Date, 2018
5. Unlearning Imperial Sovereignties

Cameras are a product of imperialism’s scopic regime. However, imperial rights are not fully inscribed in the device. The unifocality of the camera and what Aïm Deüelle Lüski calls its verticality partition the space where it is located into what or who is “in front of it” and what or who is “behind it.” more

Published: 24.10.2018
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4. Unlearning Imperial Rights to Take (Photographs)

The millions, whose photographs are taken, are not referred to in any meaningful way in the histories and theories of photography. Beaumont Newhall’s The History of Photography is a paradigmatic example. His fourth chapter, for example, is titled “Portraits for the Million.” more

Published: 09.10.2018
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3. Unlearning Expertise Knowledge and Unsettling Expertise Positions

Through this combined activity of destroying and manufacturing “new” worlds, people were deprived of an active life and their different activities reduced and mobilized to fit larger schemes of production and world engineering. Through these schemes, different groups of governed peoples were crafted and assigned access to certain occupations, mainly non-skilled labor that in turn enabled the creation of a distinct strata of professions with the vocational purpose of architecting “new” worlds and furnishing them with new technologies. more

Published: 28.09.2018
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2. Unlearning Images of Destruction

To take this excursion to 1492 as the origin of photography—exploring this with and through photography—requires one to abandon the imperial linear temporality and the way it separates tenses: past, present, and future. One has to engage with the imperial world from a non-imperial perspective and be committed to the idea of revoking rather than ignoring or denying imperial rights manufactured and distributed as part of the destruction of diverse worlds. In order to clarify this trajectory, I will start with a few photos taken in different times and places, which I propose to explore alongside early accounts of imperial expeditions. more

Published: 17.09.2018
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1. Unlearning the Origins of Photography

Imagine that the origins of photography go back to 1492.

What could this mean? First and foremost, that we should unlearn the origins of photography as framed by those who were crowned its inventors and other private and state entrepreneurs, as well as its association with a technology that can be reduced to discrete devices held by individual operators. In The Civil Contract of Photography, I proposed to displace photography’s origins from the realms of technology to the body politic of users and reconstruct from its practices a potential history of photography. more

Published: 06.09.2018
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5. Black Visuality

I’d like to begin my final blog post by invoking a prerogative that in many ways has served as its unarticulated guiding principle: the right to articulate an unfinished thought. It’s a prerogative I insist upon as core to my own practice of intellectual inquiry. This blog was intended to function as precisely such an exercise in generative open-ended thinking. more

Published: 08.08.2018
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4. Refusal

Much to my delight and relief, I’m finally home. After close to six weeks on the road, my travels have come to an end. But since returning to the welcoming embrace of my husband, friends, dog, cat, and assorted loved ones, I still find myself strangely unsettled. I’m sure this sense of restlessness is the leftover rumble in my head of encounters with so many new people, places, artworks, and perspectives that continue to reverberate in me. more

Published: 24.07.2018
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3. Slow Walking

Similar to my last post, this one also finds me in a state of transition. As usual, I’m on a plane. No need to linger on points of departure or arrival. But I will say that I find transit an oddly generative space. Planes and trains, in particular, are like cocoons for me; places where my thoughts tend to gush uncontrollably in the confines of airborne capsules or their earthbound equivalents. more

Published: 05.07.2018
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2. Still-Moving-Images

Rereading my last blog post in preparation for the next, I realized that I neglected to include an important note of contextualization. I’m writing this quite literally on the move, or as my father fondly describes it, I am working while ‘galavanting.’ The introduction was composed on a plane and the first post was written in Berlin, a city that was my home for seven formative years. more

Published: 19.06.2018
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1. Frequency

A few years ago, in the middle of writing my last book, I asked a former student, a brilliant musicologist named Matthew Morrison, to help me understand the relationship between two terms that formed the bridge for my conception of the link between sound and images: frequency and register. He was finishing his dissertation and apologized profusely for the muddiness of his thinking. more

Published: 05.06.2018
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18.04.–31.05.2018
5. A Photo of the Future

A chronological image of time is the ideal image of a contemporaneity that implies all three time aspects and relates them to each other in a seamless form. In a chronological time image, the present was futural, is present, and will be past. This image of time privileges a present that is present, that in the future will have been, and that has yet to arrive in the past.  more

Published: 22.05.2018
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4. Our Others

We are interested in how temporal and subjective asynchronies enter into relationships.

A photograph says I am in a mysterious way. There is an I that we usually regard as the first I of a photograph. A photographer presses the shutter release and leaves a photographic trace. He is invisible in the image. Someone or something other is in the image. The picture may have been developed much later, may have been seen much later. more

Published: 11.05.2018
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3. Touching Screens

One question that returns in the digital age is that of the correlation of subjects and their bodies to their sense objects: how do we, as subjects, relate to images we see and things we touch? It is very tempting to posit a mythic immediacy that has at some point been lost or been undermined by media and technology. And in that case, the only choice is to make the journey back, the same journey back to the time that is past. more

Published: 02.05.2018
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2. Contemporaneity

In analyzing contemporaneity with the present, the past, or the future, we refer to pictorial practices, spatial design, and architecture from a poetic perspective. Our goal is always the creation (poiesis) of a space where real shifts can operate. Our supposition concerning pictorial media, for example, is that they serve a function for visuality that resembles the function the twentieth-century present tense novel served for language: novels in the present tense endow this tense with a new quality, namely the capacity for shifting positions of the self in space and time, which the present tense does not possess in everyday usage. more

Published: 24.04.2018
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1. Introduction

We would like to continue a conversation we began last year with Mario Garcia Torres, a conversation about the temporality of photographic images.
Our idea, our attempt then was to get beyond the statement that, because they are recordings, photographic images institute a past. Of course, when a photographic image reaches us, we never fully forget that it was previously recorded by someone. Someone decided on this moment and transformed it, with the help of the camera, into a past moment. more

Published: 18.04.2018
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5. La Rue des Lots of Greek Fast Food Places

From Brussels Central Station I walk down to Rue du Marché aux Fromages. I have a job to do. Let's say I'm about to begin a research project on food photography in the post-digital European city. Expected duration: one day. It has to start here and no place else because Rue du Marché aux Fromages really should be named Rue des Lots of Greek Fast Food Places. There's one gyros place and then another gyros place next door and then another gyros place next door. more

Published: 31.03.2018
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4. Not from Stone

At first I just wanted to find out what it feels like to write on analog photographs. Not about/on. Actually on. On the prints themselves. For some of us that's routine. Say you're the 1994 Winter Olympics Gold Medal Winner in the Men's Normal Hill Ski Jump. You've probably been signing autograph cards with your photo on it for a while now. But we don't all enjoy that privilege. And it's a bit different, anyway, to actually take a pen to photographs of other human beings. more

Published: 21.03.2018
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3. Waiting for the Train (and for the Holocaust Memorial Repair Crew)

The damaged Holocaust memorial rises from the mud. This is Paderborn, Germany. Kasseler Tor, to be precise, a commuter train station minutes from downtown. I get off here on my way to work. There's a convent to the left and a halfway house to the right. The university's a brief walk up the hill. Paderborn is about the size of Bridgeport, Connecticut, or Bern, Switzerland, or Blackpool, England. But when you're waiting for an outbound train at Kasseler Tor (off-peak: one per hour; peak: two), the place appears desolate. If you choose to ignore the memorial. more

Published: 06.03.2018
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2. The Creased Portrait of a Lady

Someone smiled decades ago and now she stops you in your tracks. Early in 1953 Sarah Jackson posed for a studio photographer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She was 16 years old, a high school senior with six siblings. On Mississippi Street her family ran “Jackson Groceries.” Because Sarah worked so hard in the store, her father called her “Jim.” She was engaged to be married to a man named Wilbert Olinde. more

Published: 19.02.2018
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1. Ripping Up Mountains

A kerosene monster is tearing up the skies. I’m on Austrian Airlines flight 232 from TXL to VIE and I see this town called Gmunden on Lake Traunsee, Salzkammergut, Austria. On Traunsee’s clear blue waters a white ferry floats, decorated with multicolored flags. I see a church on the far shore and those amazing mountains. A middle-aged man of privilege in seat 17 C, I am about to do enormous damage to beautiful Gmunden and gorgeous Traunsee.  more

Published: 05.02.2018
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4. Robots, Race, and Gender

Last week, I attended a meeting organized by Gendered Innovations at Stanford University in Northern California. While there, I was thinking about the algorithmically-driven software that will be embedded in anthropomorphized computers – or robots – that will be entering the market soon. In this post, I want to offer a provocation, and suggest that we continue to gather interdisciplinary scholars to engage in research that asks questions about the re-inscribing of gender in both the software and hardware.  more

Published: 30.01.2018
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3. The Problems of Platform Protections

Yesterday, I celebrated the national Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in the United States, on the heels of the President of the United States doubling down on his racist agenda with abhorrent comments against people of color, immigrants, and those who don’t reflect his vision of America, an America where nazis and white supremacists are legitimated through more than just his re-tweets on Twitter. When we discuss Dr. King’s legacy, we spend considerable time talking about Dr. King’s commitments to ending poverty and economic oppression, which is fundamentally tied to racial and gender oppression.  more

Published: 16.01.2018
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2. The Problems of Profiting from Internet Pollution

At the end of 2017, I attended and participated in an international conference on internet content moderation, All Things in Moderation, at the University of California, Los Angeles, organized by my long-time research collaborator, Dr. Sarah T. Roberts, an authority on commercial content moderation. This conference was the first of its kind, bringing in stakeholders for public conversations that reflected the concerns of industry, activists, content moderation workers, journalists, academics, and policy makers. In today’s blog post, I want to talk about the ethical dimensions of regulating the internet and digital media platforms, whether by content moderation, algorithms and automated decision-making systems, or by public policy. more

Published: 08.01.2018
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