CFP Conference Image Net/Works

Date: 8 December 2018
Location: Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland
Deadline: 15 September 2018

Image Net/Works is a conference organised by Lucerne University of Applied Arts and Sciences in collaboration with Fotomuseum Winterthur to tackle issues related to photography’s changing role in the context of contemporary political-economic systems.

Photographic media have become central to the productive activities of today’s digital economy. Discourses around immaterial and digital labour (Lazzarato 1996, Hardt and Negri 2000, Terranova 2000, Fuchs 2013) have attempted to develop new models to address increasingly complex modes of production tied to global digital networks. On the other hand, various approaches in media theory (Flusser 1987, Rubinstein and Sluis 2008, Steyerl 2009, Hoelzl and Marie 2015) have explored new forms of photographic production, describing new relations between photographers and the apparatus, as well as images and viewers. The discourse on the changing nature of labour is tightly connected to the role that photographic media, in their algorithmic and networked form, play in a society where information technology has become a dominant force. So far photography has received little attention beyond wider and more general reflections about media’s role as digital commodities and the internet as a playground for cognitive labour.

Image Net/Works will attempt to connect these separate but overlapping discourses. The conference will specifically focus on images and the associated economies of looking, producing and sharing. It will investigate contemporary and historical modes of photographic production and forms of labour that are connected to the computational exchange of pictures, the harvesting of attention, new kinds of image value and photography’s various roles in the current economic system.

The conference is an integral part of the SITUATIONS programme at Fotomuseum Winterthur and part of the Post-Photography research project. It will take place in the context of the exhibition SITUATIONS / To look is to labor (opening 7 December at 6 pm).

We welcome applications by researchers and artists working on this subject. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • Economies of looking (spectacle, propaganda, advertisements, clickbaits, etc.)
  • Exchange and use value of networked images (online sharing, ‘likes’ and ‘followers’, etc.)
  • Labour behind the production of images (metadata, tagging, censorship, etc.)
  • Attention economy and value extraction in image networks (fan labour, eye tracking, meme circulation, etc.)

Proposals that shed light on historical material from perspectives related to the abovementioned issues are also welcome.

The conference language is English. Submissions should include a title and an abstract (up to 300 words), as well as a CV, and should be submitted to by 15 September 2018. Accommodation and travel allowance will be provided.

For any enquiries, please contact:

Marco de Mutiis
Wolfgang Brückle

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