CSNI (Centre for the Study of the Networked Image) is a research centre based in the School of Arts and Creative Industries at London South Bank University. It brings together researchers from cultural studies, contemporary art and media practice, and software studies, who seek knowledge and understanding of how network culture transforms the production and circulation of images.
CSNI understands that the “networked image” is at the centre of a new global mode of reproduction and representation in which the visual image is paramount. We realise that what constitutes an image has been radically transformed, and with it the theories that allow us to study it. Although we have to date largely followed a historicity based on the photograph, we recognise the anachronism, and the need for an enlarged scope that can account for the image as a dynamic, distributed and computational object that unsettles received notions of space-time — no longer limited to traditional representation (what media artist and theorist Harun Farocki has called “operative image”*). Yet in using the term “networked image” — preferring it to operative or computational image (or even post-photography) — we aim to emphasise the network as a descriptor of dynamic social relations as much as technological infrastructure. Moreover our aim is to broaden the discussion of the networked image to address planetary scale computation, the politics of infrastructure, and wider ecologies that would include non-human entities and environmental concerns.**
CSNI’s approach to research is reflexive, sensitive to contemporary conditions: attentive to how it is constituted as a network of people and ideas, as well as reflected in a networked approach to knowledge production (so, in this sense, we are more a commons than a centre). Our list of partnerships support this claim, including our ongoing collaborative work with other research centres and cultural organisations, allowing us to study the networked image in action.
CSNI supports the development of transdisciplinary research across a range of cultural practices, including — but not limited to — network culture, contemporary art, computing, photography, performance, curating, archiving, collection, exhibition studies, visual culture, critical writing, participatory and commons-based practices. Although our emphasis is on artistic and practice-based research our projects are grounded in rigorous academic methods that are applied in real-world situations, aiming to connect cultural policy, practice and theory.
CSNI is developing a new three year programme organised through the following interconnected themes: (1) machine ways of seeing, visual and algorithmic literacy, and the implications of machine learning on arts practice and visual culture; (2) alternative knowledge production through experimental publishing and un-archiving; (3) machine curation in the context of massified image production and planetary-scale image circulation.