A panel discussion was held last night at the Tate Modern about Capture and consumption: images and digital culture. It raised questions about artists use of social media platforms like Instagram and their role. In general, how we consume images and how they circulate. The discussion involved new forms of curation and questions around ownership and censorship.
Two photographers, an artist and two curators we discussing widely about digital image culture. How cameras are turning into computers and mobiles to cameras caused by the transformation and disruption of digitalisation.
The biggest takeaway was the realisation that in digital consumption culture the most important value of an image is the metadata, that is linked to it. The value of the actual image is almost non-existing. Metadata can be on the contrary very valuable, since it can be commercialised and used for something else.
Another point that was made was the importance of the virtual communities created by social sharing sites like Instagram. It was argued that the community is more important than the images themselves. This type of response to images is relatively new phenomenon. The connectivity goes beyond images, and users can meet offline as well.
What is the motivation behind the compulsion to take, post and view constantly new images and use filters to alter them? It was argued that there is some kind of nostalgia for sharing a form of collective memory. But mostly the behaviour of viewing and taking imagery is disruption and entertainment. Selfies are constant reworking of identity.
Is digital photography photography at all? According to the panel the behaviour of users is more interesting than actual pictures. Instant images are rarely art, and they are not meant to be art. Their value is in populism.
Digitalisation is constantly changing behaviours and consumption patterns. When Google started to rate websites by freshness, it created a constant need for new material, which now has created a whole new market for curation business. According to the panel this is not a bad thing, since now brands have to work hard to stay relevant by creating content.
So what is the next disruption?