CAA, New York, 2015

Semi-Automatic Images: Making and Distributing Art after the Internet

Chair: Cadence Kinsey (UCL)

Co-Chair: John Hill (LuckyPDF)


Kerstin Stakemeier

Boris Groys

Thomas Morgan Evans

Katrina Sluis

McKenzie Wark

This session will explore recent developments in contemporary image production by looking at the increasingly permeable boundaries between artistic, commercial and automated processes. Web2.0 and social media has not only altered the way that some young artists now share their work with peers, public, galleries and collectors, but has also altered the very processes of making work, and the aesthetic forms it may take. Tumblr-style image streams of clashing objects and the high-res, high-production aesthetic of commercial and stock photography has become a central area of enquiry for numerous internationally exhibiting artists.

Semi-automated processes of image production, in which artists employ the use of algorithms or re-use existing content ready available on the web (either commercial or amateur), have affected how art is both made and distributed. Since the first commercial manifestation of the World Wide Web in the early 1990s, this question of distribution – in other words, the sharing of images or forms across different contexts – has been central to the discourses of the digital (e.g. Felix Guattari, Stewart Home). Since then, the distribution of images has entered the critical and theoretical apparatus of both making and understanding art in a significant way: Seth Price has described an unlimited dispersion across heterogenous formats; Hito Steyerl the accelerated, ‘fifth generation illicit bastard’ that is the poor image; and, in his recently published book After Art, David Joselit has suggested replacing the question of medium and post-medium altogether with that of formatting – or the management of the image and image populations. Such ideas suggest a pronounced shift in interest from images, practices and ideas, to the context in which they circulate, and even to the question of context itself, as illustrated by the recent turn toward ‘curating-as-practice’.

As images increasingly appear to move between contexts and platforms, new questions for the production and distribution of images after the Internet arise: how does the movement of images or forms destabilize the categories of commercial, amateur and artistic production? What are the new contexts which currently define art practice? How do semi-automated processes inflect upon the traditional concept of artistic agency?

We therefore invite papers and presentations on a range of topics including, but not limited to:

  • The relationship between art and social media
  • ‘Postinternet’ art
  • The use of algorithmic, outsourcing and crowdsourcing processes in artistic production
  • Stock/commercial images as art
  • Image-streams: liquid images and liquidity
  • Post-medium
  • The emergence of the prosumer and its impact on spectatorship
  • The Internet as moving image/time-based medium
  • Points of comparison from the History of Art

Please see call for papers here


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