2020

Towards an artistic methodology of the accident
The failure in technological processes of reproduction as an opening to the improbable









    


Final Master Thesis at ESDi/Universidad Ramon Lull, Barcelona
MA Digital Art Direction


The purpose of this study is to analyze and provide a reflection on various artistic practices that are articulated from what in this research is called ‘accidental’. Taken as a theoretical framework the thinking of the Czech philosopher Vilém Flusser, but more widely other philosophers who have focused their research on questioning the role that media, devices, and appliances play in the configuration of our experience of the material and perceptible world, it is proposed to explore the methodology of the accident in artistic practices.

Attracted by this kind of methodology, artists manage to highlight anomalies in the playback processes of the media and capture, or rather provoke, improbable and unexpected results, exploring how to expand the field of the possible in contrast to that of the probable, putting in value the remains and the margin of error of the devices, as opposed to the regular and anticipated operation of those.

New media play a very important role in relation to the fragmentation of information so that they provide us with only some versions or representations of the world, so the objective of this study is to value how some artists manage to illustrate through their practices other possible cuts that could be given to the world that we perceive, moving us away from what we have taken for granted and that conditions us to be part of the spirit of our time.

For which, a curatorial selection is made with the work of some artists presented as paradigmatic cases, having as a criterion of differentiation whether the artist inter- venes in the failure of the process carried out by the medium or not. The research proposes three categories, considering what some artist practices share; their ways of doing and operating. After carrying out this analysis, the study delves into the problematic horizon that an accident methodology supposes if precisely what is accidental happens and cannot be predetermined, so it pauses to reflect on some contradictions and paradoxes. Finally, an attempt is made to challenge the queries that arise through the proposal of a curatorial project that creates the need to open a dialogue with those artists about their work methodology, the project consists of a festival of activities that include workshops and conferences where it will be possible to open strains of thoughts as triggered by those practices.


Main sources of reference

Agamben, Giorgio. 2015. ¿Qué es un dispositivo?, seguido de El amigo y de La Iglesia y el Reino. Trad. M. Ruvituso, Ed. Barcelona: Anagrama. Baudrillard, Jean. 1978. Simulación y Simulacro. Barcelona: Kairós.
Benjamin, Walter 2004. Sobre la fotografía. En Breve Historia de la fotografía. Valencia:Pre-textos.
Deleuze, Gilles. 1989. Michel Foucault, filósofo. En G. Deleuze, ¿Qué es un dispositivo?.Barcelona: Gedisa.
Derrida, Jaques. 1993. Espectros de Marx. Paris: Éditions Galileé.
Fisher, Mark. 2014. Ghosts of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures, Zero Books. Hants, UK: John Hunt Publishing Ltd. Flusser, Vilém. 1990. Hacia una filosofía de la fotografía. Mexico, Trillas: Sigma. Flusser, V. 2015. El universo de las imágenes técnicas. (T. J. Tomasini, Ed.) Ciudad autó- noma de Buenos Aires, Argentina: Caja Negra Editora. Fontcuberta, Joan. 1997. El beso de judas. Barcelona: Gustavo Gili.
Latour, Bruno. 2019. Nunca fuimos modernos. Buenos Aires: Siglo XXI.
Malabou, Catherine. 2014. Ontología del accidente. (2. Edición original: editora LéoScheer, Ed.) Santiago de Chile, Chile: Polvora editoriál.
Parikka, J. y Huhtamo, E. 2011. Media Archaeology: Approaches, Applications, and Implications, University of California Press.Simondon, G. 1969. Du mode d’existence des objets téchniques. Paris: Aubier. Fisher, M. 2012. “What Is Hauntology?” Film Quarterly, 66(1): 16-24.
Guldin, R. y Soto Calderon, A. 2012. “To document something which does not exist.
Machado, Arlindo. 2000. “Repensando a Flusser y las imágenes técnicas”. En El Paisaje Mediatico. Buenos Aires: Libros de Rojas.








As part of the research I collected the remains of my work. These include leftover content, failed projects, record of experiments, detected irregularities and other visual and sensory anomalies.















2017

The poor image and the accident
Beyond the reproducibility of the image, in the age of digital media



Final Master Thesis at Royal College of Art, London
MA Visual Communication


A large part of all we see and learn every day, in the era of digital technologies, is composed of an un-patterned complex of digital images that penetrate our lives. These burst into our computers, tablets and mobile phone screens, in a seemingly structured but unconstrained form. The proliferation of digital technologies has catalysed a major cultural transition, with the way we perceive reality and the world around us being radically implicated and altered as a consequence. This transformation is happening through visual content and the way we use images to share and gather information today.

Over the past few years, artist and writer Hito Steyerl has investigated the role and the politics of the image in the twenty-first century. In her 2012 essay ‘In Defense of the Poor Image’, Steyerl analyses the functions and value of the digital image of poor resolution. This type is ubiquitous, infinitely reproducible or editable and incredibly easy to propagate. These qualities contrast with a widely diffused nostalgic view of the past, when ‘things’ were not so ephemeral or intangible.1 It is how hard to believe that we were, in fact, once promised perfect facsimiles. We were led to believe that digital images would be of such high-resolution that we could penetrate deeply into them and see everything. Yet today, so many of the images we consume are in a state of pixelation, low- resolution, blurriness, nosiness (Chapter Two).

According to Artist Olivier Laric, ‘poor images’ can exist in infinite versions while losing their original meaning or value and becoming something else.2 Maybe we do live in an era of iconoclasm, not because we destroy our images, but because they do not have the meaning that we might have given them and enjoy a life of their own. We live in an age where we do not even know where images come from, and we might not even question this reality. In fact, the poor image goes through a process re-mediation. The image is not only reproduced, but it also goes on a journey through different media. This movement begs many questions, among them: Is re-mediation about remembering or forgetting? (Chapters Three and Four). What is the opposite of the poor image? How have artists and other image-makers reacted to the issue of image reproducibility?

An image may be an illusory representation of reality but this does not preclude it from conveying something that is very meaningful. When an image is recorded, altered and reproduced using different tools, and when it travels through media, it sometimes mutates slightly and has the potential to generate new elements or mutate its appearance by accident. Furthermore, when the image is processed through a computer, by editing, re-scaling, merging it with other files, the technological limits of the machine can expose the actual essence of the image, as in the case of glitches. Can glitchy images give us a greater sense of authenticity when it comes to what we are looking at on our screens? (Chapter Five and Six).

In addition to its properties of propagation, the poor image has an aesthetic of its own. In the last decade, a current called ‘post-internet art’ has seen artists exploring the crossover between reality and the Internet by generating, or recycling, digital aesthetics and ‘web-like’ artefacts. Many of these describe the sentiment of instability and groundlessness resulting from the infiltration of digital technologies into almost every aspect of our lives, as in social media or geo-localization tools (Chapter Seven).

A near infinite collection of images is available online, and drones and satellites can potentially record everything we do in public spaces. What is unrecorded? What is unknown? Is what is unknown also necessarily unrecorded? Moreover, if the poor image is a degraded image with the capacity to move fast and be plural and diverse, and maybe even speak for and with many other images, the opposite could be the image that is not easily spread, the one protected by copyright or not disclosed to the public for some other reason. In a very recent publication, Erika Balsom discusses how artists, filmmakers, distributors and theorists have reacted to issues of authorship and copyright by exploring possibilities of content reproduction through new networks of distribution and circulation and new digital aesthetics. Many of these practitioners find in the copy both a utopian promise, a dangerous inauthenticity - or both. (Chapter Eight).

There is a glut of files published online. In addition, algorithms are generated so users only see the kind of information that will most likely be of interest to them. This particular type of appeal fosters advertising and capitalism, and it also affects politics. Paul Virilio argues in Strategy of Deception that the truth of the fact is actually censured by the overflow of information; while Eyal Weizmann states in ‘The Image Complex’ that, ‘We can no longer rely on what is captured in single images, but rather on what we call “image complexes”: a time-space relation between dozens, sometimes hundreds of images and videos that were generated around incidents from multiple perspectives including ground, air and outer space’5 (Chapter Nine).

We seem to be looking for patterns in the randomness of things on the Web to feel grounded and closer to what is real while drowning in the emptiness - or fullness - of an intangible parallel world. Through this, we are supposed to learn and interact. How have artists reacted to issues of randomness and asymmetrical perspectives on the Web? (Chapter Ten).

Finally, what will be the challenges of image-makers in the future? Perhaps generating or curating complexes of poor images? Would working with vanishing images, and curating complexes of images instead of making ‘originals’ affect our ability to create and to be purely subjective in the era of post-truth?

In this paper I aim to discuss theories related to digital images today. I am concerning, in particular, with their significance as objects or subjects and copies or originals - their properties of reproducibility and circulation - and the socio-political implications of this movement. The second section will examine hypothetical ways to hijack the infinite cycle of representation and reproducibility of the image through art practices. Here I explore the materiality of the digital, self-reflective qualities of media, the unexpected accident in technology and issues of copyright and data overflow.


1 Hito Steyerl, The Wretched of the Screen (Berlin: Sternberg Press 2012)
2 Oliver Laric, Oliverlaric.com, 2017 <http://oliverlaric.com/> [accessed 29 March 2017]
3 Erika Balsom, After Uniqueness (New York: Columbia University Press, 2017), p.9. 4 Paul Virilio, Strategy of Deception (London: Verso, 2007). p.48 5 Eyal Weizmann, 'Before and After Images: Eyal Weizman’s The Image Complex', Loose Association, 1, (2016) available from <https://thephotographersgalleryblog.org.uk/2016/05/22/the-image-complex/> [accessed 15 June 2017].

















2014

Magazines in 2014
Web and mass production versus independence and individuality










Final BA Thesis at Middlesex University, London
BA Fashion Styling and Promotion


In 1973 Roland Wolsley stated, in “The Changing Magazine” that “the magazine, as all readers until now have known it -that is, an object made of paper and ink- will disappear except as a possession of historians, museum curators and senti- mentalists who collected it from its paper days.”

What is the role of Magazines precisely in the world of communication today and in which forms do they present themselves?

Magazines are periodical publications in existence since the late 16th century. Their role has gener- ally been to convey information, to highlight lifestyles and design, the zeitgeist of the time. In the words of Horst Moser “Looking back, magazines are an indispensable source of cultural history, providing a very vivid and compact record of the Zeitgeist. This applies not only to the big names like Life, Berliner Illustrierte, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Vu, The Economist and so on, but also to those relatively short-lived and apparently unimportant magazines in which a valuable and original voice may have been recorded.”2 Printed magazines are still a significant means of communication in our contemporary society, even if they can be very different from one to another.

In the first place they can be mainstream or be “independent” publications.

However, every kind of publication has been influenced by the remarkable global innova- tions in technology and communication of the last decades. In fact, the development of digital tools has opened up, since the end of the 20th century, a new range of possibilities in design and editing images. Additionally, printing has become accessible to everyone and available on a significantly larger scale.

In particular, the diffusion of the web has drastically revolutionized the world of media of communication and therefore affected the role of publications. Society communicates faster and much more easily than ever, and an almost unlimited amount of content is ac- cessible to anyone who can use a digital device and the internet and this content is expo- nentially increasing every second. In fact, the internet era has seen printed publications being challenged for survival by the extraordinary rise of the web. As reported by Joseph Monteyne in “Inside magazines”, “at the end of the 20th century many people believed that [...] new forms of communication such as the computer would create a paperless so- ciety, making obsolete the physical object of the printed and illustrated magazine, replacing it with a virtual and intangible simulation.”3 However some printed magazines have been adapted to coexist with the web and have even taken advantage of it to get more visibility and promotion (this will be further explored in chapter 2) . Some others have lost their fol- lowing and some others attempt to even make a statement against the web as in the case of DYE zines.

Magazines find their place in the indefinite halfway market between an ongoing source of information like newspapers and news websites and an unchanging kind of publication like a book. In addition, a magazine is expected to have a particular relationship between textand image, design and content, and to be an ensemble of a series of publications. This can lead to confusion for example in the case of a one-off publication. As Jeremy Leslie argues in “The Modern Magazine”, “a one off publication may use all the visual and editorial components of a magazine, but until further editions are forthcoming can it really be said to be a magazine?”. In the attempt to define the generic role of a magazine today, some contrasting elements should be examined. Magazines can now be available to many followers thanks to mass-production printing and the web. But still, they want to be unique, to talk about the ex-Jeremy Leslie, The Modern Magazine: Visual journalism in the digital era, to bring focus to niche topics and have a unique position in society. They want  to make their followers feel like they belong to a certain kind of community and have a particular lifestyle. Mainstream and high circulation magazines now have a chance to have a larger following and take more and more control of trends and lifestyles globally. They have the tools to lead large numbers of followers to homogeneity of taste.

Advertising can take advantage of the power of communication and take part in the design of a magazine and consequently affect its identity. Therefore, many high circulation magazines often tend to be a mirror of the zeitgeist of the time or what is already on-trend in order to appeal to readers and sell more, rather that showing something new. Independent magazines are instead surviving the media revolution or adapting to it without losing their identity. The debate about the value of new online publications is ongoing: as Evan Cornog and Victor Navasky question in “The Art of making magazines”, “Are online magazines really magazines? That of course is a question that hovers any comparison of old and “new” (Now called Digital) media”. Many theories argue that computers and the web are slowly leading to the death of print. The internet has, however, “made it easier to find a community of readers for the quirky, small-run, highly individualistic and often idiosyncratic serial publications [...]” . As Kurt Andersen argues “We would like to believe that Internet-versus-print is analogous to TV-versus-radio in the fifties: the new doesn’t necessarily wipe out the old. But I think paper media today are more like sailing ships around 1860-still dominant but enjoying their last hurrah. I think it’s late in the magazine era.”

More in depth, are new digital media just tools to help designers to work more quickly and for information to spread faster? Theorists discuss the impact that the use of the web has on the way we work, gather information and share ideas. How does this reflect on maga- zine printing and circulation? Are printed publications going to disappear from the market?



1 Roland Wolseley, The Changing Magazine: Trends in Readership and Manage- ment, (New York: Hastings House, 1974) 2 Patrik Andersson and Judith Steedman, Inside Magazines: Indepen- dent Pop Culture Magazines, (London: Thames and Hudson, 2002) 3 Jeremy Leslie, The Modern Magazine: Visual journalism in the digital era, (London: Laurence King Publishing Ltd, 2013)4 Victor S.Navasky and Evan Cornog, The Art of Making Magazine: On being an Editor and Other Views from the Industry, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1893) 5 David Renard, The Last Magazine, (New York: Universe Publishing, 2006)