Image or to image?

Gianni Corino, University of Plymouth.

The proliferation of images towards an iconic communication in the hypermediacy of social media, of locative media, of Internet of Things (IoT) on one side and the visualization of real-time data, the deep learning algorithm on the other, question the essence of how reality is perceived, created and the nature and role of images itself. The common understanding of what constitutes an image is related to the representation of things and people. In the context of instant messaging, social media and Big Data, distributed and networked IoT, this seems not to be the case anymore. IoT extends the idea of social media to embrace ‘things’ into the equation, to form something that the author defines as the ‘Thingbook’. The Thingbook generates images of us from the perspective of things and data based on a heterogeneous system of technologies that sense, capture, analysis and learn about the world in real-time. Through this real-time dimension reality oscillates from a representational paradigm to a performative one and to certain extent towards a paradoxical condition. This article will collect evidence of how IoT hypermediacy is increasingly changing communication from linguistic to iconic, and how data visualization and Artificial Neural Networks are changing ways of learning from text to images at the level of the Google Cat Algorithm where Facebook and Thingbook converge. This will look into practices that make extensive use of the image in the immediacy of communication, into evidence of how information derived from sensors is recomposed into images, and, to a certain extent, how the discourse around image and IoT or Big Data questions our concept of image and reality.

 

Refracted gaze of the quantified self.

Alexander C´etkovic´, Planetary Collegium.

The quantified-self movement advocates the use of measurements obtained from a variety of sensors around them and storing these digitally for further analysis and as a log of their lives. Their aim is to discover patterns in their lives that they have not previously been aware of or they strive to achieve certain goals. Their motto is ’self-knowledge through numbers’. I would like to put the image of oneself created by quantified- self methods into the perspective of the refracted gaze, a term used by Lutz and Collins to describe a hidden curriculum of anthropologists using Polaroid photographs to observe natives as they receive selfknowledge by observing their own portraits. They point out that mirrors and cameras are tools of selfreflection and surveillance as each creates a double of the self, a second figure who can be examined more closely than the original – a double that can also be alienated from the self, taken away, as a photograph can be, to another place. The deconstructed image that is created through the quantified-self experience is supposed to create an objective and impartial picture of the self. Yet, at the same time, the interpretations and visualizations of such data are strongly influenced by the designers of the different apps with which it is tracked and displayed. Not only does the digitalization alienate the action from the experience, but it can be seen as a further step towards an abstraction of ourselves and the opposite of what the quantified-self is supposed to be about, bringing us closer to our bodies.

 

Dust Image Fragments Ghosts.

Regina Dürig, Berne University of the Arts.

‘Dust Image Fragments Ghosts’ is an artistic exploration of my view of heterotopia from a writer’s perspective, the dimension of the fragmental, and the space in between the text and the reader. The starting point are 3D micrographs of dust samples from mobile and immobile cultural artefacts, which were part of a research project which investigated the aesthetic potential of dust and its information content from the perspective of the conservation and restoration. Dust has the power to make visible the absent, to show what must have been there. Fragments as a literary form show what might be there, in between or around. ‘Dust Image Fragments Ghosts’ follows the traces of seemingly empty space. It is a reflexive literary expedition into the landscapes of dust, a ghostly universe between micro and macro, reader and writer, image and imagination.

 

The Atemporal Mirror.

David Eastwood, University of New South Wales.

As a museological genre proliferating in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, the posthumously reconstructed artist’s studio is synonymous with the information age’s impulse to store and retrieve data. Accordingly, historic studios presented as museum artefacts might be thought of as symptoms of ‘a new breed of temporality whereby nothing ever dies’. This article examines the coalescence of present and historical contexts operating within the reconstructed studio of Francis Bacon, relocated from its original location at 7 Reece Mews in London to Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane. Bacon’s blemished, circular mirror is conspicuous amid the detritus in the artist’s chaotic studio. From a sleek object originating in Bacon’s early design career, to its apparent role as a prop in the Reece Mews studio, and its current status as a museum artefact, this mirror has borne witness to the shifting contexts of Bacon’s studio. It can be understood as a portal through which spatial, material and temporal phenomena appear reconfigured. As such, Bacon’s studio mirror will be considered in terms of its potential to exert posthumous influence, and provoke contemporary art practice predicated on atemporality.