Still Searching…

Nicht nur die Fotografie, sondern auch ihre Theorie und Geschichtsschreibung erfahren unter digitalen Bedingungen eine radikale Erweiterung. Fotografische Medien und Formen sind in komplexe technologische, kapitalistische und ideologische Netzwerke eingebunden; Expert_innen, die die Rolle fotografischer Bilder wissenschaftlich untersuchen, kommen entsprechend aus ganz unterschiedlichen Disziplinen. Die Erweiterung des Diskurses um fotografische Bilder bildet sich auch auf dem Theorie-Blog Still Searching… des Fotomuseum Winterthur ab, der sich seit 2012 interdisziplinär mit allen Aspekten der Fotografie und ihrer Rolle in der visuellen Kultur beschäftigt. Eingeladene Blogger_innen des Online- Formats bewegen sich an vorderster Front der Forschung und schärfen unseren Blick für die aktuellen und relevanten Fragestellungen rund um die Fotografie.

Blog series: Anthropocene

T.J. Demos | 01.05. – 15.06.2015
Anthropocene

From the beginning of May until June 15, T.J. Demos (professor in the Department of the History of Art and Visual Culture, and director of the Center for Creative Ecologies, at the University of California, Santa Cruz) is planning to engage with the relation between photography and ecology, specifically thinking about the so-called anthropocene and its limits and problems, and how these are negotiated and positioned photographically.

Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Gynocene: The Many Names of Resistance

Freitag, 12.06.2015
<div>In my past postings, I’ve pointed out how the Anthropocene thesis can be roundly criticized for its assorted failings. Nonetheless, the term remains significant for one reason: it registers the geological impact of human activities, and as such offers an important wedge—one that unites climate science and environmental studies with the environmental arts and humanities—against climate change denialism, funded generously by the destructive fossil-fuel industry. <br><br></div>
Blog series: Centrist Liberalism Triumphant: Postwar Humanist Reframing of Documentary

Jorge Ribalta | 01.06. – 15.07.2014
Centrist Liberalism Triumphant: Postwar Humanist Reframing of Documentary

Jorge Ribalta’s blog series draws inspiration from the title of the fourth volume of Immanuel Wallerstein’s landmark series on the modern world-system. Rather than a theoretical or philosophical discussion on the nature of documentary photography, the blog series proposes a historical understanding of documentary practices in photography, and specifically during the Cold War. Ribalta’s point is that the rise of documentary rhetoric and discourses in the prewar era reflected the need to provide a visual tool for the representation of the working class and its new agency in mass democracy. But histories of photographic modernism, mostly a postwar construction largely determined by Newhall’s contribution, offered specific “liberal” versions of the emergence of the documentary discourse that had long-lasting effects. For example, the hegemony of the FSA documentary overshadowed the rest of the 1930s documentary experiences, particularly that of the Worker Photography Movement. In the 1950s, the large shadow of the monumental The Family of Man invisibilized or re-signified other documentary experiments, like Italian Neorealism or Paul Strand’s photo book projects, just to mention two examples. In both cases, prewar and postwar, centrist liberalism is triumphant. In other words, liberal humanism seemed to be an unsurpassable discursive and ideological horizon in postwar photographic avant-gardes and its historical narratives. The blog series brings to discussion some ideas and intuitions dealing with the humanist condition of postwar documentary photography and its problems.

Heart of Darkness

Sonntag, 29.06.2014
<div>The 1960s are dark and phantasmagoric, like an ambiguous <em>terrain vague</em> or “nowhere land” in the periodization of photographic history. I’m not free from that uncertainty about the interpretation of this complex decade. It seems like a moment when the past was not quite over and the future had yet to start. </div>
Blog series: Modernist Revisitations

Claire Bishop | 15.09. – 31.10.2013
Modernist Revisitations

Claire Bishop is blogging about ‚modernist revisitations‘ – or, in her own words: „Sometimes it feels as if every art magazine I open, and every exhibition I visit, features at least one artist whose work earnestly addresses ‘failed utopias’, who is fascinated by ‘Modernist movements and collectives’, who is committed to ‘the re-enactment of historic high Modernist principles’, or who is drawn to ‘forgotten Modernist constructions that have crumbled over time’. Why this incessant retrospectivity? Are these revisitations in any way political, a response to the limitations of postmodern eclecticism? Or should they be viewed more critically, as an avoidance of contemporary politics by escaping into nostalgia celebration of the past? My blog hopes to raise some questions about the ubiquitous genre of modernist utopias in contemporary art.“

Monumental Bling

Dienstag, 24.09.2013
<p>It feels like a million new shows have just opened in Chelsea for the new season, and several of them chime perfectly with my theme for this blog: the retrospectivity of contemporary art, particularly the current fascination/obsession with Modernist art, architecture and design. In this post I’m going to focus on David Maljkovic at Metro Pictures, but also The Propeller Group at Lombard Fried; there are other shows too, but I’m going to save them for next week’s blog.</p>