The photographic image introduced a radical new proposition about representation. Drawing, painting and printmaking required prolonged contemplation of subjects. The long exposures of early photography seemed to parallel that durational encounter. But the appearance of the snapshot changed that. The photogram was an isolated moment singled out that provided a new aesthetic and a new ethical quandary about the instant seized abruptly from the flow of time. The moving image may be seen as an attempt to heal this trauma in the flux of time, but one that created new modes of temporal alienation. Digital imaging, still and moving, alters the conditions of the photogram, bringing it closer to the processing of scientific instruments. In his blog series, thinking ahead of a proposed new avenue of research into the aesthetic politics of truth, Sean Cubitt draws on thinkers from Flusser to Badiou to consider the changing nature and function of time from the decisive moment to data visualisation.
Sean Cubitt is Professor of Film and Television at Goldsmiths, University of London and Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne. His publications include The Cinema Effect (2005), EcoMedia (2005), The Practice of Light: A Genealogy of Visual Technologies from Prints to Pixels (2014) and Finite Media: Environmental Implications of Digital Technology (2016). His co-edited collections include the open access anthology Digital Light (2015). Series editor for Leonardo Books at MIT Press, he researches political, technological and environmental media aesthetics.