Lecture: Katrina Sluis


Katerina Sluis is a curator of digital programming at the Photographer’s Gallery. Her job title was created in order to help the organization make sense of network distributed image culture. Thus, in order to better explain the current situation of photography and networks she used a quote by Scott Mcquire who said that ‘we are experiencing a paradigm shift away from an older understanding of the image based on aesthetics and the politics of representation towards a new understanding of the image as data governed by the algorithmic politics of search and quantification’.

This quote is relevant because we have always thought about what’s represented inside the image and its relationship with the world and we always thought about it in terms of semiotics but now when machines become producers and readers of images as well as prime organizers of information, they have established a power which transforms the way we need to think about the image. Katerina specifically related this power of machines through the use of Google Analytics that is being used to track audiences online in order to understand what consumers want. I found this concept of machines having power really interesting because I have never thought of them in relation to power. I think it also directly relates to the concepts of the Internet and data that I have been exploring so far because the data obtained from over sharing online is being used to construct a digital identity and by possessing this data, the advertising companies have the power to influence how we shape our identity.

Additionally, Katerina mentioned the significance of gifs as being uniquely digital as they could not be printed out. I also haven’t ever thought about gifs in this way so I was eager to hear more. Katerina also mentioned the work of Lorna Mills – who takes gifs that already exist online and collages them. The collages she makes have a grotesque-like aesthetics which seem a little hectic to me personally (pictured below).  I have been wanting to include gifs into my website and I think looking into her work made me aware of how gifs could be potentially used in a different way.

Daniel Rubenstein stated that ‘the current resurgence of the gif is not only part of the nostalgic turn towards the blurred, the unsharp and the faded  but it is also a marker of a moment when the history of the network becomes the material from which the digital image draws its living energy’. I think this quote that Katerina used perfectly encompasses the gifs into the modern world and highlights their significance. This also made me think about the fact that the ‘nostalgic turn towards the blurred, the unsharp and the faded’ is directly relevant to the vintage inspired aesthetics of my website. I think the nostalgia towards the ‘old’ generates a sense of trust in the old days and since I am trying to use tactics of persuasion to attract my users, I am appealing to their sense of nostalgia to gain their trust and persuade them to share personal information.



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