The Volca Project: a Sensory Experiment in Collaborative Visualisation

The Volca project is a speculative photography research project that is in parts a proposal, a sensory experiment and also continual work in progress. Volca is an experimental camera apparatus for recording what Flusser [7, 8] would term ’technical images’, that is, images produced by machines or technical processes. It’s design is to deliberately open the discussion of what it is to be photographer, or collaborator or even facilitator of a complex apparatus with a discrete system at it’s core. A system that extends beyond the physical body of the device and reaches into the heart of our human culture of creation, consumption, reflection, storytelling and the active shaping of our identity and self image. The Camera is seen as a collaborative apparatus, as the camera has ’possibility’ encoded into it. The photographer or ’facilitator’ of the apparatus selects one of these possibilities in a collaborative process with the apparatus, and the program of image production encoded within it. The project has several separate aspects dealing with hardware, software, interaction design and media and photographic theory. The making, distribution, display and consumption of these new speculative photographs is a vital part of the investigation of what can be considered the system of photography. A system where camera and photographer are only a small part of the philosophical whole. This paper and the body of work it describes is aimed at a discussion of what it is to engage with speculative design and what the notion of speculative photography may be.