Christmas Task

 

For 151MC – Creative Digital Practice, I received
for Christmas, two objects for research and expected
to develop critical questions based on them.

OBJECT 1
Erik Kessels – ‘24 hours in photos’ The Future
of the Photography Museum


This curated exhibition is part of FOAM’s ‘What’s next?’ programme
exploring the future of photography in the 21st century. Kessels’ ‘24
hours in photos’ is one section of this short video introduction.

 

OBJECT 2
Sylvia Wolf – Quote taken from ‘The Digital Eye:
Photographic
Art in the Digital Age’
“To some, the glut of photographic images facilitated by digitisation,
represents a mindnumbing
noise that risks infecting us all with
rampant vouyerism and image apathy. To
others, the open access to
photography and to new audiences that computer technology

affords us has spawned a liberating transparency that breaks down
barriers between
people, places and ways of being.”

 

 

My response:

 

Introduction

Reading through the two objects I was given and
after researching about them, I am pretty confident
that Both Erik Kessels and Sylvia Wolf are challenging
through their work, the abundance of photographs
created during the digital era. I will go further to
interpret the meaning of the phrase “digital era”.
The entity of internet, the evolution of mobile
technology and the hardware tools available to
almost everyone happened to live in a Western
social model, part together the meaning of
Digital Era.

(The Digital Eye: Photographic Art in the Electronic Age)

1

Should the professionals be concerned of their stance?
That I do not know of, but I am sure if we asked
professionals if they were worried over mobile devices,
Facebook like digital networks and blog spots, I would
get the feeling that some are annoyed.

2

Our evolution along these new-born tools available to
us has created an abundance of photographs, videos
and information in general. Just Erik Kessels work, which
could be viewed as research, not just art, managed to get
a million photographs in a day, from just 3 websites and
just those available in public. That of course raises a
question; A million should be a minute representation of
the amount uploaded daily on the internet. What is the
amount of all photographs uploaded on the internet
daily?

3

Having experience up-close the sparks of a social
revolution and being always concerned in socio-politics
of my country and the world, I‘ve been noticing the
impact of the digital era on human struggle.

Let’s “scroll” back where it all started, somewhere
between America and Vietnam. It is back then when
the whole media “jungle” started to travel with the
American troops, in the jungles of Vietnam. It’s the
moment when the war came in for the very first time
in our homes. The information flow was so much that
reporters were even blamed for fuelling anti-war
protests.

As time went by it seemed as if we had more conflicts
around the world. The truth though is that the immensity
of coverage made these horrible events look more a
Hollywood war movie. Of course I shall mention the
increase in war-action movies and videogames praising
the war since the massive coverage started, somewhere
after the Gulf War. Propaganda was always a loved tool of
the military.

(How ’embedded’ reporters are handling the war, BBC)

4

“Embedding journalists…
has brought warfare home
to us as no war has been
brought home before”

Former BBC reporter Martin Bell

The act of embedding journalists in military units thought
by many that it would let us see what was really going on
at a very localised level. Also that seemed to be safer for
journalists. This method officially started after the Gulf
War where journalists complained that they couldn’t get
their story because they weren’t allowed access.

Point 1

The toughest critics of this say that you can’t be truly
independent nor judge properly the people whom your
life is dependent on.

 

Point 2

Even sending a journalist there does not convince me that
the truth gets out. Even if it gets out it’s filtered down at
studio of a major broadcasting company or the press tent
in the “green zone”.

A good view on embedded journalism has the documentary
of Robert Greenwald, “Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War
on Journalism”
(2004) which challenges Murdoch’s media
empire and more specifically Fox News Channel along with
their claim of being “Fair and Balanced”. It continues on
to talk about embedded journalism, a method heavily used
by Fox News. In my opinion this applies to any news
corporation that makes use of another biased method of
journalism.
(Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism)

 

Final Thoughts

Being born in the digital era I lived through numerous
technological advances and methods. How though this
overflow of information has acted on me?
The unfortunate event of 9/11 has brought us a new
reality as well as a new wave of photographs we see
every day. 9/11 was a game changer. 9/11 was an
incident that not just changed the lives of Americans,
but everyone’s. The amount of new policies, laws and
restrictions imposed on societies due to TERRORISM
are endless. The amount of photographs produced
because of terrorism is massive. Now imagine me back
in 2001. I was 10 years old. For almost 11 years I‘ve been
literally BOMBARDED with photographs and information
profiling the proper terrorist. You know… long beard,
dark skin, speaking Arabic, maybe holding an AK47…
It’s a cliché already! Eleven years of propaganda
about the Middle-East and the Arabic world…
I still remember that day like it was yesterday.

Millions of photographs are “consumed” by us every
day just on warfare. Hundreds die every day because of
warfare. Yet, Muammar Gaddafi’s dead body was seen
by everyone. Is there a message behind it? Maybe now
everyone is convinced peace is restored in Libya and
democracy will prevail. I highly doubt that.

For our convenience we don’t even have to ”click” our way
through photographs. If you are “lucky” enough to enjoy the
likes of touch technology on your new pad like device, war is
literally at your fingertips. You can slide through pain and pain
and more pain… fast enough not to understand or feel a thing.

 

(broad research in www.guardian.co.uk under the tags war, 2011,
Middle East)

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