A Thousand Kisses Deep (2015) takes as its starting point photographs of couples kissing each other uploaded on Facebook and Instagram following recent countrywide protests against moral policing. Like the Kiss of Love demonstration in Kochi last year, these actions were met with violent opposition from various religious and political groups. The images that Charuau has collected then are not only displays of affection but also serve as testaments to the defiance of social norms.

Charuau has processed the photographs through an algorithm to determine the “energy” of each pixel, that is the relationship between a pixel and its neighbours in terms of how similar or different they are to each other. Used routinely in photo editing, Charuau deploys this tool out of an interest in the materiality of digital images, in speculating whether clusters of pixels contain something akin to energy. Can the charge of a movement for sexual liberation seep into the pixels of a digital image?

The algorithm that Charuau has devised treats each pixel as a unit of information, and uses this to create representations of the minute variations between pixels in any given image. The choice of colour and its intensity in the resulting abstracts has not been pre-determined. Thus, while Charuau’s process shares affinity with techniques of data visualization, the final output recalls microscopic images of crystals and their formation through self-organization.

A 1000 Kisses Deep #11

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