DIGITAL I – ARTEFAKTE
Opening: Wednesday, 2 November 2022 at 7 p.m.
Joint opening with the preview of the OstLicht Photo Auction
Opening speech: Johan Nane Simonsen
Duration: 3 November 2022–14 January 2023
sponsored by: BMOEKS; MA7-Kultur; Cyberlab
In the first of its current series of focus exhibitions, DIGITAL, the FOTOGALERIE WIEN addresses issues that have shaped our whole epoch. Speculation about workers spending a great portion of their waking life with their eyes glued to a monitor no longer belongs to the realm of fiction. The globe rotates beneath a net of satellites that continuously generate images of its surface. Almost all of us carry a computer in our trouser pockets, we are all under surveillance, measured and expressed in two numbers: zero and one.
Digitalisation has had wide-ranging consequences for photography. Some have declared it dead. But contrarily photographic imaging processes have developed into an important principle of our digital lifestyle. Photographs are produced and consumed in unprecedented numbers. Photographs on small, garish screens have become the interface of algorithms and our emotions, desires, fears and dreams.
We dare to cast a gaze on this present and present, in three exhibitions centred on the DIGITAL, an overview of the technologies and the reactions of artists to them. Together with them we are attempting to get a sense of the intangible and to assess its potential and dangers.
As it is generally used in the language, “artefact” refers to “something made by human hands”. One thinks of old, finely-crafted objects that have survived their creators. In the context of photography and digital images, “artefact” has acquired a further meaning: an aberration, an image that deviates from its source and is rooted in the peculiarities of the image process that has been used. Here, noise or pixel clusters are artefacts which make the mechanics of the apparatus itself visible. We can draw conclusions about the nature of the technology on the basis of these defects. Digital imaging is often perceived as being inorganic, rational and too perfect. You could say that these image artefacts or glitches show its materiality, its physicality.
It is remarkable that the same word is used for art works and errors. What both have in common: something is materialised, something pushes through from one reality into another, something unexpected takes on form, becomes an autonomous object, interrupts the illusion of coherence. (Johan Nane Simonsen)