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 a historian and theorist of art and visual culture, currently living and working in Istanbul. He has worked to enable the study of art, design and media use across the boundaries of disciplines and cultures, helping to establish innovative study programmes such as the PhD Fine Art in the University of London, and new graduate and undergraduate programmes in Visual Arts, Communication Design and Photography and Video at universities in Istanbul. He has published studies of work by different generations of Turkish and Turkish diaspora artists, in journals such as Angelaki and Third Text as well as publishers such as Chicago University Press and the Tate Gallery, editing the anthology Mobility and Fantasy in Visual Culture for Routledge in 2014. He has also worked as a curator, for the V&A in London and for a series of institutions in Istanbul. As well as work on the museum of art and the digital networked image, he is currently working on the notion of art as intervention.