Im/Possible Images

Rosa Menkman (NL)


Imagine you could obtain an ‘impossible’ image of any object or phenomenon that you think is important, with no limits on spatial, temporal, energy, signal/noise, or cost resolutions. What image would you create? (the answer can be a hypothetical image of course!)

Credit: Rosa Menkman

This was the question I asked every scientist I spoke to during my Arts at CERN/Collide Barcelona residency. Not to source impossibility, but rather to find the types of affordances that draw lines between what is possible and what is impossible.
The BLOB (Binary Large OBject) gives a home to the collection of Im/Possible images that all together illustrate the concept of the impossible image and the relationships between affordance, resolution, and compromise. As different Axes of Affordance cut the BLOB, they define what is possible to resolve, and what images are compromised, or in other words, will never be rendered. While normally these compromised images would never find their way to our eyes, the hypothetical realms of the BLOB offer pasture to these impossible renders.


Artist: Rosa Menkman
With support from: CERN, City of Barcelona, HEK Basel, Lothringer 13 München


Rosa Menkman (NL) is a Dutch artist and researcher. Her work focuses on noise artifacts that result from accidents in both analogue and digital media. These artifacts can offer precious insights into the otherwise obscure alchemy of standardization and resolution setting. In 2019 Menkman won the Collide, Arts at CERN Barcelona award, which inspired her recent research into im/possible images. In this research she aims to find new ways to understand, use, and perceive through and with our technologies.