2016
Brenna Murphy
Domain, Wrap, Extrude

Brenna Murphy’s prototype is a photographic sculptural installation that exists across both virtual and physical space. The physical realm is a printed tapestry placed on the floor. Using a Vive Virtual Reality headset the viewer explores a virtual landscape by physically walking around the tapestry area. Navigating a world of abstracted elements, the work explores the perceptual frameworks of an experience both virtual and embodied.

Faith Holland
Plastic Pixels

Plastic Pixels dissects the portraiture of stock photography to reveal the extent of its manipulation. Faith Holland separates the different layers of the portrait, paring the image back to create photographic ghosts that speak to the distortions of the beauty industry. But as she also suggests, the ghosts offer a glimpse into a not-too-distant future, one of manufactured humans, cyborgs designed and perfected by the algorithm.

Mario Santamaría
Zero Insertion

The prototype for Zero Insertion visualises the consequences of a virtual world gone wrong, the moment the Internet ‘breaks’ or ceases to transmit information. Disrupted feeds and the deterioration of images through missing data – so called packet loss – speak to processes of delay, misdirection and corruption. Our world of instant virtual access is transformed, generating spectral presences of disruption, out of place and out of time.

Maximilian Schmoetzer
The Salon of Clicks

Maximilian Schmoetzer’s prototype challenges what he describes as a new ‘techno-colonialism’ whereby states reconstruct destroyed monuments in the form of life-size facsimiles. Using ‘poor images’ found online he disrupts this strategy by exposing the fictional life of photographs. The computer-generated figure of Zenobia is introduced, a Northern Bald Ibis, found near the ruins of Palmyra. The bird, now vanished from Syria, becomes an emblem of critique, its dislocation challenging the techno-colonial ambitions of western governments.

Simen Musæus & AE
Haecceitic Lenses

Simen Musæus’ prototype engages with the possibility of creating semantically segmented images, cutting them up virtually and reorganising their form according to this segmentation. He simulates this process through scans of Norwegian beach-valleys, crunching complex topologies into geometry which can then be segmented and represented diagrammatically. The result is a transformative ecology expressed through data, a process heralding a semantic turn for images.

What effects do recent developments in computer vision have on photographic media and forms? What is the role of photographers within this transforming apparatus? As Artificial Intelligence not only learns to see and analyze images, but also potentially re-define the notion of ‘representation’, what are the critical implications of new imaging devices, socially, politically and culturally?

From screenshots to in-game photography, from CGI to neural networks, photographs are less and less dependent on the material world. Can we think of photography when no light, no lens and no physical subject is needed? What happens when photography is entirely simulated, virtualized or built from scratch through algorithms?

Images online compete for our attention, which in turn has become a currency of a specific economy. From memes to clickbaits, from cat videos to food porn, we are constantly lured and distracted, our time and gaze tracked, our attention quantified through the number of likes and followers. What are the possible futures of the image economy? How can this seemingly invisible ecosystem be exposed, challenged and critically discussed within the photographic field?

Our social interactions happen increasingly through online sharing platforms. How is our representation of the self changing and how does “social media photography” affect our identity and our social interactions? What is the role of photography in the age of universal voyeurism, Instagram stalking, celebrity hackerazzis and internet exhibitionism?

How is photography affected by the shift that sees images more transmission-oriented, constantly circulated over global networks and infinitely reproducible? Has photographic exchange become more democratic or just part of a different system of power? How do the properties of the network affect ideas of truth and representation in photographic media? Has the networked image increased propaganda or resistance?