The inaugural event of the digital | visual | culture series of events was a lecture by Shannon Mattern, Professor of Media Studies at the New School, New York. You can watch her lecture below, or directly on youtube here.


The following day, there was a workshop at St John's College with eight participants discussing their various projects on aspects of digital visual culture. The day was full of very rich discussion, with four themes emerging across the various contributions:

There was a consistent interest in the critical/political in terms of representation and the politics of representation. Several contributors explored the relation between being visible, being represented and being recognised (which was also a theme of Prof Mattern's lecture). We discussed the need to move away from discussions of visibility that described being visible as either as either good (recognition) or bad (surveilled) and invisibility as either good (privacy) or bad (secretive). We wanted a more nuanced account of more complicated understandings of the political and of visuality. Some expressed a felt need to undertake explicitly normative practice, particularly in the face of resurgent populisms.

Research methods were touched on several times. Making impossible things; breaking things; playing; experimenting: these were all mentioned. So too was the idea of research as a form of creation, and as research images as doing things in and of themselves. (Can research images be operative in Farocki’s sense of the word?) We also wondered about thinking of digital visual images and their spatial organisation less through forms of visual or spatial organisation and more as a music score, multilayered and multiple.

Temporalities as well as spatialities were discussed. 

And finally, a rich cast of posthumans emerged, enacted with their digital companions: celebrities, hardhats, renderghosts, stock images, and urban humans.