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  • In todays lecture I want to start to bring together some of the seemingly disperate threads covered to date.
  • The refinement of mechanical, technical and scientific instruments have allowed for previously unseen objects, such as galaxies seen through the Hubble telescope, to be revealed. It should follow then that the image would become more authentic and more certain as a result.
  • In more recent yeas with the mass of personal video video cameras we have captured multiple versions and multiple images of events both private and public, one such evant being the Twin Towers disaster of September the 11th. It would seem by extension of this that in recent times there is a profusion of authentic and authenticated images within our culture, Yet in conjuncture with such visuals we also see a questioning of the image and its authenticity through a series of complex theories and arguments. This idea of the questioning the image and its autheniticity constitutes part of the agenda of the ensuing discussion inbedded in this lecture. There exists a constant struggle between the subject of the gaze and the veracity of the image, one example of this is the resistance to what is being seen, the visual disbelief of what is unfolding before our eyes. The image of the destruction of the Twin Towers for example is often described as unbelievable and so much like a disaster film. This notion of ‘extreme witnessing’ where the image confronts the spectators very subjectivity and operates at a level of seemingly disbelief is an extreme example of what in fact takes place every day.
  • In the most simplistic terms, we categorise images into the real and the unreal (the tree outside the window as distinct from the spaceship in a science fiction movie) and we have little difficulty in making the distinction. Yet a key element in any or all visual representation, from an advert to a painting, a film to a photograph, is the interplay between what we see and how it relates to us. Part of this pleasure and knowledge production is the image’s capacity to blur the real and the unreal for us. A far more common example and one less confronting than the Twin Towers images is the experience of looking at a photo of yourself but having the disbelief that it is yourself. We all have the feeling that some photos look more like us than others which implies that we have a sense of an image of ourselves that is fairly specific and yet some images deny us that status. How can we acknowledge that this a photo of ourselves and at the same time say it doesn’t look like us. Even of we separate out all the tricks of distortion, poor lighting, moments of odd facial expressions etc This is like the famous story of Sigmund Freud of how he was on a train and looked up and saw a grumpy old man staring at him only to realise that he had caught a glance of himself. Part of this is the image generates a sort of disbelief, the hallucionegenic effect which brings into question its own truth as a representation. This relationship I am talking about, of the image’s relationship to truth is one that always contains an element of disbelief. What changes in cultural and historical contexts are the degrees of this belief, these acts of faith and trust in an image and the shaping of the spectators positioning in terms of the image. The past 100 years or so have seen a strengthening of the mistrust of the authentic and a shifting away from the idea of the primacy of originals. It could therefore be said that the visual culture of today is premised on copy and the inauthentic. It is this collapse of the image or the collapse of the truth of the image that I am going to discuss.
  • The idea of authentification is complex because it contains within it not just the status of the image itself, whether it is considered real or false, whether it is seen as the original or the copy and so on but also our relationship to the image as spectators. On top of that there is a cultural contextualisation involved with regards to how a culture orders its perspective on the authentic and inauthentic image, of how certain images become more privileaged as more authentic than others. This is of course a two way process: on one hand tthere is the cultural ordering to position images in this manner and on the other there is a set of processes coming from the images themselves that determine how the spectators relate to such positionings.
  • Reproduction and Visual Technologies Both the conventions of imaging and the concepts of the visual have changed throughout history, through the evolution of art, photography, and most recently electronic imaging. A viewer may make assumptions about the historical status of an image from its style, medium, and formal qualities. Examining the role of realism in art throughout history helps us to see how images indicate changing ways of seeing the world. The concept of what makes an image realistic has changed throughout history and varies between cultures. The development of perspective as a convention of European art during the 15 th century Renaissance marks a fundamental shift in the depiction of reality. Perspective emphasizes a scientific and mechanical view toward ordering and depicting nature, and focuses a work of art toward a perceived viewer. The history of image production in Western culture can be viewed in four periods: (1) ancient art produced prior to the development of perspective in 1425 (2) the age of perspective until the era of the mechanical, including the Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, and Romantic periods (3) the modern era of technical developments with the rise of mechanization and the Industrial Revolution (4)the postmodern era of electronic technology
  • It can be said that photography emerged as a visual technology because it fit certain emerging social concepts and needs of the time. In combining scientific technique with art, like the technique of perspective, yet also employing a mechanical device, photography is in many ways the visual technology that helped to usher in the age of modernity. The shift to technologies of mechanical reproduction radically changes the privilege of looking and makes of these images a mass cultural activity. This is not only a quantitative shift but also a qualitative shift in the way images are viewed and interpreted. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction is a 1935 essay by German cultural critic Walter Benjamin, First successful form of photography Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre
  • Many styles of modern art that followed the invention of photography defied the tradition of perspective. For instance, the style of impressionism shifted its focus to light and color and aimed for visual spontaneity. Cubism was a style in which painted objects as if they were being viewed from several different angles simultaneously, and focused on the visual relationship between objects. According to Cubists, it is a means of depicting the restlessness and complicated process of human vision and a new way of looking at the real.
  • Modernist styles declared vision to be infinitely more subjective and complex. The idea that a perspective-based realistic view is actually no more than one of the many ways of representing human vision has been taken further by many contemporary artists. David Hockey: What is the “real” image here? At what “moment” was this image taken? Where is the spectator of this image positioned?
  • Mechanical reproduction changes the meaning and value of an image and, ultimately, the role images play in society. For instance, the invention of photography coincided with a cult of originality. Thus the value of the one-of-a-kind art work is derived from its uniqueness and its role in ritual. This aura of the image is a quality that makes it seem authentic because of its unique presence in time and space. The concept of authenticity refers to something that is thought to be genuine or original. Paradoxically, we live in a world in which the concept of authenticity is routinely reproduced, packaged, bought, and sold. Many copies can exist of a photographic image, of which their value lies not in their uniqueness but in their aesthetic, cultural, and social worth. The original, however, is more valuable, in both financial and social terms, than the copies. Some argue that the higher value comes not from the uniqueness of the image as one of a kind, but rather from it being the original of many copies. Through reproduction, an image can now be seen in many different contexts. How is the meaning of Edvard Munch’s, The Scream (1893), changed in each new context? How does the reproductions change the meaning of the original?
  • Since the 1980s, the development of digital images began to radically transform the meaning of images. Analog images bear a physical correspondence with their material referents and are defined by properties that express value along a continuous scale, such as gradation of tone. Digital images are encoded with bits of information and can be easily stored, manipulated, and reproduced. A “copy” of a digital image is exactly like the “original.” The digital image gains its value from its accessibility, malleability, and information status. Most digital images and simulations cannot be said to have been in the presence of the real world that they depict. How does this effect the idea of photographic truth? What impact does this have on news and historical images? The discovery that a news organization has altered an image often sparks controversy and debate. These organizations’ reputations were based on modern notions of photographic truth that clashed with the digital possibilities for image manipulation.
  • Virtual Space and Interactive Images Virtual images are simulations that represent ideal or constructed rather than actual conditions, and can be both analog and digital. Virtual reality (VR) describe the way that users experience the computer worlds in science and computer games. Virtual reality systems attempt to create an experience in which the user feels as if he or she is physically incorporated into the world represented on all sensory levels. Virtual space exits in opposition to the rules of traditional physical space. Users can navigate the space to create their own individual pathway. How can traditional cultural notions of authorship remain in place with the introduction of digital images and virtual space?
  • Are we experiencing another fundamental shift in the depiction of reality or as I should say, realities in the plural.
  • Do systems of representation reflect the world as it is, as a form of mimesis or imitation, or do we construct the world around us through our use of the systems of representation? Social constructionists argue that systems of representation do not reflect an already existing reality so much as they organize, construct, and mediate our understanding of reality, emotion, and imagination. However, the distinction can often be difficult to make. The creation of an image through a camera lens always involves some degree of subjective choice through selection, framing, and personalization. Despite this, photography has historically been regarded as more objective than painting or drawing. The combination of the subjective and objective is a central argument about photographic images. The term myth , as used by Roland Barthes, refers to the cultural values and beliefs that are expressed through connotations parading as denotations. Myth is the hidden set of rules and conventions through which meanings, which are in reality specific to certain groups, are made to seem universal.
  • The cultural meanings of and expectations about images are tied to the technology through which it is produced.
  • What gives an image social value? Images do not have value in and of themselves, they are awarded different kinds of value – monetary, social, and political – in particular social contexts. For example, in the art market, a painting gains its economic value through cultural determination concerning what society judges to be important in assessing works of art. The value of a television news image lies in its capacity to be transmitted quickly and widely to a vast number of geographically dispersed television screens. Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Diptych (1962) comments on the star’s iconic status as a glamour figure and a media commodity. He emphasizes that cultural icons can and must be mass-distributed in order for them to have mass appeal.
  • The Gaze: In 1975, filmmaker and writer Laura Mulvey published an essay about women in classical Hollywood cinema. She argued that conventions of popular cinema are structured by a patriarchal unconscious, positioning women represented in film as objects of a “male gaze” Her theory stated that the camera is used as a tool of voyeurism and sadism, disempowering those before its gaze. Changing concepts of the gaze Visual surveillance The Unsleeping Eye – substituted for a human eye D.G. Compton, 1973 , filmed as La mort en direct, 1980
  • The art of surveiliance
  • Sousveillance is a form of collectivism, and on the face of it seems in opposition to individualism
  • Power/Knowledge and Panopticism In 1785, the British philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), founder of the doctrine of Utilitarianism, began working on a plan for a model prison called the panopticon. The signature feature of this design was that every one of the individual jail cells could be seen from a central observation tower which, however, remained visually inscrutable to the prisoners. Since they could thus never know for sure whether they were being watched, but had to assume that they were, the fact of actual observation was replaced by the possibility of being watched. As a rationalist, Bentham assumed that this would lead the delinquents to refrain from misbehaving, since in order to avoid punishment, they would effectively internalize the disciplinary gaze. Indeed, Bentham considered the panoptic arrangement, whereby power operates by means of the spatial design itself, as a real contribution to the education of man, in the spirit of the Enlightenment. Images can both exert power and act as instruments of power. French philosopher Michel Foucault believed modern societies are structured on a basic relationship of power/knowledge. Modern societies power relations are structured to produce citizens who will actively participate in self-regulating behavior, such as obeying laws, participating in social norms, and adhering to dominant social values. Certain kinds of “knowledges” are validated in our society through social institutions such as the press, the medical profession, and education while other knowledges are discredited. Photographic images are instrumental in the production of what Foucault called the docile body of the modern state – citizens who participate in the ideologies of the society through a desire to fit in and conform According to Foucault, we internalize a managerial gaze that watches over us, and this imagined gaze makes us behave and conform. This is called panopticon. It idea is that the structure of surveillance, whether active or not, produces conforming behavior. the "participatory panopticon" -- the notion that the evolution of networked mobile personal cameras (i.e., cameraphones) will trigger big changes in how we interact with each other both individually and socially.
  • How prevalent is the idea of photographic identification? To what extent is the photograph integrated into institutional life? How are these photographs tied to questions of power?
  • CTRL [SPACE] Rhetorics of Surveillance from Bentham to Big Brother Edited by Thomas Y. Levin, Ursula Frohne and Peter Weibel This book investigates the state of panoptic art at a time when issues of security and civil liberties are on many people's minds. Traditional imaging and tracking systems have given way to infinitely more powerful "dataveillance" technologies, as an evolving arsenal of surrogate eyes and ears in our society shifts its focus from military to domestic space. From the photographs taken with hidden cameras by Walker Evans and Paul Strand in the early twentieth century to the appropriation of military satellite technology by Marko Peljhan a hundred years later, the works of a wide range of artists have explored the dynamics of watching and being watched.
  • RFID: Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is the use of an object (typically referred to as an RFID tag) applied to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person for the purpose of identification and tracking using radio waves. We have entered into an economy of power that positions us and how we view what we look at. For Foucault power was only activated once a power realtionship had been constructed and engaged with. We can adopt Foucault’s approach in finding out what power relations are involved in visual cultures by looking at various oppositions such as resistances to power relations or attempts that are made to separate aspects that comprise power relations. Foucault identifies 3 types of struggle- against dominance, exploitation and subjection.
  • This territoy is part of a rapidly developing discipline dealing with issue related to the image and is manifest in a lot of contemporary film and art. We Live in Public is the story of the Internet’s revolutionary impact on human interaction as told through the eyes of Internet pioneer and visionary, Josh Harris. The film charts the rise and fall of the man who, as far back as the early 1990’s, predicted a future dominated by life online, where people will be actively willing to reveal all aspects of their private lives as significance and fame become more accessible, only to find themselves trapped in virtual boxes. Josh Harris foresaw online social networks like MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube,
  • The beginning of the 21st century may just well be among the most culturally and socially confused eras to emerge in recent history, when you consider society’s mass-fascination with reality shows, webcams and camera phones on the one hand and its ever-present obsession with surveillance and mass observation technologies, fueled by the Post 9/11 anxiety, on the other. Peeping Tom, directed by Michael Powell, is the story of a pornographic photographer who builds a camera that stabs his models and records the moment of their death on film 1960 Deals with the voyouristic notion of cinema itself giving cinema an opportunity for self-reflection which has an unsettling impact. In ‘Peeping Tom’ director Michael Powell plays a brilliant mirroring game, involving himself, as filmmaker, and the spectator in the process of voyeurism, so that by the last shot - showing a blank cinema screen - we are all aware that we have become victims of our own gaze, confronted uneasilly with the relationship between watching and participating.
  • was the subject of exhibitions like ‘ctrl (space): Rhetorics of Surveillance’
  • We're living at a time when security alerts, surveillance cameras, and Reality TV are blurring the boundaries between voluntary and involuntary acting for the camera. Even from the earliest days of video art, artists have negotiated the question of when performance becomes surveillance and vice versa.
  • The impact of ubiquitous observation technology was also very present in recent feature films as varied as Andrea Arnold’s ‘Red Road’, Michael Haneke’s ‘Cache’ Cache (French for 'Hidden') is a movie that offers no such easy exit. Set in modern Paris, Michael Haneke's film takes place in a world where the P.A.T.R.I.O.T Act is scarier than Freddy and Jason combined. Haneke's protagonist, an upper class television presenter played by Daniel Auteuil, has a damn good life. He has an interesting job, is well off, a budding athlete for a son and Julette Binochet as a wife. But someone is watching him. Well, not him exactly. His house. For hours and hours on end. They're not doing anything except for videotaping the experiance and leaving it on his doorstep. or Paul Greengrass’ ‘Bourne Ultimatum’. But while these movies use CCTV footage to draw on feelings of paranoia and unease, here is a new film that has another take on the complex relationship between the intentional exibitionism that seems to be an essential part of our relation towards the internet and television, and our involuntary relinquishing of privacy to the cameras of power systems.
  • The official description of ‘Look’ (it came out in december in the States) goes like this: “ There are now approximately 30 million surveillance cameras in the United States generating more than 4 billion hours of footage every week. And the numbers are growing. The average American is now captured over 200 times a day, in department stores, gas stations, changing rooms, even public bathrooms. No one is spared from the relentless, unblinking eye of the cameras that are hidden in every nook and cranny of day-to-day life.” By shooting his feature entirely from closed-circuit viewpoints : “who are we when we don’t think anyone’s watching?” It suggests a film that draws on the new fascination of surveillance and sousveillance, as new playgrounds of the mass media, as a new market based on narcissism, exhibitionism and voyeurism in a so-called “panoptic” society (pan = everything; optikos = to see).
  • Virtual and Mirror Worlds Second Life etc. Massively multi-user online worlds Google Earth User-created content / geo-tagging I ncl. 3D buildings, photos, panorama, etc. Impact on how we experience reality…gigs, the live experience not experienced until it is replayed back to us via technological imaging… What French social theorist Jean Baudrillard called the simulacra. He argued that a simulacrum is not a copy of the real, but becomes truth in its own right: the hyperreal. Where Plato saw two steps of reproduction — faithful and intentionally distorted (simulacrum) — Baudrillard sees four: basic reflection of reality, (2) perversion of reality; (3) pretence of reality (where there is no model); and (4) simulacrum, which “bears no relation to any reality whatsoever.”
  • Mixed reality Not just visualisation: interface between digital and real worlds; user-created internet content and feedback; life logging, physical object logging; interoperability, devices and applications…applications such as google earth>on earth, second life>real life…
  • Lifelogging And there are numerous examples from the pioneer days of video art and current practices which attempt to understand the complex relationship between intentional acting for the camera and our involuntary relinquishing of privacy to the cameras of power systems that have an interest in the movement of citizens, New technologies highlight the complicity we have with this dissemination of our own image. There has been a shift, a subversion of watching. This relates back to the theories of Foucault relating to power and complicity.
  • Guardian received videos from bystander What happened at the G20 protests, and why it damages the reputation of the police On 1 st April 2009 at the G20 summit in London, a man died, probably as a result of police brutality. He was called Ian Tomlinson. Ian was not involved in the protests and was viciously and needlessly attacked by police. The police apparently tried to cover up the event.
  • "Surveillance" denotes the act of watching from above, whereas "sousveillance" denotes bringing the practice of observation down to human level (ordinary people doing the watching, rather than higher authorities or architectures doing the watching).
  • Sousviellance:, original French, as well as inverse surveillance are terms coined by Steve Mann (Toronto, Canada) to describe the recording of an activity from the perspective of a participant.
  • It used to be clear who was watching who…and why… But there has been a paradigm shift… Is this the collapse of the image or the collapse of the truth of the image?

Virtual Worlds and Concrete Codes Virtual Worlds and Concrete Codes Presentation Transcript

  • Virtual worlds and concrete codes Deborah Jackson
  • The refinement of mechanical, technical and scientific instruments have allowed for previously unseen objects, such as galaxies seen through the Hubble telescope, to be revealed. It should follow then that the image would become more authentic and more certain as a result.
  •  
  • The collapse of the (truth of the) image
  • The idea of authentification is complex because it contains within it not just the status of the image itself, whether it is considered real or false, whether it is seen as the original or the copy and so on but also our relationship to the image as spectators.
  • Reproduction and Visual Technologies Examining the role of realism in art throughout history helps us to see how images indicate changing ways of seeing the world. The concept of what makes an image realistic has changed throughout history and varies between cultures.
  • The shift to technologies of mechanical reproduction radically changes the privilege of looking and makes of these images a mass cultural activity. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction is a 1935 essay by German cultural critic Walter Benjamin
  • Many styles of modern art that followed the invention of photography defied the tradition of perspective.
  •  
  • Mechanical reproduction changes the meaning and value of an image and, ultimately, the role images play in society.
  •  
  • Virtual Space and Interactive Images
  •  
  • The camera relieves us of the burden of memory. It surveys us like God, and it surveys for us. – John Berger, About Looking
  • Mixed Reality
  • The Value of Images
  • Changing concepts of ‘the gaze’
  • Surveillance : “The powers that be” watch everyone else. Sousveillance : Everyone watches everyone else (including watching the watchers). Strong sousveillance : observability extends to mental states as well.
  • What impact will sousveillance have on the modern psychological construct of the “phenomenal self”? Will human mind become more collective?
  • Our current situation has evolved to the point where anyone can reliably watch anyone else do most things
  • Power/Knowledge and Panopticism
  • How prevalent is the idea of photographic identification? To what extent is the photograph integrated into institutional life? How are these photographs tied to questions of power?
    • Fixed or mobile closed-circuit television surveillance in public areas.
    • Stalking by photographers of celebrities.
    • Hidden camera investigative journalism.
    • Voyeuristic photography, often accompanied by erotic arousal in the photographer.
    • During industrial espionage.
    • During intelligence gathering by police or private investigators.
    • By vigilantes.
    • By political protesters or activists.
    • By academics such as ethnographic researchers or participant observer sociologists.
    • As a prank, eg: from a friend's mobile camera phone.
    Rhetorics of Surveillance
  • We have entered into an economy of power that positions us and how we view what we look at. RFID: Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is the use of an object (typically referred to as an RFID tag) applied to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person for the purpose of identification and tracking using radio waves.
  • Participatory Panopticon
  • Both films deal with the voyeuristic notion of cinema itself. Peeping Tom (1960), Michael Powell Rear Window (1954) Alfred Hitchcock
  •  
  • Balance and Power: Performance and Surveillance in Video Art Video still, Jordan Crandall, Homefront, (2005)
  • The impact of ubiquitous observation technology is also very present in recent feature films.
  • This film draws on the new fascination of surveillance and sousveillance, as new playgrounds of the mass media, as a new market based on narcissism, exhibitionism and voyeurism in a so-called “panoptic” society (pan = everything; optikos = to see).
  • Augmented Reality Most people have heard about Virtual Reality, and everybody has heard of actual reality. Augmented means... * Greater than before * Increased * Amplified * Improved ... supplementing, enhancing, modifying, improving our reality.
  • What French social theorist Jean Baudrillard called the simulacra. He argued that a simulacrum is not a copy of the real, but becomes truth in its own right: the hyperreal.
  • interface between digital and real worlds; user-created internet content and feedback; ; life logging, physical object logging; interoperability, devices and applications life logging, physical object logging; interoperability, and devices and applications.
  • There are numerous examples from the pioneer days of video art and current practices which attempt to understand the complex relationship between intentional acting for the camera and our (in)voluntary relinquishing of privacy to the cameras of power systems that have an interest in the movement of citizens.
  • G20 protests, April 2009
  • "Surveillance" denotes the act of watching from above, whereas "sousveillance" denotes bringing the practice of observation down to human level (ordinary people doing the watching, rather than higher authorities or architectures doing the watching).
  • Sousveillance: With the growing spread of pervasive digital technologies the public urban space has become open for new forms of both observation and surveillance.
  •