Of hooded men and buildings without pants: Negotiating the images of universal desire.

Alejandro Quinteros, University of Puerto Rio.

This article explores images and their incipient conflicts in today’s global consumer monoculture. Fredric Jameson pointed out that today it would be easier to imagine the end of the world before an alternative to capitalism. As we have moved towards a globalized electronic capitalist economy, the hegemony of the image is concrete as signs and symbols appear to have become universal. Conflict follows in the representations of universality as definitions diverge between publicness, imageability, fear and desire. The global speed of universal representation of the signs and symbols of Euro-America-centric hegemony powers a binary phenomenon: the geographic dislocation of the consumers of our global consumer information society and the drive towards a global homogenized consumer monoculture.

 

The privileges of the quasiphotographic image.

Yanai Toister, Shenkar College of Engineering, Design & Art.

Numerical representation enables more than efficient processability and increased programmability. As it makes obsolete qualities that have previously been used to categorize individual media it also increasingly blurs the borders between them. Therefore it should be seen as no less than surprising that many contemporary systems still use images as their exclusive output channel. An associated conundrum is the fact that, of those many images, a baffling ratio appears in photographic form. Why this persistence on familiar pseudoverisimilitude? What are the privileges of the quasi-photographic aesthetic? Much wizardry is required to make data packages look recognizable. This decision, when taken by the creators of imaging algorithms, is of course ornamental but it is also much more. In acting as mere effect quasi-photographic images can function as sophisticated ‘go-betweens’ that weave together selected aspects of the physical world with the augmented world of data in ways that other media simply cannot. Thus, perhaps it is time to consider the possibility that the quasi-photographic need not be understood only as a form of interface but also as a concession required by and for our inferior human processing capabilities.

 

Atemporal photography: Image making out of time.

Simon Lock, Bristol University.

This article introduces the concept of Anachronistic Intervention as a performative approach to public engagement experimentation at real-world events. The article presents an intervention involving formal portrait photography as a mechanism to explore the historic act of photography and shed light on the possible future evolution of digital image making.

 

Unpredictability in everyday photography: A case study.

Ricardo Melo, André Lamelas and Miguel Carvalhais, University of Porto.

Modern technology is pervading all aspects of our everyday lives. With its focus on optimization, and through the growing adoption of content personalization, these technologies – in their attempts for relevancy and efficiency – are decreasing the role of chance and luck in our interactions with the Digital Medium, leading to a reduced potential for serendipitous experiences. This is exemplified in the post-smartphone photography. With the growing popularity of camera-enabled devices, photography has become commonplace: a trivial, routinely and mindlessly engaged practice. The photography act, due to the ever-increasing capacity of these devices to accurately record an image of the real, has become a series of brief, predictable actions, without much thought or consideration on the whole interaction. Through the exploration of the concept of defamiliarization, we intend to restore a sense on uncertainty and randomness to the quotidian photographic moment. To this end, we created an experimental smartphone application that randomly, and without the interactor’s control, transforms and manipulates a given photograph – thus making it unfamiliar – and allowing for surprise to be once more part of the process while increasing the engagement between photographer, subject and created image. We have also begun preliminary evaluations which have showed a positive impact of the concepts of this experimental application in the creative process.

 

A horizon is not flat – photographic pattern compositions as expression for the atemporal.

Julia Heurling, Planetary Collegium.

Avant-garde filmmaker and painter Hans Richter refers to visual rhythm as articulation of time, and film as articulation of time and movement: ‘Rhythm is the essence of filmmaking because it is conscious articulation of time. If anything is at the bottom of filmmaking it is the articulation of time, of movement. Film and pattern are both visual expressions based on multiple images. They relate to rhythm, continuity and time but somehow the approach is different. In my practice, I consider working with pattern as managing visual rhythm. I would like to use Richters’ statement to reflect on pattern as articulation of time. Could pattern be seen as articulation of time? How is the time aspect different depending if you work with film or pattern? This article will use the project ‘A horizon is not flat’ to propose how photographic pattern can be seen as representation of place but also representation of time. The patterns can be ‘read’ as experience of place but also as experience of time, not as information or measurement of time but in an abstract or a-temporal sense as visualization of the experience or perception of continuity. I will present the suggestion of how film and pattern relate differently to rhythm and articulation of time, illustrated in a visual model.