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?
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…]
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
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…]
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…]
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…]
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.
Annet Dekker, 10 December 2015, @ Alternative Film/Video Research Forum 2015, in Belgrade
Whilst video art is just being accepted in the commercial and museum art worlds, it is overtaken by the proliferation of web-based video that is increasingly delivered via all kinds of networks and based in databases. [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…]