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2. Brecht’s UK Tour

The 1970s conjuncture in Britain that I want to discuss saw photography, and specifically documentary photography, aligned with what Sylvia Harvey termed ‘political modernism’ (strictly speaking, this would be second-wave political modernism). Examples might include works by Jo Spence, the Hackney Flashers Collective, the Women’s Workshop of the Artists’ Union who created the Women and Work exhibition, the Berwick Street Film Collective, Peter Dunn and Lorraine Leeson, Mary Kelly and Victor Burgin’s works between 1975 and 1976. These practices were closely identified with the work of the film-maker Jean-Luc Godard, particularly his collaborative Dziga Vertov Group films, but Bertolt Brecht’s ideas from the second-quarter of the twentieth century were pivotal for many artists, photographers, film-makers and theorists to the extent that collectively this work is often described as ‘neo-Brechtian’. mehr

Veröffentlicht: 19.09.2017
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1. Undocumented: ‘Intensification, Contraction and Localization’

In the week that President Trump tried to pass off assorted white supremacists and storm troopers as equivalent to anti-fascists, an exhibition of photographs commemorating the ‘Battle of Lewisham’ in 1977 opened in Goldsmith College in the South London borough of Lewisham. In August 1977, massed anti-fascists confronted the far-right National Front. The clash in Lewisham was a decisive moment in halting the rise of the Nazi National Front in the UK. mehr

Veröffentlicht: 07.09.2017
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07.09.–31.10.2017

In a time of crisis and increasing anti-capitalism, Steve Edwards considers the meeting of the political Left with photography in Britain in the 1970s. Edwards insists the fortunes of documentary and the visibility of social class are entwined. Beginning from a discussion of the critical fortunes of documentary over the last 30 years, he looks at the interest in Brecht and the fall out from the so called neo-Brechtian moment. In the process, he re-evaluates theories and practices of documentary, engaging with a range of documentary work; conceptions of skill and collective production and women and labour.

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5. M-I-M’

Let’s speculate a bit further, shall we? Going back to the programmable image as deterritorialized factory functioning to generate profit in accord with the formula M-I-M’, let’s try to imagine what it would be like to refuse profit – that is to refuse profit at one’s own expense and at the expense of all those undergoing dispossession – dispossession of their senses, properties and bodies. mehr

Veröffentlicht: 14.07.2017
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4. Photography, Computation, Radical Finance?

So what can we do? Let’s leave the wearisome if still at times illuminating path of critique and take this blog in an unexpected direction. Simply stated, the visual has been a pathway of financialization, racialization and gender formation – and these vectors are inseparable in as much as they are always immanent in any mediation dependent upon contemporary technical infrastructure. Communication technologies have become forms of fixed capital that serve as deterritorialized factories that put people to work, each according to their ability, each according to their need, but this time with abilities and needs ordained by Capital. mehr

Veröffentlicht: 03.07.2017
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3. Plantocracy of Computational Photography

Well, this AI business only goes so far. We still have to fight. Or at least blend.

Technically it is correct to say that photography, understood as a geopolitical and computational matrix of operations that organizes perception and consciousness on a planetary scale, is AI. There is no doubt this sedimentation of human practices has its own materiality, autonomy and intelligence that exceeds and outpaces the scope of mere human understanding.  mehr

Veröffentlicht: 07.06.2017
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2. Like Totally

Let’s take a step back here from the conceptually thrilling if psychologically chilling conclusion of the my last post that stated that the POTUS-Twitter cyborg was at once AI, a programmed image and a programmable image. Let me add that this sci-fi sounding conclusion is not my “belief,” it is derived from where the concepts lead. mehr

Veröffentlicht: 17.05.2017
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1. The Camera as Vast Automaton

As the process of photography becomes generalized, and blends with social, financial, semiotic, political, ontological, computational functions and more, our understanding of photography shifts. Is photography a medium or is it now “media?” mehr

Veröffentlicht: 05.05.2017
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Aus der Series
The Programmable Image
01.05.–15.07.2017

From May to mid-July, Jonathan Beller dedicated his blog series to "The Programmable Image." Photography, the writing with light, has had at least as profound an impact on planetary life as linear writing. Arguably, photography creates a crisis for linear writing and its affordances including linear thinking and linear time. Today the photographic image has become inseparable from politics, semiotics, sociality, finance, the security state, and computation. Indeed actually existing planetary life presupposes photography, and one could say that globality consists of the complex interactivity that constitutes photography. Recently Beller has proposed the notion of the programmable image as a way of rethinking the geo-political relation between photography, computation, sociality, and political economy. His blog posts are an endeavor to further develop and test this concept.

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