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The University of YouTube: the medium, the user, photography and the search for really useful knowledge.
This short text is the result of an attempt to understand photographic theory by YouTube, which took the shape of an online errand of forking paths, full of interesting digressions, leading of course everywhere and nowhere.
Bursting The Filter Bubble of Photoshop Tutorials
As an artist using 3D animation software, much of my work comes in trying to introduce noise, dirt and detail into sterile, mathematically derived images. CGI wants to be photographic. Conversely, Adobe Photoshop is anchored to the photographic realm but strives to efface it.
“The cat sits on the bed”, Pedagogies of vision in human and machine learning.
Our shares and likes, our annotations and social metadata are training a generation of AI agents. Everyday, we are already all teaching bots and algorithms how to look at images. If we consider the extent of our relationship with algorithms, we realise the magnitude of the effort of teaching and learning that is taking place.
Photography of the Internet extends to unprecedented social fields and challenges of social norms for questioning cultural, economic and ethical values of photos circulating within the networks.
Through Non-Human Eyes
The steadiness and endurance of the camera’s gaze produces the strong sense that the camera is something other than an extension of the eye: it is a sensor, a monitor, a machine for being with and in the world.
Artifact Readers: pixelated revelations, glitch augury and low-res millenarianism in the age of conspiracy theory
These images, drawn from films made by members of the YouTube conspiracy theorist community, are presented as evidence for the radically heterodox alternate worldviews of their original creators.
Hidden in Plain Sight: The Steganographic Image
Who knows what went into an image, what it includes and what it hides? This is not merely a question of fine art historical importance of materials, or even media historical intrigue of chemistry but one of steganography - hiding another meaningful pattern, perhaps a message, in data; inside text or an image.
Soft Power / Hard Meme
In early 2016, @RussianEmbassy, the verified Twitter account from the Russian Embassy in the UK, sent an image to the Russian Ministry of Defence via Twitter, warning that ‘Extremists near Aleppo received several truckloads of chemical ammo.' On further inspection, rather than a matter of urgency, it became immediately apparent that these were neither extremist trucks, nor was it in fact an actual photograph of real trucks at all.
Where someone said they saw some smoke, there very well may be no fire.
For the (conspiracy) theorist, the beauty of images is that they have the power to become simultaneously a source of proof and doubt. Look again, don’t you see that? There it is. Gone.