Visual Research on Networked Activism 29.02. – 18.10.2020 | Fotomuseum Winterthur


New forms of data circulation have completely altered the distribution of audiovisual materials and fueled the formation and organisation of protest movements. Social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are used as a tool to mobilise and coordinate thousands of protestors. At the same time, images of protest actions – staged or as documentary material – circulate online, catalysing a whole other dimension of the revolution through the digital space. Activist solidarity, but also pure voyeurism and the appropriation by mass media enable these images to spread virally. Their unpreventable circulation allows for counter-narratives that manage to undermine institutional control. Leaked images of state violence or human rights violations are deployed to make un(der)represented voices and viewpoints heard or/and to make acts of injustice, discrimination or surveillance and data abuse visible. Situations that might not have been witnessed before or were even censored can be uncovered with just one upload. Resistance also takes place at the level of code, when hacktivists trick algorithms in order to raise awareness of machine control or aiming to overthrow the power or knowledge monopolies of large (online) corporations. The curatorial team of Fotomuseum Winterthur has gathered visual research on two examples of such online phenomena in their attempt to uncover and undermine control mechanisms of state/corporate/machines by appropriating networked image practices.