Artist and CSNI researcher Nicolas Malevé has written a computer script that cycles through ImageNet — a vast dataset of 14,197,122 photographs — at a speed of 90 milliseconds per image. To exhibit all images, this runs over a two month period (until 01 Sep 2019) as a live stream on the web and on the Media Wall at The Photographers Gallery. The script pauses at random points to enable the viewer to ‘see’ some of the images and how they are categorised, thus raising questions about the relation of scale between the overwhelming quantities of images needed to train algorithms and the human attention and labour required to annotate and categorise the images. Further notes on the project can be found here.
As outlined in a previous post on this blog, one of the core themes of the 2019 CSNI Summer School was collaborative research. The afternoon presentations and discussions included a few current research projects at CSNI, carried out in collaboration with arts organisations, including Rhizome, Serpentine Galleries, and the Triangle Network coordinated via Gasworks.
The opening talk for the afternoon presented an alternative look at how collaboration and research can be articulated, outside the academic context, through a focus on peer-to-peer networks, local communities, and radical friendships. Ruth Catlow, a writer, artist and founding co-director of Furtherfield, gave a talk on the multifaceted understanding of collaboration within the London-based arts organisation.
Based out of Finsbury Park, a public park in North London, Furtherfield has been operating at the intersection of global networked culture, local activism, art and technology, since the mid ’90s. The aims of the organization, as stated on the Furtherfield website, focus on the critical engagement with networks (both online and offline) and the development of a commons culture rooted in the philosophy of open source technology. But more than that, there is a distinctive emphasis on play and playfulness, a sensitivity to the (physical) locality of the organisation, and a view on collaboration that involves co-creation and joined imagining.
Catlow spoke about two distinct concepts developed in the context of “decentralising and commoning the arts” – DIWO (Do-It-With-Others) and radical friendships. The DIWO concept and approach was an evolution of the earlier DIY/punk aesthetic and ideology. Instead of an emphasis on individualism, however, DIWO privileges meaningful collaboration and cooperation. Catlow spoke about the first formal manifestation of DIWO as part of the Frutherfield programme – an exhibition of email art facilitated via an open call for submissions to the Netbehaviour email list in 2007. Every email submission became an artwork in the online exhibition and a part of the larger collective DIWO project. Extending the ethos of the DIWO approach, Catlow then spoke about conceiving Furtherfield as “a community of radical friends”. Radical friends become “partners” – engaged in building “living systems of care” and developing “theory, practice and transnational infrastructure for P2P, commons, and open cooperativism”. This way of framing collaboration and friendship in the context of infrastructures and networks poses a stark contrast to the common (ab)use of the term “friend” on corporate social media platforms. But it is also distinct from other frames of reference used to describe research partnerships for collaboration with/in communities or organisations.
Research within Furtherfield’s “decentralised commoning” framework operates across multiple levels. Unlike the more traditional academic paradigm of an individual post-graduate researcher being embedded in a community (or organisation) to produce a concrete artefact of knowledge in the end of a 3-4 year period – an artwork, a thesis, a publication – Furtherfield’s research initiatives operate on a many-to-many basis. Fieldwork, theory- and practice-building are developed throughout the year via an annual lab and three original project commissions per year, alongside numerous events, workshops, talks, and seminars bringing together project participants and producers, as well as the local community. Research is informed by and feeds into an intentionally accessible programme which addresses the ethical questions surrounding innovation and cooperation in natural (public parks), social (local communities) and networked (online) environments. There is a strong emphasis on participatory activities – aimed at engaging the public from the multi-ethnic, diverse neighbourhoods surrounding the park in North London, as well as the wider online audience.
Furtherfield’s current programme – Citizen Sci-Fi (2019–2021) – is concerned precisely with this idea of facilitating “crowdsourcing” wherein communities can envision together new public space futures. In the context of the 2019 theme of the programme – Time Portals – Catlow presented a new work by artist Elsa James, Circle of Blackness Hologram. The work commissioned to be broadcast as a hologram inside the Furtherfield Gallery, involved the artist conducting historical and ethnographic research in the local area in order to revisit the life of a historical black woman who lived in the area 150 years ago, and to then reimagine her life 150 years into the future. Catlow also discussed the projects Future Fictions and Jason and the Argonauts, as examples of artistic research into the needs of different local communities towards co-creating work that playfully speaks to current concerns while envisioning science-fiction stories together. The focus of these projects and the artwork commissions, as Catlow highlighted, is on the diverse activities and events – or “fieldwork” – that happens throughout the duration of the projects, and less so on final, fixed objects to be displayed in the gallery.
Besides presenting an innovative approach to what forms gallery exhibitions and art commissions can take, in order to be accessible and relevant to diverse communities, Catlow’s presentation of the work and vision of Furtherfield, also points to alternative strategies for conducting research, fieldwork and developing “theory and practice” within a radically collaborative model.
(Research and Development Project. Funded by Agencia Estatal de Investigación. Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness. Government of Spain) Principal investigator (PI): Juan Martín Prada. Universidad de Cádiz. (Spain)
Andrew Dewdney. The Centre for the Study of the Networked Image (CSNI). London South Bank University (LSBU).
Annet Dekker. Faculty of Humanities. Capaciteitsgroep Media & Cultuur. University of Amsterdam.
José Carlos Escaño. Universidad de Sevilla. (Spain)
Kepa Landa. Adjunt professor. Universidad Europea de Madrid. (Spain)
Ira Lombardía. Syracuse University (USA). College of Visual and Performing Arts.(USA) Virginia
Paniagua. MIDECIANT-CAAC. (Spain)
Henar Pérez. Universidad de Cádiz. (Spain)
Zara Rodríguez. Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. (Spain)
Remedios Zafra Alcaraz. Universidad de Sevilla. (Spain)
This project proposes the analysis of the impact that the Internet has had, and specifically “social media”, in the development of new artistic practices. To do so, it proposes an in-depth study of the relationship between art and the Internet from the consolidation of the so-called “web 2.0” to the present. The most recent phases of net art (mostly social media art) will be analyzed as well as those artistic manifestations that, without being online works, work about the Internet in any of its dimensions, aesthetic, technical, linguistic, political or economic and through all kinds of means of expression (video, still image, installation, performance, etc.). The field of study of this project will therefore be made up of all those artistic manifestations that throughout this period have made the Internet their specific action context and / or their field or theme of main reflection.
This research is structured around four complementary lines of work: The first of them is focused on the study of the role played by the Internet in general and social networks in particular in the emergence and evolution of artistic practices called “post-photographic”, making a critical analysis from their first theorizations (Mitchell 1992, Hansen 2001, Brea 2005, etc.) to the most recent (Grau 2015, Fontcuberta 2017, etc.).
The second line of work is oriented to the study of how artists are making use of social networks, blogs and participatory platforms of the web, converting them into their medium and specific context of action. This line will deal with the main manifestations of “social media art”, with special emphasis on “blog-art” and on the very different types of “networked performance” (Garrett and Rea, 2014, Boisvert, 2016, etc.).
The relationship between the Internet and the physical space, between the digital and the material, will be the central theme of the third line of work, which will encompass the new practices of “locative media art” (Paul, 2013, etc.) and “augmented reality” on mobile devices (Rhodes, 2014; Geroimenko, 2014, etc.) until the new neo-objective developments of the so-called “post-internet art” (Novitskova, 2010, Vierkant, 2010, Kholeif, 2014, Droitcour, 2014, Quaranta, 2015, etc.).
On the other hand, the fourth line of research will be focused on the relationships between new artistic practices and digital activism in the field of “social media”, developing an analysis of the three most active and fertile pathways so far: those based on artistic thematization of the questioning of forms of control and surveillance in the field of the network (Galloway, 2004, Bazzichelli, 2009, Castets and Obrist, 2016), forms of ownership and the digital commons, and critical thematizations developed by feminist art and “queer” of the forms of self-representation in the media and social networks.
Juan Martin Prada, June 2019
The third annual CSNI Summer School took place at the Jerwood Space, London on 13 June with twenty-six research affiliated delegates in attendance. The conference brought together researchers and practitioners examining the rapidly changing and expanding nature of the networked image and how collaborative partnerships in the arts are an increasingly successful model of research.
The day was organised in three sessions, reflecting the centre’s current concerns, curating the networked image, practice as research, and collaborative research modeling.
Beatrice Fazi, a research fellow at Sussex University Media Lab, introduced the day by highlighting relevant issues from her book, Contingent Computation: Abstraction, Experience, and Indeterminacy in Computational Aesthetics (2018).
In session one CSNI researcher Gaia Tedone gave a summary of her thesis, ‘Curating the Networked Image: Circulation, Commodification and Computation’ followed by Nicolas Malevé who focused upon the use of Imagenet in training algorithms of vision. Session two exampled practice-based research and CSNI associate researcher Simon Terrill used his recent Melbourne exhibition based upon his long standing work on Crowd Theory, to focus in upon the stages of his thinking about objects in public/private space. Dr.Elena Marchevska from the Centre for Digital Storymaking at LSBU, discussed the politics of migration in performance practice in a talk entitled, ‘Displacement and Privilege: Who tells your story?’ Iñigo Guerrero Martín a visiting Phd student gave a presentation on his research entitled, ‘Improving contact: behavioural intention and perceived closeness with stigmatized immigrants using testimonial messages’
The afternoon was introduced by Ruth Catlow, founding co-director of the art organisation Furtherfield and a writer and artist. Ruth outlined the key aims, principles and ethics of Furtherfield collaborative partnerships. Following Ruth’s setting of the scene were three ‘case studies’ of collaborative PhD projects. Lozana Rossenova, an AHRC funded scholar at CSNI working in collaboration with the new media organization Rhizome in New York, articulated the different roles and tensions in grappling with real world problems, whilst retaining research independence is prototyping a new interface for their ArtBase, an archive of digital born artworks.
Alessio Antonelli, Director of the art organization, Gasworks, Professor Victoria Walsh, head of the Royal College of Art’s Curating Contemporary Art programme discussed the early stages of a collaborative research project with CSNI Student Rosie Hermon. The aim of the research is to investigate current and future uses of online media as a basis for new democratic, non centralized collectivities within the Triangle Network, a global network of artists and visual arts organisations founded in 1982.
The final case study was introduced by Ben Vickers, Chief Technology Officer of the Serpentine Galleries, who is leading a research project on modeling early stage R&D in art and technology. The project involved a collaborative PhD partnership with CSNI researcher Victoria Ivanova, looking at the interrelationships between organizational change, art policy and curatorial practice. Ben gave an analytical perspective on how Sepentine Galleries are placed and operate within the art field and how art and technology research might be situated at a more leading organizational edge.
The CSNI directors would like to thank all of those who attended and participated in the highly fruitful discussions which followed the presentations.
New work by academics and curators will provide museums with innovative solutions for documenting, collecting and displaying digital art.
Currently written descriptions, questionnaires, photos or at times video recordings are used to document digital art in museums, primarily from the point of view of the artist. The research will analyse existing strategies and also focus on creating innovative documentation methods, including virtual reality, motion tracking, social media and interactive recordings, as well as changing the perspective by emphasizing audience engagement with digital art.
The three-year project, called “Documenting digital art: re-thinking histories and practices of documentation in the museum and beyond”, is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. It will be led by Professor Gabriella Giannachi, Director Centre for Intermedia and Creative Technologies, University of Exeter, assisted by the curator Dr Francesca Franco from the University of Exeter, Dr Annet Dekker and Katrina Sluis from London South Bank University, and Gaby Wijers Director of LIMA. Project partners include the Venice Biennale, The Photographers’ Gallery in London, and LIMA a world leading media arts organisation in Amsterdam.
In cooperation with world-leading museums, artists, researchers and curators specialising in photography and digital art, they will analyse how digital art has been documented from the 1970s to the present day in museums and art galleries. They will look at existing practices and develop novel strategies for documenting, exhibiting and preserving digital art.
Professor Giannachi said: “There is currently no framework for museums to capture audience engagement with digital artworks. Using the same principles as documenting objects or even performances is not an effective way of documenting the values of digital art and capturing engagement with it. We will look at documentation as a strategy for exhibition, preservation and public engagement looking at novel forms of art. We will help museums to document dimensions of these works that are often currently overlooked, such as the human computer interaction and audience engagement.”
Paul Meller, Head of Creative Arts and Digital Humanities at the Arts and Humanities Research Council said “We are pleased to fund this project, which not only supports museums but also has the potential to engage a wider audience with digital art. We look forward to seeing how this project evolves over the next three years and the impact this could have for museum sector and beyond.”
The project will include an exhibition of computer art at the Venice Biennale curated by Dr Franco, a symposium and two workshops focused on the intersection of performance and digital art at LIMA, and other workshops and events about institutional practices on photographic documentation and audiences at The Photographers’ Gallery. The research team will produce a book, catalogue, articles, a white paper, conference papers, two exhibitions, two sets of workshops, a film, public events, a repository, and a symposium.
About The Arts and Humanities Research Council
The Arts and Humanities Research Council, which is part of UK Research and Innovation, funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: history, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, languages, design, heritage, area studies, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98 million to fund research and postgraduate training, in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits and contributes to the economic success of the UK but also to the culture and welfare of societies around the globe.
For media enquiries relating to the Arts and Humanities Research Council please contact:
Ellie Fry, Senior Communications Manager, Arts and Humanities Research Council
Ellie.firstname.lastname@example.org / 01793 416 030
Nicolas Malevé’s presentation from the Image/Net/Works is now available to watch here.
· School of Arts and Creative Industries at London South Bank University
· Centre for the Study of the Networked Image: http://www.centreforthestudyof.net
· Research development, PhD supervision and Photography teaching
· Deadline for Applications 8th April, Interviews will be held on 9th and 10th May, with a Starting Date of 1stSeptember.
· Application form and Job Description available at: jobs.lsbu.ac.uk/
The postholder will take a leading role in the development and assessment of the School’s research activities, together with teaching photography at BA and MA levels. The person appointed will manage The Centre for the Study of the Networked Image, supervise PhD students, run post graduate seminars, including the CSNI summer school, create new external collaborations, teach across the photography subject area and develop research funding strategies.
For an informal discussion of the post please contact Associate Professor, Daniel Alexander at email@example.com
Katrina Sluis @ Animate Projects in partnership with QUAD
Friday 22 January 2015, Derbys (UK)
Animate Projects in partnership with QUAD are holding an informal seminar on critically engaged digital practice. Artists and curators will make brief provocations, referencing notable artworks, organisations and events, to set a context for a discussion addressing questions that may include:
How do we square embracing and utilising technological change and forms, with critical interrogation?
Does public strategy help or hinder, lead, follow or shape practice?
How does creative innovation and experiment blur distinctions across commercial and cultural practice? [Read more…]
Annet Dekker @ Digital Horizons, Virtual Selves: Rethinking Cultural Heritage in the Museum
Research Centre for Material Culture, Leiden (the Netherlands)
Thursday 20 January 2016
Organised by Karin de Wild and Liza Swaving
This presentation will focus on attempts that have been made to preserve online cultures: from large institutes that scrape content and invent new documentation methods, to ‘amateur’ examples that form their own ‘networks of care’, and finally by paying attention to the stories, myths and fictions that survive through analogue means and stick in human memory. [Read more…]
In this new essay, writer and researcher Andrew Dewdney responds to Daniel Rubinstein’s essay What is 21st Century Photography? published by The Photographers’ Gallery in July 2015.
Victoria Walsh (RCA), Andrew Dewdney and Ionna Zouli (LSBU) and Emilie Pringle (Tate)
AHRC RCA / Tate Collaboration
This collaborative and interdisciplinary research project between Tate, the Royal College of Art and London South Bank University (2013/14) was based upon the recognition that contemporary professional practice, policy-formation and understandings of cultural value remain resolutely analogue despite the profound changes in how knowledge and contemporary culture is being produced and experienced. [Read more…]
Current Research by Annet Dekker (as part of a residence at CCS, Bard College, February-June 2015)
It could be argued that the transformation from analogue to digital archives and archiving has shifted from selecting single documents in favour of seeking relations between documents and stimulating audiences to actively participate in curating archival and museum collections. [Read more…]
Andrew Dewdney and Victoria Walsh @ PARSE Biennial Research Conference on TIME
4-6 November 2015, Gothenburg (Sweden)
How are artists, curators and theorists responding to the new conditions of hypermodernity and chrono-reflexivity within the spaces and time of the art museum? Marked by a distributed archival aesthetic, post-digital culture directly challenges the museum’s logic of collection, as well as exposing the flaws of the atemporal modernist aesthetic hang. [Read more…]
Current Research by Andrew Dewdney
I am working with a longstanding research collaborator, Professor Victoria Walsh, on rethinking the theoretical intersection between art, media and technology through the prism of the strategic and curatorial practices of museums and their response to the rise of network culture. [Read more…]
4 and 25 October @ The Photographers’ Gallery, London
Join us for our inaugural “Geekender”, a weekend of events and workshops devoted to digital culture on 24th and 25th October at The Photographers’ Gallery, London. Saturday night we will open late until 9pm, with a party to celebrate 25 years of Photoshop. Experience the delights of being hands-on with Photoshop version 1.0, a live “cut and paste” studio (SouthBank Collective) and a Photoshop Battle. Photoshop Layer Cake and RGB Drinks will be served from the Photoshop “Toolbar” whilst Adam Brown (Buncefield Records) will translate your favourite JPEG images into sound in a special DJ set. Visuals taking you through the history and culture of Photoshop will be provided by Central Saint Martins MA Photography Students.
PhD research by Nicolas Maleve (collaborative PhD with The Photographers’ Gallery)
Today, as we are confronted on a daily basis with millions of images on the Internet, grasping the visual world seems an overwhelming task. [Read more…]
PhD research by Ioanna Zouli (AHRC funded – CDA award)
Ioanna’s PhD research is part of a developing discussion on the contemporary museums’ relation to digital technology and network structures. The study employs Tate as the institution under focus and examines the dynamics of institutional practices as a response to contemporary technological developments. [Read more…]
PhD research by Gaia Tedone
Gaia’s current research project considers the shifting conditions of the photographic image within contemporary culture at large, exploring how digital technologies and social media are opening up new spaces for encountering and exhibiting visual material. [Read more…]
PhD research by Garrett Lynch
Currently Garrett’s research and practice focus is exploring the thesis that networks are a transformative factor in contemporary art practice. [Read more…]