Images enable us to see otherwise invisible worlds, but we are often hard-pressed to understand the relationship between the image and the world. There is a deep relationship between image-making and propaganda in all its forms, going back at least to the circulation of the emperor's idealized portraits on Roman coins. Every new imaging technology – from wood prints to film – came with new promises about the possible and confusion about the visible. The introduction of digital technologies accentuated these dynamics, enabling new kinds of images, blurring the lines between photography and data visualization.
Thus, images are never simply reliable representations of the real but are in and of themselves ambiguous, both in terms of their production as well as their interpretation. To reduce ambiguity, image-making is embedded in social processes of stabilization, from scientific methods to ethical standards of journalism. Today, a new crop of technologies to alter/generate sound and videos raise new questions of how to read these images, at a time when the social processes to stabilize them have not yet been developed, particularly in the context of social media.
Felix Stalder is a professor for Digital Culture in the Department Fine Arts of the Zurich University of the Arts. His work focuses on the intersections of cultural, political and technological dynamics, in particular on commons, control society, copyright and transformation of subjectivity. He not only works as an academic but also as a cultural producer, being a moderator of the mailing list <nettime> and a member of the World Information Institute as well as the Technopolitics Working Group (both in Vienna). Among his recent publications are «Digital Solidarity» (PML & Mute 2014) and «The Digital Condition» (Polity Press, 2018).
September 19th, 2020, 2:45 pm
Great Concert Hall, 7.K12. (level 7) [live video feed]