Resistance to digital and digital resistance: curating the networked photograph


Session Title:

  • Photography and Digital Imaging

Presentation Title:

  • Resistance to digital and digital resistance: curating the networked photograph




  • When our relationship to time, history and the ‘archive’ is being reconfigured by computation, it is clear that established approaches to public display of images require reconsideration. The digital turn provides photography curators operating in public galleries with an extraordinary challenge, to reconsider how they engage with audiences and how they articulate their practice within and outside network culture. Today, one can no longer speak of photography in terms of discrete, framed, singular images (if one ever could). The question becomes: Where is the image? Every minute, millions of fingers swipe the screens of iPhones and iPads in the hope that each caress will bring forth an image more retinally seductive than the last. The photograph on-screen is experienced in movement, as a flow of temporary constellations brought to the screen through algorithmic operations obscured by the interface. The paradox, therefore, is that whilst photography has been completely incorporated into general computing, the internet has intensified photography’s visibility and popularity. The curatorial challenge is to engage the audience with this form of visuality without reducing its processural complexity. Taking my experience curating the digital program at The Photographers’ Gallery, London as its starting point, this paper will explore digital resistance and resistance to digital in relation to cultural value, authorship, audience and the archive.