Emilio Vavarella in “All I Know Is What’s On The Internet” @ The Photographers’ Gallery – London
Emilio Vavarella presents The Driver and the Cameras in All I Know Is What’s On The Internet, the new exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery, Londra.
All I Know Is What’s On The Internet presents work of contemporary artists seeking to map, visualise and question the cultural dynamics of digital knowledge production through an examination of 21st Century photography. Traditionally, photography played a unique role in documenting the world and helping us to make sense of ourselves and each other. However in the 21st century, the cultural problem of making sense of a singular photograph is being usurped by the industrial challenge of making sense of millions of images. As digital images flow, multiply and accelerate online, the exhibition considers photography’s status as a form of visual knowledge intimately linked to the actions of bots, algorithms, crowd-sourced workers and increasingly intelligent machines. How might we understand the role and agency of the photographer today in the ‘like’ economy? What new forms of economic value and media illiteracy arise from the endless recirculation of content online?
Moving beyond the façade of the computer screen, which by its very (glossy) nature seems to disavow any sense of industry or effort, the selected works draw on the experiences of content moderaters, Google street view photographers, and the global workforce employed by Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to describe images for machine vision algorithms. In doing so, the selected artists draw attention to the neglected corners of the photography and global image economy and the scale of human labour required to support it.
Through the presentation of a range of projects which playfully disrupt, confuse or question these new image/knowledge economies, All I Know Is What’s On The Internet presents a radical exploration of cultural value and digital labour at a time when the boundaries between truth and fiction, machine and human are being increasingly called into question.
Constant Dullaart featuring Johann Heinrich Tischbein the Elder’s portrait of Friedrich II von Hessen (ca. 1770), Images Courtesy of Carroll Fletcher