» Joanna Zylinska: Non-human Photography

The Fresh Eye platform in collaboration with the publishing house Karolinum, invites you to the launch event for the first Czech translation of the work of Polish new media theorist and artist, Joanna Zylinska. The launch will feature a live-streamed lecture by the author. The event will take place at the Center for Contemporary Art in Prague. Admission is free.

The creative power of non-human photography

Joanna Zylinska

Living in the media-saturated society of the 21st century has become tantamount to being photographed on a constant basis. Our identity is constituted by the ongoing flow of photo streams on our mobile phones, tablets and social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, not to mention the thousands of security cameras invisibly registering our image when we pass through city centres, shopping malls and airports. This photographic process is largely automatic: it is subject to the logic and vision of the machine. This talk argues that human-driven photography – involving an act of conscious looking through a viewfinder or at an LCD screen – is only one small part of what takes place in the field of photography, even though it is often made to stand in for photography as such. Yet, rather than contribute to recent jeremiads about photography – what with it being seen as supposedly dying because it is no longer authentic enough, or being replaced by generative AI – Zylinska suggests that it is precisely through focusing on its nonhuman aspect that we can find life in photography.

The talk draws on the material from Joanna Zylinska’s book, Nonhuman Photography, but it also engages her more recent projects, including some practice-based ones.

Joanna Zylinska is a writer, artist and Professor of Media Philosophy + Critical Digital Practice at King’s College London. She is the author of a number of books – including AI Art: Machine Visions and Warped Dreams (Open Humanities Press, 2020) and Nonhuman Photography (MIT Press, 2017). Joanna is also involved in more experimental and collaborative publishing projects, often on an open-access basis. Her own art practice involves experimenting with different kinds of image-based media. She is currently researching perception and cognition as boundary zones between human and machine intelligence, while trying to map out scenarios for alternative futures. Her latest book is The Perception Machine: Our Photographic Future Between the Eye and AI (MIT Press, forthcoming November 2023).

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