photography

An Artist Stares Back at the Surveillance State

Screen Shot 2017-05-27 at 4.36.16 pm

Screen Shot 2017-05-27 at 4.36.16 pm

Here is a nice little interview with Trevor Paglen talking broadly about his work, new ways of seeing, image making and machine vision.

"Multimedia artist Trevor Paglen is mapping out the new landscape of digital communications and surveillance. In this wide-ranging interview the photographer, sculptor, geographer and writer talks about how he is learning to see the historical moment we live in. Video: Gabe Johnson; Photo: Trevor Paglen" [source]

http://www.wsj.com/video/an-artist-stares-back-at-the-surveillance-state/F7C6D25A-1009-48B7-8F73-CF9EFBB164F3.html

Invisible Images

(Your Pictures Are Looking at You)

http://thenewinquiry.com/essays/invisible-images-your-pictures-are-looking-at-you/

By TREVOR PAGLEN

We need to learn how to see a parallel universe composed of activations, keypoints, eigenfaces, feature transforms, classifiers, training sets, and the like. But it’s not just as simple as learning a different vocabulary. Formal concepts contain epistemological assumptions, which in turn have ethical consequences. The theoretical concepts we use to analyze visual culture are profoundly misleading when applied to the machinic landscape, producing distortions, vast blind spots, and wild misinterpretations.

We no longer look at images–images look at us. They no longer simply represent things, but actively intervene in everyday life. We must begin to understand these changes if we are to challenge the exceptional forms of power flowing through the invisible visual culture that we find ourselves enmeshed within.

 

(Research Image) “Disgust” Custom Hito Steyerl Emotion Training Set

Gestures of coincidence:

Some earlier experiements with facial detection results 1/2 : more happy than disgusted – from the corrupted self series according to microsoft.com/cognitive-services api

Hito Steyerl and me displaying outward emotional expressions of disgust 

My level of disgust seems to be far less than Hito's ability to display displeasure.

"I Sell the Shadow to Support the Substance"

Here's a fascinating post from Art Blart (aka: Dr. Marcus Bunyan). Its an archival project from the The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) who are currently running an exhibition on the runaway slave Sojourner Truth, who was an abolitionist, feminist, and orator during the 1800's and the American Civil War. It not only documents her fervent drive for equality but it also speakes about her relationship with the image and the use of the photographic carte de visite as a propaganda tool to expose the realities of injustice.

Her use of the existing technologies of the time to disrupt the status quo is a testament to the power of simplicity and the effectiveness that the image can bring to raise awareness of social and political issues. "Truth used her image, the press, the postal service, and copyright laws to support her activism and herself." It also reflects her understanding of the value that images carry, as she equated her own image as a commodity. The wording on the cards is also carefully considered to speak to her own image and "Truth’s use of the first-person present tense “I sell” declares her ownership of her image: to sell it, she must own it. Most significantly, by using this caption Sojourner Truth knowingly aligned her photographs with paper money." (source: BAMPFA).

In a strange way it makes me think of Ferguson, Baton Rouge, Nice, just to name a few. But it also makes me think of the ubiquity of the image in our times, the agency that it might or might not carry and whether we have reached a 'saturation-density' that has marganilised the images affect. But what makes Sojourner Truth's story different is that she has made a consious decision to employ the image as a tool, not only for self-expression but as a means of dissent as well. Here intent becomes a function of outcomes and observation is left to those who interpret them.

Her possession of self is intimately tied to the photographic depiction of her bodily form. She sells the photograph to support the body and, as her agency, the images become a form of self-actualisation. In this sense the image that she controls becomes her holistic body, for she never displays her injured hand or the scars on her back that she were inflicted on her during slavery. (Bunyan, 2016)

During the Civil War, a ferocious debate raged about whether paper could represent value like coin. Paper greenbacks – the first federally issued banknotes in American history – were attacked by those who believed that money was not a representation but a “substance.” Hard money advocates (naively) believed that gold was value, not its representation…. Like paper bills, cartes de visite functioned during these years as currency and as clandestine political tokens.

Sojourner Truth’s very terms, “substance” and “shadow,” were economic as well as photographic metaphors in the fierce debates about money: shadow was aligned with the abolition of slavery, substance with proslavery and anti-black sentiment. Sojourner Truth knew this opposition very well. She was making cheap paper notes, printed and reproduced in multiples, featuring her portrait. She had invented her own kind of paper currency, and for the same reasons as the government: in order to produce wealth dependent on a consensus that representation produces material results, to make money where there was none, and to do so partly in order to abolish slavery.

The photographs of Sojourner Truth register only her appearance, not her commanding presence. They are shadows, and some are more elusive and mute than others. Yet the printed words – name, caption, and copyright – remain forthright: her speech, authorship, and recourse to law coexist with her image. Those printed words force us to acknowledge the illiterate woman’s authorship, as well as her eloquence, her agency, and her legal claim to property, even as we value these humble objects. [source: http://bamlive.s3.amazonaws.com/SojournerTruth-brochure.pdf]

Exhibition dates: 27th July – 23rd October 2016 ‘I Sell the Shadow to Support the Substance’ Former New York slave Sojourner Truth (which literally means “itinerant preacher”) strategically deployed photography as a form of political activism. This deployment is part of a long tradition of photography being used in the African American struggle for political change, from […]

via Exhibition: ‘Sojourner Truth, Photography, and the Fight Against Slavery’ at The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), Berkeley — Art Blart

Dr Marcus Bunyan* is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne. (source: https://artblart.com/dr-marcus-bunyan-writes-art-blart/)

* He makes great images too! HERE

sojourner_truth_lecture
sojourner_truth_lecture
2b-sojourner-truth-verso-web   [image] Unknown photographer  (American) Captioned carte de visite of Sojourner Truth (back) 1864. Albumen print mounted on cardboard. 4 x 2 1/2 in. UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, gift of Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby

2b-sojourner-truth-verso-web

[image] Unknown photographer (American) Captioned carte de visite of Sojourner Truth (back) 1864. Albumen print mounted on cardboard. 4 x 2 1/2 in. UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, gift of Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby

3-sojourner-truth-web   [image] Unknown photographer  (American). Captioned carte de visite of Sojourner Truth c. 1864-65. Albumen print mounted on cardboard. 4 x 2 1/2 in. UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, gift of Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby

3-sojourner-truth-web

[image] Unknown photographer (American). Captioned carte de visite of Sojourner Truth c. 1864-65. Albumen print mounted on cardboard. 4 x 2 1/2 in. UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, gift of Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby

STEM vs STEAM

Tailleur-de-pierre_main [image] photo credit: Charles Nègre, La tailleur de pierre, salt print from a collodion on glass negative, summer 1853 courtesy of Hans P. Kraus, Jr. | New York. Retrieved from http://stemtosteam.org/case-studies/

A fascinating conversation on Radio NZ between Noelle McCarthy and Professor Bruce Sheridan around creativity, generating ideas, improvisation, education, failure and a lot more... the ideas around 'STEM' (science, technology, engineering and maths) vs STEAM (add art to the mix) was a great analogy. A 'stem' rooted to the ground as opposed to 'steam' which has the ability to be everywhere ... read more here http://stemtosteam.org ... and listen to interview on Radio New Zealand here

Bruce Sheridan: psychology of creativity

Bruce Sheridan is the Chair of Cinema Art + Science at Columbia College, Chicago, and North American regional Chair of CILECT, the world organisation of film and media schools. He has returned to New Zealand as the fourth Creative Fellow for the University of Auckland’s Creative Thinking Project, to deliver a series of public lectures drawing on recent research into creativity and discussing evidence from neuroscience and cognitive psychology to make the case for reintegrating art and science in education. RNZ