IPF Porto, 21.10.2021—28.04.2022
“The photographs we take with our smartphones are highly processed images, as are the photograph-like images of black holes and galaxies constructed from information collected using a vast network of radio telescopes.”1
This allegory by Strauss is the ideal metaphor to describe the way we communicate today, not just through text, but through a continuous flow of images produced (un)consciously and shared online.
Technological advances have shaped the world, which is increasingly interconnected and interdependent. Digital markets tend towards monopolies, technology companies run by algorithms monetise data and enable information too fast to be decoded. The lapse in decoding undermined public opinion, created parallel realities, which weaken democracy and pave the way for the emergence of anti-establishment movements, reactionary policies, and eventually destroy the bases on which democracy was built. However, there is still the potential for images to uncover growing economic inequalities and to reveal ideological prejudices instituted by Western hypocrisy, inciting the emergence of collective awareness, through solidarity and a common will between cultures.
Economic liberalisation and the information society have created fractures in the social fabric, polarised the debate within the limits of freedom of expression and surveillance capitalism. In a society ruled by the accumulation of goods, in which appearances become a commodity (“capital becoming image”2), and lately we become a function of the images we create. The fear of others instigated by the pandemic has made interactions dependent on images. Will this new form of contact become a model in the future, minimising human interactions, leading to estrangement and alienation? In this complex scenario, the concept of community once based on proximity, interdependence, and integration, is being eroded by a series of technological, social, cultural and environmental transformations.
Starting from the plea that photography is a reciprocal intervention, and the vital relevance of interacting, this series of talks focuses on the community, featuring artists and curators who propose to rethink photography, making it more receptive to the challenges of society.
1 Strauss, David Levi. “Photography and Belief” pp. 64. New York: David Zwirner Books, 2020
2 Debord, Guy. “The society of the Spectacle” pp. 13. Berkeley: Bureau of Public Secrets, 2014