Tag Archives: on future of photography

Joan Fontcuberta :: what’s next : on future of photography

“What is commonly understood as art has become a mere genre of culture, a genre aimed at the production of artistic merchandise and ruled by the laws of the marketplace and entertainment industry. It is a genre in the way that any other cultural form such as design, fashion, film or advertising might be.

There is another art which does not draw the spotlight or walk the red carpet, but which, from the most clandestine dissidence, proposes to fight the laws of the marketplace and the entertainment industry at precisely the same time as it reinvents itself as art. It’s an art which rejects the splendor of the museums and biennials and any other efforts at subjugation.

We live in a world saturated with images: we live in the image and the image lives in us and makes us live. Since McLuhan in the 1960s, the preponderant role of the mass media has been confirmed and the iconosphere can be considered the model of the global village. What changes has brought now is not the immersion in new communication frameworks (digital formats, internet, social networks), but the degree to which this extraordinary flow of images is found accessible to everyone.

We are therefore passing through an age of access. It is an era that crowns a process of secularization of the visual experience: the image ceases to be the domain of magicians, artists, specialists and professionals. We all produce images as a natural way of interacting with others. On the other hand, the consolidation of new work and behavioral habits (such as cloud computing) will catalyze many more dynamic cultural stages on a large scale (cloud imagining, cloud living).

This situation implies substantial changes for photography and the image in general that in the near and medium term will only increase. This will be its decalogue:

1 – ON THE ROLE OF THE ARTIST: no longer a case of producing works, but of prescribing meanings
2 – ON THE ARTIST’S BEHAVIOR: the artist merges with the curator, with the collector, with the teacher, with the art historian, with the theorist … (all facets of art have become chameleon like and authorial)
3 – ON THE ARTIST’S RESPONSIBILITY: an ecology of the visual, which will penalize saturation and encourage recycling
4 – ON THE FUNCTION OF IMAGES: the circulation and management of the image will prevail over the content of the image
5 – ON THE PHILOSOPHY OF ART: discourses of originality will be delegitimized and appropriationist practices will be normalized
6 – ON THE DIALECTIC OF THE SUBJECT: we will find greater camouflage of the author and reformulation of the models of authorship (co-authorship, collaborative creation, interactivity, strategic anonymities and orphan works)
7 – ON THE DIALECTIC OF THE SOCIAL: further advances in overcoming the tension between the private and the public
8 – ON ART’S HORIZON: more play will be given to the ludic aspects and less to the solemn and the boring
9 – ON THE EXPERIENCE OF ART: creative practices which accustom us to dispossession will be privileged: it is better to share than to own
10 – ON THE POLITICS OF ART: not to surrendered to glamour and consumption but rather to embark on the act of agitating consciences

It is a matter of greeting a new visual culture able to prepare us for resistance, which trains us not just to live in the image, but to survive the image.” Joan Fontcuberta

Published in WHAT’S NEXT? printed publication 2/4 from FOAM (Fotomuseum Amsterdam) as part of their recent project that critically examines possible future in the field of photography. More info on WHAT’S NEXT forum.

“In fact the question is about far more than just the future of photography. It is about the future of a society directed by visual media, a society in which people primarily communicate with technological tools that are developed and made into consumer products with great speed, a society in which every layman can and will be a photographer, sharing his experiences with newly made online communities, a society in which the time and space have drastically changed. In short, What’s Next? is a debate about the future of a medium and of a society in transition.” (edit from FOAM website)

Click here to read Jim Casper’s article about Fontcuberta’s photographic work, where he also included an audio interview with the artist.