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All of the elements of the Educational Program are merely references and guidelines we are proposing for the museums to consider within their own activities.
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LECTURE 6

Title
A photographic image in the age of the electronic arts

Audience:
To anyone interested in understanding changes in the field of art concerning the photographic image. Analyzing how the electronic arts offer a way of making a different type of photography, exploring new languages.

Subject matter:
It is important to analyze the function of photographers within the field of the arts. It might seem that never before has photography been as popular as it is now. Galleries are full of photos and collectors are willing to pay large sums for them; in general, photos are large, colorful, and offer admirable resolution.

As in all eras, fashion and the market reign; galleries have images with highly similar subject matter and aesthetics in which one can easily discover formal tendencies or schools, which at times are imported from other cultures to which the photographer does not belong. Galleries sell large numbers of images and some photographers in recent years have acquired fame and fortune, which should be celebrated, because almost 100 years have passed since photography really became established as a branch of the arts, although it is still not considered one of the “fine arts.”

While this is taking place in the commercial world of art, in the realm of museums, schools, foundations, and institutions, the gaze is placed on what is known as “electronic art” or “new technologies” or “multimedia”; art focused on experimenting with tools that seek to transform languages and programs, mainly produced with software and hardware.

This leads one to consider the place occupied by photographers within the “electronic arts.” Although the photo is already en electronic art, from the shot to the printing phases, it does not really form part of this genre, unless the image undergoes a process of manipulation that makes it possible to enter the category of digital graphics.

In editorial #87, Alasdair Foster explained:
“Economic, social, and cultural paradigms continue changing at an ever greater pace. The shift in emphasis from the creation of concrete, real products to a virtual world of images and ideas means that today, in Australia (to give what for me is a local example), there are more people employed in the storage and securing of information than in the entirety of farming and industry put together.

In the field of reproducible culture, such as the photographic medium, the focus on art began to change, from objects to processes. The means of artistic production has become diversified to admit both the virtuoso individual and creative action on the part of a community. Meanwhile, the means of the distribution of digital entities has expanded drastically. The result is a plethora of small niches, lacking geographical or physical restrictions, actively participating both in the production and consumption of new forms of art.

Similarly, one would not expect a unique alternative cultural structure to rise from the social and technological ferment of the new millennium, but rather a vigorous, although unstable series of interrelations with a tendency to subdivide into smaller systems more effectively generating meanings and interests for those involved. And although these new systems will offer a range of alternative forms of art and ways of participating in it, they will not destroy the world and prior artistic institutions, although they will probably spur an evolution in this original system into new, although not so radical modes.”


While photography has remained primordially two-dimensional, both on the wall and on the screen, silent and immobile, it will continue to remain beyond the gaze.

It raises the question: is the idea to stop taking photos? That is to say, two-dimensional, silent, and static images. No, but it is indeed a good time to question how the medium can evolve, mutate, and under many of its principles embrace experimentation. The issue is how to incorporate oneself into an age in which one is no longer aligned with the disciplinary side and where it is likely all the arts will lose their borders and begin to interact and generate a new form of production.

What is important is to reflect on how the photographic image can evolve, that its use not be limited to the two-dimensional surface of the wall or the screen, and to promote a more complex process of interaction with the public, giving rise to the possibility of discovering totally new forms, unfamiliar to sight, perception, and learning.

This does not mean to say that taking photos and hanging them on the wall no longer has meaning; it is like saying that painting no longer has any purpose. What is important is to remain open and willing to experiment, not to change for the sake of change, but rather to seek approaches that strike a chord in us.

For this reason, it is good to keep an open mind and to be on a continuous search, using technology as a tool in situations in which we know how to use it. At the same time, it is worth attempting to try it out and to dare to use it not only following the programs suggested by instruction manuals, but also to investigate where it can take us if we do not allow the apparatuses to control us and instead we try to control them. It is necessary to shed one’s fear to find hitherto unknown means of communication.

As Pedro Meyer commented in editorial #80:
New technologies have always been associated with changes in the way of doing things and how things are done is usually associated with new cultural possibilities.

Duration:
About an hour.

Speaker Profile:
A historian, publisher, researcher, curator, teacher, or photographer.

Materials:
A video projector and computer, depending on the speaker’s needs.


Sponsored by:

patrocinio

Copyright © 2008 Pedro Meyer - All Rights Reserved. Use By Permission Only.