The Operational Image: Haptic Imaginaries Across Art and Digital Visual Culture
Histories of internet communication have not infrequently noted the Cold War lineage of the research into and development of encoded, decentralised and, perhaps above all, secure communication. It may be, however, that some of the ways in which this lineage continues to mark the potential and uses of digital visual culture today are still under-estimated. In this talk, Lewis Johnson shall be suggesting that the encoding of touch in haptic screen technologies represents an intensification of modes of involvement in processes of communication that encourages belief in voluntaristic operational effectiveness of tactile activity as communication. Suggesting we can read this in play in phenomena such as the wildlife selfie, he will be exploring how we can read some well-known digital photographic and videographic art, by Andreas Gursky, Thomas Demand, Dyan Marie, Nancy Burson, Aziz and Cucher and perhaps Natalie Bookchin as withdrawing or reintroducing traces of the tactile into spaces of the photographic.
Lewis Johnson is associate professor in Western and Contemporary Art in the Department of Photography and Video, Bahçeşehir University, İstanbul, Turkey. His work in the history and theory of art, media and visual culture ranges across a variety of modern, postmodern and contemporary genres. Recent publications include essays on uses of reproductive imagery in art from Manet to Ines Doujak (Globalization and Contemporary Art, Wiley-Blackwell, 2011) and on gender and sexuality in recent art in Istanbul (Third Text vol. 27, no. 4) and the edited volume Mobility and Fantasy in Visual Culture (Routledge, 2013).