On Expansion: Photography’s Status in a Digital World

Conversation Series: On Expansion: Photography\’s Status in a Digital World – Part 1. Courtesy AGM. January 2013. Courtesy AGM

Participants: Andrew Prescott, KGL, Anna Bentkowska-Kafel, KGL, Anna Reading, KGL, Gillian Youngs, Brighton University, Marialaura Ghidini, University of Sunderland, Gair Dunlop, University of Dundee, Alfredo Cramerotti, Curator and Writer, University of South Wales, Michael Takeo Magruder, artist in residence, KGL
Tech coordination and video: Emma Puente
Location: Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, January 2014

On Expansion was a closed-door discussion/workshop led by curator Alfredo Cramerotti (Director, MOSTYN) in partnership with artist/researcher Michael Takeo Magruder (DDH, KCL) that will attempt to unpack certain aspects of the status of photography in an increasingly digital world.

The event focussed on two lines of enquiry, namely: What is photography’s ontological status in the world today when thought in relationship to the omnipresence of the digital image and video? How does this (digital) photographic moment in the history of image-making change the methodology of artistic and curatorial inquiries, their value, and their justification?

The discussion considered how the visual translations of ideas through various networked social systems have a major impact on our artistic and curatorial practices; examining how – now – images are made, distributed, recycled or found; and how curators are curating contemporary artists using new technology to reflect upon its meaning today (e.g. Instagram and Pinterest curating; mass media curating; artistic approaches to online-based photography; etc.)

It explored how the artistic and curatorial act of making, manipulating, distributing and ‘digesting’ pictures is hybridized by devices like mobile phones, tablets and computers but, also, glasses and game consoles (e.g. how networked technological systems determine what we artistically produce, what we curatorially mediate, and what we ‘absorb’ as audience)
By inviting specialists and practitioners from diverse backgrounds, On Expansion looked at the ways in which conceptions about photography, art, digital practices and curating are in flux, and how these shifts – particularly in the artistic production and curatorial presentation of photography – can engender new ways of thinking about archives, collections, exhibitions and 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