05 Mai 2022 - 07 Mai 2022
18:00  - 18:00

Forum eikones, Rheinsprung 11, 4051 Basel

EIKONES - Zentrum für die Theorie und Geschichte des Bildes, Universität Basel. The conference is open to the public. For participation in person, please register at: photoarchives-mewi@unibas.ch

Kongress / Tagung / Symposium

Photo Archives VIII. The Digital Photo Archive. Theories, Practices and Rhetoric

Organised by: Estelle Blaschke (s/f/m Department for Media Studies at the University of Basel) and Costanza Caraffa (Head of the Photothek, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max Planck Institute) in cooperation with eikones – Center for the Theory and the History of the Image. It is supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.

The current ‘archival moment’ (Daston 2017) is characterised by the unprecedented online access to visual material, but also by deep concerns about loss of information. Scholars are confronted with the limitless production and circulation of (sometimes self-produced) digital images, as well as with the fragility of aggregated image clusters. Digitisation and digital photography are established practices, and numerous methods and approaches to the storage and retrieval, indexing, interoperability and sustainability of digital image collections have been tested, debated, applied, expanded, questioned and discarded. These technological developments mean that more and more people all over the world are involved in creating, manipulating and collecting images. Images and metadata are copied, scraped, aggregated and rearranged in feeds, clusters and databases, both for commercial or scientific purposes. Moreover, big visual data serve as the basis for developing computer vision techniques. While these multifaceted collections evade canonical notions of the archive, archival structures and practices have become a nexus of the post-digital condition.

Building on the Photo Archives conference series, this gathering aims to examine and reflect on the practices and ideologies of digital photo archives within the framework of the recent history of photography. It seeks to challenge the idea of documentary values connected to photography and archives at a time when visual imagery is completely malleable; it aims at revisiting past narratives, speculating on future uses as well as enhancing best practices. Issues include the economies and ecologies of digital photo archives, the politics of taxonomies and metadata, the multiplication of voices, as well as questions of scale and user experience.

Please note that the conference will be held in English and carried out in a hybrid format for maximum attendance. 

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