Knowing and seeing is not the same thing.
— Regula Bochsler, Artist
When man-made images constitute the evidence of our environment and even our existence, how is our perception of the world manipulated and shaped?
Our planet is wrapped in images. From stratospheric satellite stills to disembodied medical x-rays, we use pictures to describe our environment with unprecedented frequency. Images have become the common language that allows us to not only understand our present landscape, but also access the inaccessible.
Yet, as Emmanuel Alloa wrote, images are “re-articulations of a past that has never been [truly] present.” We discover the blank spaces, the impenetrable margins of our world through what are essentially “testimonials.” We must ask ourselves then: what dangers and what possibilities arise from defining our location through image?
State mandated degradation of pixelation on surveillance footage ensures that we are unable to perceive the evidence of drone strikes, altering our perception of foreign policy. Meanwhile, sublime hubble telescope imagery invokes the American West and our manifest destiny, furthering space exploration. As ubiquitous street view technology allows us to encounter the fringes of a city — its dumps and mortuaries and scrap yards — forcing us to reckon with our urban landscape, mapping interiors peels back the shadow of the real to reveal the traces of present time within the grand scale of oblivion.
Are we better citizens of the planet surrounded by imagery? Do we understand our location in new, exciting ways? Or has image rendered us strangers in a strange land?
At Image as Location, an international group of experts discuss and visualize how images define locations. Through exhibitions, conferences and workshops, artists, theorists, and technologists from Europe and the Americas will question how we are shaped by the images of our world.
Join us for a festival that will change how you see your environment — and don’t forget to bring your camera!