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
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.email@example.com / 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
From 1st December 2018, the CSNI researcher Katrina Sluis will be undertaking a Swiss National Science Foundation funded research project “Curating Photography in the Networked Image Economy” in collaboration with Dr Wolfgang Brückle, Lucerne University of Applied Arts and Sciences, Fotomuseum Winterthur, FotoColectania and The Photographers’ Gallery. The central objective of the research is to generate new academic, professional and public knowledge and understanding of how the networked image economy is transforming established models of curating photography and the production and location of cultural value. In doing so, it proposes to bring the largely disconnected fields of museum curating, social media curation and computational photography into productive dialogue.
The CSNI associate researcher and artist Simon Terrill is currently showing his work in two exhibitions in Melbourne. The first is at the Centre for Contemporary Photography (CCP) where Terrill presents a retrospective of his ‘Crowd Theory’ project (2004 – today). The exhibition explores crowd dynamics and the relationship between urban architectural spaces and those who inhabit them. In a conceptual dialogue with the CCP exhibition, Like Fire Walk with Me in Sutton Gallery, is centred around the Plato’s Academy Park in Athens, Greece, a public space of gathering and a site that Terrill returns to time and again.
Centre for Contemporary Photography (CCP): 2 February – 31 March 2019
Sutton Gallery: 2 February – 2 March 2019
The CSNI PhD researcher Victoria Ivanova took part in the programme ‘Mourning Money’ organised by UKK (Organisation for Artists and Curators in Denmark) at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Visual Arts in Copenhagen. Ivanova contributed to the panel ‘MACRO’ on the 18th of January 2019 along with Kei Kreutler and Helen Hester.
MACRO discussed organisations operating at the macro scale of the field of art. Examples include unions, interest organisations (BKF, UKK, UKS), pension funds (Artist Pension Trust), mission-driven organisations (W.A.G.E.), global financial actors (Deloitte, Athena Art Finance), financial technology startups (Maecenas, Codex Protocol), blue-chip galleries (Gagosian), startups (Artsy), private foundations and national art foundations. The panelists explored what diverging functions and purposes such initiatives can have, why it is important to develop organisations at the macroscale right now, and what the criteria by which to assess their capabilities and limitations can be.
Find out more details about the programme, here.
Over 4 days in January 2019, CSNI Researcher Katrina Sluis worked with the artist Jonas Lund to transform the 3rd Floor of The Photographers’ Gallery into an influencing office tasked with reversing Brexit. Part installation, part performance, part working think tank, Operation Earnest Voice aimed to explore and interrogate the numerous tools, methods and strategies used to influence public opinion online, from the generation of fake followers to the fabrication of images.
The name of the project is an inspiration from Operation Earnest Voice, the US-sponsored campaign, whose purpose is to spread pro-American propaganda on social networking sites.
Find our more about the project on the artist’s page, while you can also watch the stream that captured live the 4 days of the installation / performance here.
In dialogue with The Photographers’ Gallery exhibition All I Know Is What’s On The Internet, the one day symposium ‘Post-Capitalist Photography Now!‘ explored issues around photography’s capacity to challenge neoliberalism and bring alternative systems into view, and the roles of public institutions and the art world in such a context.
Questions addressed include how do we make sense of photography’s relationship to corporate power? Do participatory photographic cultures serve the interests of global capital or provide potential sites for resistance? In what ways can we think about photography as work? And does computational culture extend, disrupt or intensify photography’s historical relationships to post-Fordist capitalism?
The full programme of the symposium is available here and you can watch the video documentation here.
[Presented by The Photographers’ Gallery in collaboration with The Centre for Photography and Visual Culture, University of Sussex & The Centre for the Study of the Networked Image, London South Bank University]
In December 2018, the CSNI PhD researcher Nicolas Malevé took part in the Image Net/Works conference, organised by Lucerne University of Applied Arts and Sciences in collaboration with Fotomuseum Winterthur. The conference focused on images and the associated economies of looking, producing and sharing as well as the photography’s changing role in the context of contemporary political-economic systems. Malevé presented his paper titled ‘Machine Glancing’. You can find the programme and the abstracts of the conference here.
The exhibition ‘All I Know Is What’s On The Internet‘ at The Photographers’ Gallery in London, presents the work of 11 contemporary artists and groups seeking to map, visualise and question the cultural dynamics of 21st Century image culture. It is curated by the CSNI researcher Katrina Sluis, whom you can hear talking about the ideas and the works of the show in the interview below:
Participating Artists: Mari Bastashevski, Constant Dullaart, IOCOSE, Stephanie Kneissl & Max Lackner, Eva & Franco Mattes, Silvio Lorusso & Sebastian Schmieg, Winnie Soon, Emilio Vavarella, Stéphane Degoutin & Gwenola Wagon, Andrew Norman Wilson, Miao Ying.
Exhibition duration: 26 October 2018 – 24 February 2019
Professor Andrew Dewdney has published a book review in the forthcoming issue of Journal of Design History about ‘Memories of the Future: On Countervision’ edited by Dr. Stephen Wilson and Deborah Jaffe.
Read an excerpt here:
Last March, the CSNI PhD researcher Lozana Rossenova took part in the panel ‘Curation and Power’, with Jessica Ogden, Anisa Hawes, Margaret Hedstrom and Morehshin Allahyari, at the National Forum on Ethics and Archiving the Web, NYC (22-24 March 2018).
Watch the video documentation here:
The second annual CSNI Summer School took place in the 7th of June at Jerwood Space in London and it was a rich day of presentations and discussions. This year’s invited speakers included Dr. Geoff Cox and Dr. Magda Tyżlik-Carver who presented their current research projects and responded to the presentations by the CSNI PhD students and led the discussion during the day. The Summer School was also joined by CSNI associate researchers Adam Brown and Simon Terrill from London South Bank University (LSBU), Dr. Elena Marchevska, head of the Centre of Digital Storymaking at LSBU as well as Dr Cayo Honorato from University of Brasilia.
See below the schedule of the day for an idea of the topics covered and discussed:
CSNI associate researchers Adam Brown and Alan Warburton, along with the game designer Tabea Iseli, were this year’s winning team of the P3: Post-Photography Prototyping Prize! Brown, Warburton and Iseli worked under the theme of ‘Generative Photography’ and created the prototyping project Freezing the Photographer.
The Post-Photography Prototyping Prize (P3) is a biennial prize that supports artists, creative technologists and researchers questioning the changing role of photographic media.
In 2018, the second edition of the P3 encouraged interdisciplinarity and collaboration, bringing artists, technologists and researchers together to address specific issues that underlie the changes in contemporary photographic culture. Academics, visual artists and creative coders joined forces to reflect on social and technological transformations within current image production, distribution and consumption.
Annet Dekker recently published her new book, Collecting and Conserving Net Art, which explores the qualities and characteristics of net art and its influence on conservation practices. By addressing and answering some of the challenges facing net art and providing an exploration of its intersection with conservation, the book casts a new light on net art, conservation, curating and museum studies.
Alan Warburton’s work Homo Economicus is part of a new exhibition at the Somerset House Studios which questions the implications of producing, collecting and sorting data for society and the individual. The exhibition, titled ‘Complex Values‘, includes the works of three resident artists at the Somerset House Studios: Alan Warburton, the curatorial platform Album Corp and the art-research duo FRAUD.
Homo Economicus is an installation with video and sculpture which focuses on the ideas of men who work in the City of London’s financial district, and examines how they both modify and commodify their own bodies. The work intentionally conflates the corporate and the corporeal, questioning male self-worth and its apparent apotheosis in the hyper-competitive financial services industry.
Exhibition duration: 13 – 24 Jun 2018
Somerset House, River Rooms (New Wing)
Opening Times: 12.00 – 18.00 (Wed & Fri until 20.00)
Entrance is FREE
[featured image: Homo Economicus, Alan Warburton, 2018]
What does photographic curation mean in an era of the fluid image and during a time of non-medium specificity?
On the 2nd of June 2018, Katrina Sluis, CSNI Researcher and Digital Curator at The Photographers’ Gallery, spoke in the ‘Encounters: Photography and Curation’ symposium – a collaboration between The Photographers’ Gallery and London College of Communication, UAL).
The symposium aimed to examine the relatively under-discussed area of photography curation at a time when academic curating programs are expanding globally and our understanding of the practice is evolving.
Sluis’ presentation was part of the panel Encounters which also featured Tim Clark (Curator and Founding Editor, 1000 Words), Lucy Moore (Director, Claire de Rouen Books), and Lars Willumeit (independent curator, writer and editor).
Find out more information, here.
On the 10th of May 2018, Professor Andrew Dewdney presented a talk with the title “What Is The Current Fascination With VR On The Part Of Museums And Art Galleries?” in the Contemporary Art Society’s 2018 Annual Conference. This year’s annual conference explored the rapid development of digital imagery in the artistic realm and its representation in museums.
Abstract: Over the past two years more and more national and international museums and galleries have teamed up with technology companies to demonstrate how VR applications can be used in the cultural heritage sector. Modigliani’s studio in VR at Tate Britain, The Royal Academy in partnership with HTC Vive demonstrating VR in the ‘From Life’ exhibition, Zaha Hadid’s Architecture in VR at the Serpentine or Matt Collishaw’s reconstruction of the first photographic exhibition studio in VR at Somerset House. I could go on, The National Gallery and The British Museum teaming up with Oculus to provide virtual 3D headset tours, not to forget Google Arts and Culture’s now established Google Art Project partnerships using Google software tools. How are we to assess this growing trend? Is it a potential moment of radical change in the museum, or is it another fleeting fascination? One way of thinking about this is to ask how the current interest in VR applications relates to the wider technological environment of networked culture? The presentation takes the view that whilst VR devices and software are now more widely available and applicable, the current interest in their use may well be a distraction from a much greater virtual reality that has already taken place in everyday life. The network of networked computers, the World Wide Web, and global positioned connected mobile devices, have and continue to profoundly change what it is to be human. Whilst current interest from corporate content providers is in testing market appetite for immersive 3D interfaces, VR may very well turn out to be a nostalgic longing for a past imagined future world, rather than portal into a new one.
Read the full presentation, here: VR and the Museum, Andrew Dewdney
[featured image: Modigliani VR: The Ochre Atelier (Courtesy of Preloaded)]
Remedios Zafra, CSNI external researcher associate, has published the article The Precarious Individual: Cultural Workers in the Digital Era in CCCB Lab (Centro de Cultura Contemporánea de Barcelona).
For some time now vocation and enthusiasm have been exploited to justify the drift towards labour precarity. This tendency is on the increase in contexts related to art, culture and knowledge, where the advantages of a hyper-connected world coexist with the maintaining of old forms of power that make people vulnerable and deny them spaces where they can rethink the working logic of which they form part. A logic that ranges from the fallacy of equating life with work to the bureaucratisation of working life, and also includes the feminisation of cultural bases or individualisation induced by fierce competition, among others.
Read the full article, here.
Juan Martín Prada, CSNI external researcher associate, has contributed a paper titled New Media Egologies in the 6th issue of the journal Re-visiones.
This article addresses the notion of the web as a mirrored sphere.
The debate about the primacy of a psychomorphic vision of reality, associated with the use of the new technologies of connectivity, is here related with the practices of self-representation and hipervisibilisation that are characteristic of the new communicative and social habits that take place in the network-system.
Key words: web 2.0, social networks, self-representation, egology, multitude
Read the full article, here.
Andrew Dewdney has contributed a paper Museums, scholarly enterprise and global assemblages: a response to ‘Artifacts and allegiances: how museums put the nation and the world on display’ in Identities Volume 24, Issue 1.
CSNI researchers Annet Dekker and Katrina Sluis will be joining Marco de Mutiis of FotoMuseum Winterthur on Tuesday 13th February, 7pm to discuss “the new artefacts of the image” as part of Foto Colectania’s digital platform Done:
Our relationship with images is transforming at high speed due to the proliferation of online digital photography. This new scenario has impacted on contemporary art practices, where photographs are not only printed and framed but can also take sculptural form, build an installation, be a fundamental part of a performance, and remain intangible in the net. The three participants of this conversation will show and explain how contemporary photography is developing in this new scenario.
You can see a recording of the talk below, and see a previous talk by CSNI researcher Daniel Rubinstein for the platform here.
CSNI Researcher Katrina Sluis was recently interviewed by Lewis Bush for 1000 Words Magazine about her curating and research. You can head over to 1000 Words to read more.
CSNI Director Andrew Dewdney has contributed a chapter, Art Museum Knowledge and the Crisis of Representation to a new volume, Representing Art Education: On the Representation of Pedagogical work in the Art Field, edited by Carmen Mörsch, Sigrid Schade & Sophie Vögele.
CSNI Researchers Annet Dekker (21st Feb) and Katrina Sluis (24th May) will be participating in “Curating Machines”, a series of events organised by Olga Goriunova, Lilly Markaki and Chris Townsend (Dept. of Media Arts, Royal Holloway, University of London): https://www.facebook.com/
The CSNI will be presenting a panel as part of MeCCSA 2018, hosted at London South Bank University
‘The Networked Image Economy and the Automation of Culture’
Discussants: Andrew Dewdney, Katrina Sluis and Annet Dekker.
There is still a general confusion within the public cultural sector about what constitutes the digital, rooted in an epistemological opposition between art and science in which thinking about culture has historically been separated from technology. Both public and corporate cultural and media institutions understand and promote the digital predominantly as a tool and continue to frame content in the analogue broadcast conventions, based on traditional models of cultural authority and disciplinary expertise. Yet the computational basis of network culture tells a very different story in which meaning making travel along increasingly automated lines. What are the implications of this for understandings of cultural value?
At present, there is a collision between the modes of the analogue, the digitised, and the born-digital object. This panel asks how are arts professionals and audiences to identify, assign and sustain meaning and value not only in the traditional unique analogue museum object, but now in its digitised, digital born and distributed image? The digital surrogate, or proxy is no longer framed as a reproduction, to be understood within a traditional visual culture of fixed representational values, but rather as a networked and machinic image (Rubinstein & Sluis 2008). This nexus of problems in the technical status of the digital image is made manifest in the practices of curating, which has exponentially expanded with technical development to be a major, if not default, currency of contemporary communication. At the same time, curating entails the reproduction of the cultural separation between the established values and authority of the ‘offline’ analogue and the yet-to-be authenticated values of networked culture.
This panel will give three short presentations looking in turn at how visual culture has been reshaped by three specific technological and industrial moments; the analogue to digital; digitisation and finally digital born. The underlying perspective of the presentations is the need for a theory of the networked image and in this respect the panel compares and contrasts the tradition of thinking which emanates from Benjamin on reproduction and that of the non-representational perspective drawn from Deleuze, Thrift and more broadly phenomenology. The specific examples used include the Google Art Project, The Photographers’ Gallery Digital Programme and the Rhizome ArtBase.
CSNI Researcher Katrina Sluis was recently interviewed for the BBC Radio 4 Programme ‘PowerPointless’, a documentary on the culture and aesthetics of Microsoft PowerPoint. She discussed the production of the 2016 Media Wall project PowerPoint Polemics at The Photographers’ Gallery and the contribution of artists including Clunie Reid.
Listen to the programme, here:
Gabriel Menotti and Bruno Zorzal interview Katrina Sluis for the Brazilian Photography publication ZUM: Revista de Fotografia.
Read the interview (in Portuguese), here:
CSNI Researcher Alan Warburton has just released a new video essay online
It’s 2017 and computer graphics have conquered the Uncanny Valley, that strange place where things are almost real… but not quite. After decades of innovation, we’re at the point where we can conjure just about anything with software. The battle for photoreal CGI has been won, so the question is… what happens now?
Written and animated by Alan Warburton with the support of Tom Pounder and Wieden + Kennedy.
Auction action – commission an artwork, listed on eBay as ART, LIMITED EDITION, PRINT | Auction action – commission an artwork #exstrange, were transformative actions that occurred within the context of the networked performance Transformations: Actions to Matter / Matter to Actions by Garrett Lynch.
Transformative actions within Transformations attempt to source items for free online and then sell them online. Actions that are performed online are considered to occur within a ‘virtual’ or digital context. Items that are acquired as a result of actions are physically manifested in ‘real’ contexts. A transformation therefore occurs from ‘virtual’ to ‘real’ and then back to ‘virtual’ again. The internet is both a staging ground for initiating transformation as well as the final destination for the items acquired and the documentation produced.
On the changing role of archives in the digital age
Do ‘Living Archives’ provide a space for erased, forgotten, neglected and new memories?
Editor: Annet Dekker
Contributors: Babak Afrassiabi, Dušan Barok, Tina Bastajian, Nanna Bonde Thylstrup, Özge Çelikaslan, Annet Dekker, Olia Lialina, Manu Luksch, Nicolas Malevé, Aymeric Mansoux, Michael Murtaugh, Josien Pieterse, Ellef Prestsæter, Robert Sakrowski, Stef Scagliola, Katrina Sluis, Femke Snelting, Igor Štromajer, Nasrin Tabatabai [Read more…]
Workshop 22 July, 12pm start
with Nicolas Malevé and Adam Brown: Rethinking workshop / Rethinking work
@The Photographers’ Gallery in London [part of geekender and Experimental Photo School]
16 – 18 Ramillies St, London W1F 7LW
What kind of work is photography, and how can a photographic worker be taught, in the face of increasing automation, precarious working and a saturated market? Thinking back to the beginnings of workers’ education in the nineteenth century, a historical emphasis on self-empowerment through creativity persists in contemporary creative education, but how does one empower an algorithm, and does the camera or digital network now play the role of ‘middle management?’ [Read more…]
Spectacle, Speculation and Spam by Alan Warburton
This video essay was created by Alan Warburton for the Edge of Frame Weekend seminar at The Whitechapel gallery in East London in December 2016. Artists, curators and academics were asked to explore where experimental animation practice sits in relation to independent animation, visual art, histories and institutions. Rather than presenting papers, participants were challenged to cite up to three works that illustrated their case.
29 Jun, 10.15 – 17.00 @ Mayday Rooms, 88 Fleet Street, London
The Centre was established formally in November 2015 and is pleased to convene its first annual review of its PhD research programme with invited external respondents. Lunch will be provided and time to celebrate the achievements of the year with a drink afterwards.
The programme for the day will involve a closed morning session with presentations from five research projects together with invited comments. The afternoon session will open with a reading session led by Daniel Rubinstein followed by a keynote presentation from Olga Goriunova.
The provocation for wider discussion is that the networked image suggests a rejection of meaning to be found in the singular image, icon or even artist’s work in favour of looking for new process of value in modes of production and reproduction in the allegiances between humans and machinic agents. This complex of agents can be termed the networked image. As such networked image can be considered as a way of seeing, a way of (re)producing and possibly a way of comprehending relations involved in its making.
The research project presentations have a range of subjects, through which a common set of theoretical and methodological themes can be detected. We hope that through comment and discussion we can identify more clearly the underlying problems and their proposed solutions.
Panel: Unthinking Photography: cultural value and the networked image
@ Ways of Machine Seeing organised by Cambridge Digital Humanities Network, and CoDE (Cultures of the Digital Economy Research Institute) and Cambridge Big Data
with Nicolas Malevé, Gaia Tedone, Katrina Sluis, Annet Dekker, Magda Tyżlik-Carver, Andrew Dewdney
“If the new language of images were used differently, it would, through its use, confer a new kind of power.” John Berger. (1972) Ways of Seeing,P33
John Berger’s BBC broadcast experiment ‘Ways of Seeing’ argued that vision and seeing are essentially meaning making activities. Revisiting this understanding of the reproductive and cultural modes of seeing now in computational culture is timely, not least because Berger was concerned with a politics of culture that required new ways of thinking and acting.
Indexical and archival representation of a unique point of origin is no longer a sustainable definition for the image and yet its reproduction in culture persists, cloaking the reality of image production as an unspoken set of allegiances between human and machinic agents. This complex of agents can be termed the networked image and considered as a way of seeing. Working out epistemological and ontological accounts of the entanglements between computational and cultural languages is needed in order to identify and translate the politics and power of the networked image.
9 Jun 2017, 18.30
@ The Photographers’ Gallery
with Özge Ersoy, Nour A. Munawar, Sarah Nankivell, Christina Varvia
curated by Annet Dekker
Trafficking of cultural heritage is nothing new. It ranges from the looting of archaeological sites, theft from cultural heritage institutions and private collections, and the displacement of artefacts due to war. Recently a new phenomenon can be added to this list: the filming of destructions of “fake” ancient relics, while the originals are quickly and illicitly traded.
Following the release of such videos by ISIS, many Western nation states reacted with outrage and responded by attempts to digitally preserve or rebuild of some of the remains. While adopting conventional methods of appropriation, and ignoring their own role in these (fake) destructions, a new player entered the marketplace: commercial companies specializing in 3D modelling and printing.
The possibility of generating detailed copies of an artefact without the need to access it brings undeniable benefits in terms of its accessibility and preservation. It allows people access to lost ‘treasures’; a digital model can capture the appearance and shape of an object in a way that a 2-dimensional representation could never do. Rather than being committed to the preservation of cultural heritage it could be argued these companies are profiting from the reselling of copyrighted files. Drawing attention to the importance of a freely shared memory and using the power of technology, artist Morehshin Allahyari devised her own method to counter what she considers to be a new ‘digital colonialism’. Based on found footage from exhibition catalogues, tourists’ snapshots and using her imagination, she created 3D visualization models from scratch in her project “Material Speculation: ISIS”. Realised as 3D printed sculptures, these cultural objects have the documentation of their creation embedded on a flash drive inside the model, which has also been shared by Allahyari online for others to use.
Reflecting on Allahyari’s use of technology as a political medium, the panelists will present their views on what could be a decolonialist practice. They will show how re-use and re-interpretation allow for a new set of values to emerge in which destroyed objects, and their users, regain agency through digitisation. [Read more…]
Exhibition: Transformations @ Borough Road Gallery,
103 Borough Road, London SE1 0AA
The School of Arts and Creative Industries
Vernissage: 23rd June 6-8pm
Exhibition Open: 26 – 30 June 2017, 11am – 7pm
The School of Arts and Creative Industries invites you to a solo exhibition of networked artworks by artist Garrett Lynch (IRL), titled Transformations.
Transformations presents nine networked artworks conceived over a four-year period that explore a practice involving networks. Each artwork provides an example of transformation by a network. This includes the transformation of what is arranged as part of the conception of the artwork and as a consequence the transformation of what can be considered as an artwork.
Garrett Lynch is an artist, lecturer, curator and theorist. He has exhibited internationally at 319 Scholes in New York, the V&A in London, Filmwinter Festival for Expanded Media and Edith Russ Site for Media Art in Germany, FILE festival in Brasil and Videoformes International festival of video art and multimedia in France. Recently most active in networked performance Garrett’s practice explores the spaces between artist, artworks and audience as a means, site and context for artistic initiation, creation and discourse.
Please register your attendance for the vernissage on the 23rd of June via Facebook.
5-7 May 2017
TPG Geekender: Experimental Photo School
with Morehshin Allahyari, Gretchen Andrew, Adam Brown, Rich Cochraine, Claire Davis, Gene Kogan, Nicolas Malevé, Andrew McGettigan, David West,
organised by Katrina Sluis, Ioana Zouli with support from Nicolas Malevé
The collision of photography with planetary scale computing is transforming the medium, disrupting traditional conceptions of visual literacy, raising new questions concerning the agency and cultural value of images and creating new job opportunities even as it destroys others.
Today, computer scientists develop algorithms to read, organize and valorize the billions of images which circulate online without familiarity or reference to the history of aesthetics or photography theory. Animals, weather cameras and Twitter bots create images for large online audiences. The product photography which plasters our magazines and screens now originates in CGI software rather than the photography studio.
The camera itself is becoming an increasingly intelligent agent, remade by those in the field of computational photography who proclaim that “software is the new optics”. Photographers are now advised to create their portfolios not for the aesthetic sensibility of the human eye, but for the seduction of search engines using SEO and carefully coded templates. The mirage of analogue culture becomes fetishized as the hyper-analogue both at the consumer level (with platforms like Instagram) and the art world (with the return of the unique photographic print).
Over the first weekend in May, The Photographers’ Gallery digital programme will be transforming the Gallery into an Experimental Photo School, with a series of workshops, talks, reading groups, drop-in sessions and a new Media Wall commission by Morehshin Allahyari.
For the full list of events and how to book see Experimental Photo School at The Photographers’ Gallery
CSNI Panel Discussion with Anne-Marie Schleiner (via video link), Michaël Borras A.K.A Systaime, Gaia Tedone curated and moderated by Magda Tyżlik-Carver.
Thursday 6 Apr, 18.30.
The claim that curating is posthuman recognises the changing modes of curating in the world of mass participation in and mass creation of popular culture. It is no longer just about meaning making by art professionals who commission, archive and interpret objects in museums’ collections but it defines a popular activity performed daily by agents of different orders. Not just curators but users of social media, not just people but algorithms and software are actively involved in managing, organising and evaluating content. Curating has become a practice that supports creation of narratives and online personas, generation of data and content that is displayed and managed across different social media platforms. While using digital objects and networked images to represent identities and conceptualise ideas about the world, the self and others, curating is firmly situated as an element of computational cultures distributing, constructing and performing ever new subjects, content, data, objects, and concepts.
05 April 2017
10h – 16.30h
Instituto Universitário da Maia, Porto, Portugal
With Tiago Cruz, Irene Luszting, Magda Tyżlik-Carver, Francisca Gonçalves AKA DJ Sininho, Ricardo Salazar
Expressions with sound and image. Technic-praxis-theory is a series of open classes, promoted by the curricular unit of scenic arts of the arts and multimedia course at the Instituto Universitário da Maia in Porto, Portugal, presenting artistic work, and national and international investigations in the various areas of sound and image.
15:00 – 17:30
Executing Practices is a public book launch and alternative presentation of content from Data Browser 6: Executing Practices, to be published by Autonomedia in early 2017. The book brings together artists, curators, programmers, and theorists whose practices make critical intervention into executions (of code, orders, laws etc.), drawing attention to their assembled structures and biopolitical strategies. The contributing authors engage with execution from diverse vantage points, defining the actors and forces guiding execution practices, and for whom or what they are performed. Queering the typical book launch, the event features different execution practices from the book, expanding related dialogue beyond the written texts.
On audience attitude in participative and interactive forms
by Garrett Lynch
Part of InDialogue, Notthingham Contemporary, 1 and 2 December
Audiences are experiencing a growing apprehension and distrust of interaction in art and a reluctance to engage with art that employs it. Interactive art can be categorised in broadly two ways: works that are highly technological or works that are highly social. While apprehension of interaction in art has always existed it is proposed that rather than originating from fear of technology or social embarrassment, it now originates in an understanding of what technology can do (e.g. surveillance, data harvesting etc.) and a hyper-awareness of the self in the public sphere.
In Unthinking Photography, September 2016
This short text is the result of an attempt to understand photographic theory by YouTube, which took the shape of an online errand of forking paths, full of interesting digressions, leading of course everywhere and nowhere. After several evenings of semi-distracted browsing and a solid half-day of clicking and watching I had to put a stop to it. Just how many paid/unpaid, work/leisure hours should one dedicate to the world’s third most visited website, where five billion videos are watched each day by over one billion users who upload 300 hours of video every minute ? By what methods is such a vast repository of data to be navigated and made sense of? Or, perhaps the goal of making sense belongs to an older and possibly generational logic, now overturned by the non-linear essence of digital archives and the click or swipe of a screen replacement. As a strategy to avoid the mental exhaustion of finding a theory of photography via YouTube the quest took a reflexive turn towards the question of what YouTube does to the user. A question I consider more anchored in the body, real time and space and possibly more pertinent to our period of accelerated cultural consumption and its precarious conditions. Surely, if you can watch a video that shows you how to remove the oven door, then you can learn about photographic theory, or can you? [Read more…]
In Unthinking Photography, September 2016
I am watching Professor Fei-Fei Li, director of Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab giving a TED Talk titled ‘How we teach computers how to see’, uploaded to the YouTube platform. She begins her lecture by evoking an image of a three-year-old girl: “She might still have a lot to learn about this world, but she is already an expert at one very important task: to make sense of what she sees.” (00:38)
The little girl is the first of the many children that will illustrate the presentation, including Leo, Li’s son. However, another child (albeit never qualified as such) looms in the background: the machine learning algorithm. [Read more…]
Article and Presentation
Annet Dekker @ MAP: Endnotes, Edinburgh Art Festival,
Saturday 13 August 2016
Endnotes is part of the MAP Footnoting the Archive project curated by guest editors Suzanne van der Lingen and Claire Walsh. Responding to the theme of endnotes, and coinciding with the completion of the MAP online archive, the editors invited contributors to examine ways of approaching archives as a creative, active platform rather than a static reserve of documented content. Each of the invited artists and researchers propose critical approaches to archiving, contemporary art and digital production. [Read more…]
Juan Martín Prada & Remedios Zafra
July – September 2016
Expected Research // Centre for the Study of Networked Image, LSBU
Considering art as a privileged practice for the critical examination of digital and visual culture, the purpose of this research proposal is to investigate in depth the emerging challenges and transformations of the photographic image as a symbolic agent and as a medium for the (self)representation of social identity as produced and distributed in the Internet. [Read more…]