Exhibiting the Medium Formally Known as Photography at ZHdK

For any Swiss readers: Peter Cornwell, Director of the Data Futures project based in the IMCC, is giving a lecture this evening (Friday 11th December) with Duncan Forbes, Director and Curator of Fotomuseum Winthertur, on “Exhibiting the Medium Formally Known as Photography”.

The talk is at ZHdK (the Zurich University of the Arts) at 6.00 pm in room 6.K04.

The last decade has witnessed dramatic changes in the exhibition of photography in response to the rise of so-called post-photography and the distributed or transitive nature of photographic media. The idea of photography as one medium is increasingly impossible to sustain, as images flood across different platforms, combining still and moving forms, and offering new modes of reception and creative interaction. Nowadays the photograph is as much data as it is aesthetic or narrative, forging a new paradigm of algorithmic vision. What does it mean for photography and its audiences when the ‘traffic in photographs’ is transformed by global networks and the management of big data?

Taking Fotomuseum Winterthur as a case study, this lecture explores what these changes mean for curatorial practice and the institution of the photography museum. What would a post-photographic exhibition programme look like and what are the challenges of installation and interpretation? How should a photography museum position itself today, in relation to both physical and virtual audiences? What does it mean for the infrastructure of the museum as online platforms and retina displays proliferate and preservation-quality digitization becomes the norm? Is the institutional production of algorithmic vision sustainable and what are the creative possibilities? And what does a culture of ubiquitous, and sometimes disorienting, change mean for the staging of the history of photography?

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