Accepted paper:

“Look Away from Me!”: reflections on the intersection between the visual and the digital in the context of contemporary ethnographic practices


Paolo S. H. Favero (University of Antwerp)

Paper short abstract:

Offering examples from fields of contemporary image-making practices such as multilinear documentaries, contemporary art and commercial photographic and video applications for mobile phones this paper calls for a need today to rethink our conventional notions of images. In order to understand the meaning and role of images today we must integrate the instruments belonging to visual anthropology with those coming from the study of digital and material culture.

Paper long abstract:

Changing the way in which we produce, store and share images new technologies have modified our ways of relating to and addressing the field of vision. The importance of these changes resides not only in the increased speed and size of production and distribution of images around the world (much work has been conducted on this aspect) but rather on the practices that are emerging in parallel to this. Side by side with the spread of new technologies, the last decades have witnessed to the growth of new image-making practices (in a variety of different fields ranging from art to commerce, news, cinema, etc.), which are more attentive, to context, social relations and materiality, and hence to the world surrounding the frame.

Offering a rethinking of the meaning and role of images in the contemporary context the present paper will bring in dialogue with each other different fields of contemporary image-making practices. It will offer examples gathered from the world of interactive (or multilinear) documentaries, of contemporary art and of commercial photographic and video applications for mobile phones. Such examples will prove the need for us today to rethink our conventional ways of addressing images merging the instruments that characterize the study of visual culture with those belonging to the world and study of digital technologies and of material culture.

panel P25
Photography, new technologies and the predicament of the frame: theoretical and methodological reflections