The Post-medium Camera

The Post-medium Camera

Birk Weiberg

This subproject looks at appropriations and extensions of camera concepts in post-photographic artistic practices and analyzes them as alternative approaches to the production of photographic images.

The two technological transformations that have fundamentally effected photography in the last decades are digitization and networking. Both are embodied best in the smartphone as the predominant camera of our time, though they have also given rise to many other novel photographic devices such as action and body cameras, drones, etc. The post-photographic ecosystem here appears as one that is formed by new and often disruptive industry players and entails different production processes and usages of photographic images by consumers. But it has also made the border between the apparatus of photography and photography as a practice more diaphanous. Many artists have reacted to the often-cited crisis of photographic images with a broadening of their practices to the figuration of the camera itself and have thus created a situation in which image making becomes optional rather than the primary objective.

Artistic practices that involve alternative camera concepts will be studied with reference to two non-photographic discourses, namely the notion of a post-medium condition and the critique of modernism in science and technology studies. The retrospective descriptions of art from the late 1960s and early 1970s as a renunciation of modernist medium-specificity by Rosalind Krauss and others has enabled the integration of photographic practices from that time as precursors of current post-photography. At the same time, studies of scientific practices and technological developments have shown a different approach to the understanding of the intra-actions between humans, apparatuses, and objects of research that likewise enable description of the current instable situation of photography as an alternative to traditionally essentialist photo theory.

Hence post-photography can be regarded as a post-medium endeavour that should no longer be described in terms of what photography is today but rather how it manifests itself in non-photographic fields.