Tag Archives: media/visual literacy

Lev Manovich – Instagram and Contemporary Image

Lev Manovich: photos, bio, complete CV.

Lev Manovich – Instagram and Contemporary Image

Instagram and Contemporary Image (2016) is a free new downloadable book by Lev Manovich.

The book methods combine traditional qualitative approaches of humanities and computational analysis of 16 millions of Instagram photos in 17 global cities carried out in Manovich’s lab (softwarestudies.com) since 2012.

The book chapters arebeing released online under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Creative Commons license. The chapters are posted online as they are completed. (Three chapters have already been published, and two more will be added during summer 2016.)

The Real Bias Built In at Facebook 

What you see on the social media giant is based on an algorithm. It’s anything but neutral.

The Real Bias Built In at Facebook – The New York Times

The first step forward is for Facebook, and anyone who uses algorithms in subjective decision making, to drop the pretense that they are neutral. Even Google, whose powerful ranking algorithm can decide the fate of companies, or politicians, by changing search results, defines its search algorithms as “computer programs that look for clues to give you back exactly what you want.”

But this is not just about what we want. What we are shown is shaped by these algorithms, which are shaped by what the companies want from us, and there is nothing neutral about that.

Makes me think of the witch in Snow White: “Magic mirror, on the wall – who is the fairest one of all?” Read full article for a good explanation how the algorithms on Facebook (and google) are controlling what we say while pretending to be neutral

Frederick Douglass’s Faith in Photography

Frederick Douglass’s Faith in Photography
How the former slave and abolitionist became the most photographed man in America.
By Matthew Pratt Guterl, New Republic

“New, cheaper techniques of reproduction, Douglass believed, allowed for a truer, more precise impression of the person on display. They also made it possible for the subject of the photograph to determine, to some extent, how people read and understood the image. Frame by frame, the authors of the volume show how carefully Douglass tried—in an age where, for so many people of color, this was simply unimaginable—to control meaning.” [read complete article]

Exposing the Invisible

 
Exposing the invisible > A  series of case studies, interviews and tools that explore the far reaches of metadata in its capacity to protect, investigate and expose abuses of power.

EXCERPT: Interesting interview and important essay on metadata  Harlo Holmes: Metadata or it Didn’t Happen | Exposing the Invisible (much more on the site)

How would you describe metadata?
Metadata is data about data. Primarily it’s the site that portrays the actual, what one would call the “Ur event”, i.e. how a particular digital property came into existence. So going back to your previous question of why I find it so interesting, it all goes back to Walter Benjamin’s idea of the replicability of art, how art in the modern age loses some of its luster because it’s so immediately accessible and is infinitely replicable. But metadata, I find, is a site that actually preserves that uniqueness even though things might be on their surface copied and filmed all over the place continuously, metadata is that site of originality.

What is CameraV?
CameraV begun its life as a mobile app named InformaCam created by The Guardian Project and WITNESS. It’s a way of adding a whole lot of extra metadata to a photograph or video in order to verify its authenticity. It’s a piece of software that does two things. Firstly it describes the who, what, when, where, why and how of images and video and secondly it establishes a chain of custody that could be pointed to in a court of law. The app captures a lot of metadata at the time of the image is shot including not only geo-location information (which has always been standard), but corroborating data such as visible wifi networks, cell tower IDs and bluetooth signals from others in the area. It has additional information such as light meter values, that can go towards corroborating a story where you might want to tell what time of the day it is. [read more]

 

Walid Raad

Unreliable Informants: A Walid Raad Primer [Hyperallergic]

A survey exhibition dedicated the work of Walid Raad, at the Museum of Modern Art, Oct 12, 2015-Jan 16 2016

Walid Raad was born in Lebanon in 1967, eight years before that country was rent by civil war. In a precursor to the ongoing bloodshed in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the conflict dragged on for fifteen years, claiming more than 100,000 lives and creating a million refugees.

… Raad has taken up the tradition of artist-as-trickster — a role carried into modern art though the Dadaist antics of Marcel Duchamp’s transgender alter-ego, Rrose Sélavy — while reaching even farther back to the artist-as-historian-cum-fabulist. Some works trip you up and others leave you out in the cold. [ read more ]

 

Fashion Photos with Outfits Made from Trash in Senegal

Fashion Photos with Outfits Made from Trash Found in Polluted Areas of Senegal

“The Prophesy” is a striking series of photographs by photographer Fabrice Monteiro that shines light on the problem of pollution in Africa, yet offers a message of hope. Each image is a “high fashion photo” in which the garment is crafted from things found at locations that have been altered by trash.

Partnering with costume designer Doulsy and the Ecofund Organization, Monteiro visited 10 different polluted sites in the country of Senegal. The team created haute couture outfits using bits of things found here and there, and then photographed the models in front of the polluted environment as a backdrop.

from Peta Pixel

LAURA POITRAS and HITO STEYERL [together]

A conversation between two brilliant minds,  LAURA POITRAS and  HITO STEYERL, in the pages of Art Forum May 2015
 A few excerpts:

LP: The limits of my imagination are much less interesting than what I encounter going into the field and filming. So yes, it obviously changed the narrative. But part of vérité filmmaking, and documenting in the present tense as things unfold, is going where the story leads. It’s uncertain and scary at times, but that is why there is drama.

HS: What kind of storytelling can adapt to the technological novelty and also to the vastness of the database as an archive?

….how does the editor work in the twenty-first century? Especially if, as in your case, the editor is also the person with the movie camera and the Soundbeam and the encrypted hard drive; she is a writer who designs a whole infrastructure of communication.

HS on Editing:
… And I think that editing, not only in filmmaking but in a lot of different activities, is a crucial activity. Postproduction is not working on content in retrospect but creating the content. Editing is where the meaning is created.

Godard said an edit could be an “and” or an “or.” That is how traditional film or video editing works. But now editing, with newer media and with physical reality becoming mediatized to a large extent, becomes a much more expanded activity, being able to channel and process information and to put together meaning in a much more expanded field.

Now instead of expanded cinema, it’s expanded editing, expanded postproduction, and circulation across different platforms and formats. I think it’s one of the crucial lenses through which to analyze contemporary activities.

LP: I think in the art world, duration is often seen as transgressive because it’s somehow forcing the audience to go beyond their comfort level, to subject them to an endurance test. And yet duration is absolutely accepted within mainstream cinema. So duration is perceived very differently in those two domains. Warhol, of course, was the supreme example of really pushing that in beautiful ways.

[read entire article]

“Hito Steyerl” is on view at Artists Space, New York, through May 24. “Laura Poitras” will be on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Feb. 5–May 15, 2016.

Hito Steyerl, How Not to be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational .MOV File, 2013more links:
Hito Steryl in e-flux and more articles in Art ForumLaura Poitrais Praxis Films

‘Haunted Files: The Eugenics Record Office’

‘Haunted Files: The Eugenics Record Office’ Recreates a Dark Time in a Laboratory’s Past  NYTimes.com.

Haunted Files: The Eugenics Record Office,” a new exhibit at NYU’s Asian/Pacific/American Institute, transports visitors to 1924, the height of the eugenics movement in the United States. Inside a dimly lit room, the sounds of an old typewriter click and clack, a teakettle whistles and papers shuffle. The office’s original file cabinets loom over reproduced desks and period knickknacks. Creaky cabinets slide open, and visitors are encouraged to thumb through copies of pseudoscientific papers.

“There’s a haunted quality, that’s the nature of the files,” said John Kuo Wei Tchen, a historian at N.Y.U. and co-curator of the exhibit.  “We hoped we could evoke a visceral feeling of what it was like to be in a detention center, where people were presumed to be ineligible unless proven otherwise.”

When the Eugenics Record Office opened its doors in 1910, the founding scientists were considered progressives, intent on applying classic genetics to breeding better citizens. Funding poured in from the Rockefeller family and the Carnegie Institution. Charles Davenport, a prolific Harvard biologist, and his colleague, Harry H. Laughlin, led the charge. [read more]

Hank Willis Thomas on Black Male Identity

Re-blogging from photoandimaging.net

“What Is Common to All of Us?” Redefining Black Male Identity
by Hank Willis Thomas
Creative Time Reports.

Drawing from his collaborative transmedia project “Question Bridge: Black Males,” the artist Hank Willis Thomas examines the racial context of the 2012 killing of Jordan Davis as the man who shot the 17-year-old Florida resident, Michael Dunn, is retried for murder.

Screenshot from “Question Bridge: Black Males,” a collaborative transmedia project of Chris Johnson, Hank Willis Thomas, Bayeté Ross Smith and Kamal Sinclair.

Every person has a “day of infamy” in his or her life. For the parents of Jordan Davis, that day was November 23, 2012. For the parents of Trayvon Martin, it was February 26, 2012. For the parents of Michael Brown, it was August 9, 2014. For me, it was February 2, 2000—a Tuesday. That was the day I lost Songha Thomas Willis, my cousin, roommate, best friend and, for all intents and purposes, big brother. He was shot dead in front of dozens of people during a robbery in which he did not resist. [read more]

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{Proud to say that Hank was a alumnus of Photography & Imaging and a student in my senior projects class.}