Still Searching…

From 2012 to 2023, the discursive blog format of Fotomuseum Winterthur subjected all aspects of photography and its role in visual culture to interdisciplinary scrutiny. The approximately 50 bloggers that contributed to Still Searching… discussed photographic media and forms within their complex technological, capitalist and ideological networks and negotiated some of the most pressing and relevant questions surrounding photography.

Blog series: The Programmable Image

Jonathan Beller | 01.05. – 15.07.2017
The Programmable Image

From May to mid-July, Jonathan Beller dedicated his blog series to “The Programmable Image.” Photography, the writing with light, has had at least as profound an impact on planetary life as linear writing. Arguably, photography creates a crisis for linear writing and its affordances including linear thinking and linear time. Today the photographic image has become inseparable from politics, semiotics, sociality, finance, the security state, and computation. Indeed actually existing planetary life presupposes photography, and one could say that globality consists of the complex interactivity that constitutes photography. Recently Beller has proposed the notion of the programmable image as a way of rethinking the geo-political relation between photography, computation, sociality, and political economy. His blog posts are an endeavor to further develop and test this concept.

The Camera as Vast Automaton

Friday, 05.05.2017
<p>As the process of photography becomes generalized, and blends with social, financial, semiotic, political, ontological, computational functions and more, our understanding of photography shifts. Is photography a medium or is it now “media?”</p>

Like Totally

Wednesday, 17.05.2017
<p>Let’s take a step back here from the conceptually thrilling if psychologically chilling conclusion of the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">my last post</a> that stated that the POTUS-Twitter cyborg was at once AI, a programmed image and a programmable image. Let me add that this sci-fi sounding conclusion is not my “belief,” it is derived from where the concepts lead.</p>

Plantocracy of Computational Photography

Wednesday, 07.06.2017
<p>Well, this AI business only goes so far. We still have to fight. Or at least blend.</p> <p>Technically it is correct to say that photography, understood as a geopolitical and computational matrix of operations that organizes perception and consciousness on a planetary scale, is AI. There is no doubt this sedimentation of human practices has its own materiality, autonomy and intelligence that exceeds and outpaces the scope of mere human understanding. </p>

Photography, Computation, Radical Finance?

Monday, 03.07.2017
<p>So what can we do? Let’s leave the wearisome if still at times illuminating path of critique and take this blog in an unexpected direction. Simply stated, the visual has been a pathway of financialization, racialization and gender formation – and these vectors are inseparable in as much as they are always immanent in any mediation dependent upon contemporary technical infrastructure. Communication technologies have become forms of fixed capital that serve as deterritorialized factories that put people to work, each according to their ability, each according to their need, but this time with abilities and needs ordained by Capital.</p>


Friday, 14.07.2017
<p>Let’s speculate a bit further, shall we? Going back to the programmable image as deterritorialized factory functioning to generate profit in accord with the formula M-I-M’, let’s try to imagine what it would be like to refuse profit – that is to refuse profit at one’s own expense and at the expense of all those undergoing dispossession – dispossession of their senses, properties and bodies.</p>