Continuing the Render Search in the real world, in October of 2013 I travelled to New Mexico in search of the Render Ghosts, posting wanted notices and newspaper appeals, and travelling with a couple of figures through the desert to Los Alamos.
In late 2013 I found myself standing in front of the house. I had gone to Albuquerque to find the Render Ghosts, to ask them: what does it feel like? To become a part of the network, for your image, a part of your self, to be separate from you and have this other life, endlessly reproduced, endlessly pixelated. Would it be a shock, or a pleasant surprise – even an adventure? (German law, which has some of the highest protections of personal privacy in the world, contains the provision for Verpixelungsrecht: the right to be pixelated. I do not know or understand the legal rights of the Render Ghosts, if, after all this time, they still possess them.) I took out classifieds in the local newspaper and ran Facebook ads against the appropriate demographics: “Do you recognise this person?” I tacked up photocopied flyers to telegraph poles and the cork noticeboards in local cafés. People told me I was looking in the wrong place: these people weren’t New Mexicans; they had different styles, different clothes, attitudes, racial characteristics. The same week, I found more business records, showing that the company had relocated to Albuquerque a couple of years after the photos were taken. I was in the wrong place, out in the desert, under wide blue gradient skies and a bright sun which cast hard, pixel-perfect shadows, no blur to them, like you could just step through into a purely rendered world, a domain of pure form. I felt like I had myself walked into a visualisation.