The experimenter is not one person, but a composite.Alan Thorndike[1]

A composite is created by the composition of at least two components. The result is more that just the sum of its discrete components. But the components as well transform by its interrelations to composites.

Human composite

Vilém Flusser speaks about the human individual as a kind of composite in his late unfinished book “From Subject to Project: Becoming Human.”. In this approach the individual is conceived as a node in intersubjective network of human relationships. „Da wir uns nicht mehr identifizieren können, beginnen wir uns als Knotenpunkte eines dialogischen Netzes und dieses intersubjektive Netz als ein Relationsfeld hinzunehmen, von dem aus auf andere Felder Projektionen entworfen werden, wobei sich hinterrücks diese Felder wieder mit dem projektierenden vernetzen.“[2]
With regards to an atmospheric cohabition of man and machines Peter Sloterdijk refered in an interview to Deleuze. The German philosopher asserted that in this case “we should speak about agents instead of subjects.” (interview).

Pictorial composites

There exist various concepts in the sciences to compose pictorial composites, e.g.:

- Early botanical illustrations of plants join sometimes different seasonal stage of specimen (flower, froot) in one and the same picture.
- In the second half of 19th century people like Francis Galton or Arthur Batut began to make composite portraits superposing images from various individuals.
- Computertomographic reconstruction methods compose images from X-ray data.

de la famille Batut

In the arts composite techniques are used as well:

Hiroshi Sugimoto's Cabot Street Cinema, Massachusetts, 1978. In the Theater series Sugimoto made long time exposures in old cinemas for the duration of the shown movies. In that way the bright screens represent the time-compressed movies.

Nancy Bursons Warhead I (55% Reagan, 45% Brezhnev, less than 1% each of Thatcher, Mitterand, and Deng), 1982

Jim Campbell's Illuminated Average #1 is the composite of "Hitchcock's Psycho". The entire frames of the 1 hours and 50 minutes are joind in just one single image. Lightbox with Duratrans print, 30" x 18", 2000.

Natalie Czech's Blattschnitte are composites of 3 layers of aerial photographs made every 5 years by the land surveying office of North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany. Edition of lamda prints, 2002

Andreas Gefeller's Supervisions are composed and puzzled of single small photographs taken with a digital camera looking to the floor. o.T. (Plattenbau 1+2), , 2004

Hiroyuki Masuyama recomposes from various single photographs virtual landscapes. Time often is compressed in his work as well: The four seasons are joined in a piece of lane or an intercontinental flight results in a long continous picture band. In his latest works he recomposes paintings by Caspar David Friedrich.

composite landscape by Hiroyuki Masuyama: Paris - Beirut, 2005, Light Box, 30 x 250 x 13cm.

Timebased composites

Der Weg: Video by Hiroyuki Masuyama. From January 1 through December 31, 2001, the artist took a photograph on the same path every day. He made also compositve movie animating portraits from his childhood till today.
In the dvd "The laughing of Münster" Oliver Held joined video portraits of 50 laughing women and 50 laughing men from the city of Münster in a female and a male composite movie (2000).

Me. In this experimental video Ahree Lee started in November of 2001 to take a picture of herself every day and to join the images in a movie.


Flusser Files by Claudia Klinger
Projektieren und Entwerfen mit V. Flusser - German abstract from Subject to Project

[1] Galison, Peter: Image and Logic, Cambridge p. 431.
[2] Flusser, Vilém: Vom Subjekt zum Projekt. Menschwerdung, Bernsheim-Düsseldorf 1994, p. 26.