tangents

Timeline of online video

A brief history of streaming media

Motion JPEG

H.264 vs MJPEG

Unraveling the JPEG


Periscope and Live Fixations Oscar Cass-Darweish (2017)

David Lynch on iPhone


Twin Pixel is project by Compiler

Thanks to Simon Crowe for helping out with the initial Twin Pixel code, and many other people we have borrowed from and shared ideas with.

A big thanks to Vivid Projects for supporting us to produce this live streaming version, and giving us the time and space to exhibit it.

Past Versions:

Every Dog Has Its Day

Facets + Highlights