Final Symposium Script

This is my Final script for my Symposium. I plan to Paraphrase a lot of this and have it sectioned out into small paragraph which will be on prompt cards rather than a large chunk of text on A4 paper. I want to try and not be too attatched to the script and be free to try and engage with the audience a little.

So what is Instagram? For those who don’t know and for those who do let’s take ourselves through its process.
Instagram is a smart phone application which is currently limited to Iphone and Android but it allows the user(me) to take a Photograph and instantly upload and share it online with their network of followers. The Sharing of these images is very much based on the design of social networks where there is a constant ‘stream’ or ‘feed’ of information. With Instagram this information is Images.

(So we’ll take myself as the User) Photo –  So I take a photo, I can choose to title it or not, in this case I did and the title is bookshelf skeleton.
And with this image I also choose to categorise what themes are in this image, and you do this with your hashtag.
Categorise # – so we’ll take this tag #window….and we can see that how many images are in that category- 1,512,644 images that share that #. Lets take a look at another one #picoftheday ……………..54,122,750…….and then top 5 tags… love…..
So we can see that people who search and follow these categories are going to potentially be exposed to your images if you categorise them with the use of #tags.
Number of Instagram users – Number of Photos – so its not hard to believe that 10% of all Photographs ever taken were taken in 2011.
one thing we’ve missed out…the filters….   ß– website for the filters image.
When we talk about an Instagram filter, what do we mean? First we understand we take a Photograph and then Instagram provides us with an optional editing process.
It gives us a set of ‘filters’ which are almost like a controlled, designed editing process which are branded down to a quirky name like X-Pro or Nashville which all do something different to the image. We can then apply this look or Editing process to one of our Photographs which then enhances it.
Kevin Systrom co-founder of instagram in an Article for The NY Times said: “We set out to solve the main problem with taking pictures on a mobile phone,” he said, which is that they are often blurry or poorly composed. “We fixed that.”
The filters that are there for us to use are often seemingly designed on old film and processing aesthetics, With One tap on the screen you can turn your Digital Mobile Phone Photograph into a Handmade Analog Darkroom Print and its instantly ready to share online.

There seems to be a pursuit for Nostalgia. ******Like Stephen Mayes has said ‘’We’re embracing the cellphone, but desperately trying to link it to what we know, our histories and what is familiar’’And why is this? Mnemonic? (intended to assist in memory or assisting the memory****** Well aesthetically it looks good, it’s quirky, it’s retro and cool but ultimately it takes us back to a time when we can remember interacting with the single artefact and the experience of it’s aesthetic. Whether you can remember handling, viewing and smelling the old Family photographs your Grandmother keeps in a shoe box or shaking a Polaroid Picture it’s this Nostalgia which helps us understand the potential of Mobile Phone Photography and also Instagram because it simply gets us producing more Images.
Nostalgia Definition
*Photographs Mnemonic to Nostalgia/Memory*
*Kodak selling the idea that the Consumers or users memory itself is unreliable and that a Photograph itself will Capture that Memory better, they were selling the memory, we were sold the memory which encouraged us to cherish the analog image. And now over time the nostalgia has also become about the medium and not just the memory we captured in the photograph.
Nancy martha west quote*-*”Kodak systematically urged it’s consumers to view Photography and the world it recorded through the lens of nostalgia.”

We practice and experiment with familiar medium in order to adapt to the new medium. When we talk about the Single artefact and these Old Analog Images, we are talking of the ‘Fixed Image’ you can touch it, hold it, frame it on your wall, you can smell it and if you want to you can EAT it. It’s fixed, its negotiated by time and space, whereas when we talk of the Digital Image and especially with Instagram we are talking about the ‘Fluid Image’ Fred Ritchin describes this fluid image  as “Quantum imagery.” which expanded on by Stephen Mayes he says…’’ Digital photography is anything and everything at any single moment; it has contradictory meanings all at once’’.
Polaroid pic link

Instagram is a perfect example of the ‘Fluid Image’ in a very literal sense. There have been arguments over Instagram being the death of photography, similar to the arguments of twitter being death to journalism. But surely as practitioners we should be asking instead how can we use this platform to benefit our practice? Instead of hammering the first nail in the coffin. Instagram is not necessarily based on the actual photograph but simply on the sharing and the social media platform.
Let’s take Facebook and its news feed which is populated by your friends activities as a way to understand it.
You read a status from someone who you most probably don’t really know but maybe you do. It will probably  hang around for about a day or so, but after a week…it’s gone  it’s in the stream, it’s fluid, and you probably forgot that it ever had existed. And this is  the same for Instagram, except the Status is a Photograph. It is uploaded for Immediate Feedback or immediate response, Immediate likes and shares. It has not been produced to be fixed. So we can start to Understand why Fred Ritchin and Stephen Mayes and other Theorists are stating that Digital Photography is it’s own medium.

‘When we first invented the Automobile, we called it the Horseless Carriage, we still have Horsepower in our cars, but the car has nothing to do with horses.’’
‘Digital Photography has very little to do with what we think of as Photography’ Fred Ritchin
So why are we beginning to fix the fluid image? Especially these Images which have been created and designed on a Digital Platform for Digital Use. We’ve Digitalised the Negative and now we want to Negatize the Digitive? Or should i say Fix The Fluid Image

Christopher Bonanos in an article for the NYmagazine said
‘Instagram is tapping the sense—a sense that has almost been lost—that a photograph is itself a precious object.’ Christopher Bonanos
So if we think about this in the idea of nostalgia , by using the filters and the analog edit to the digital photograph we are reconnecting with older image making processes and systematically reconnecting with the Single Artefact. And the importance that it is fixed, and what we know and remember of a fixed image.
An example of this is the Impossible Film Project who purchased an old Polaroid Factory to attempt to start making and producing their own polaroid film for an estimated 300,000,000 still working and existing Polaroid Cameras. In 2011 they sold just under 1,000,000 Packs of new Polaroid Film. And now from October 2012 they raised Funding through a Kickstarter project to begin the production of ‘The Impossible Instant Lab’ to introduce to the Market this year. This Prints digital images as Polaroid prints straight from your Iphone. This is Fixing the Fluid Image.

Printstagram is another example, but they specialise in the printing of Instagram Photos specifically. With many different products and packages but in this case ‘the memory box’ Promoting the physical Photo Album the physical document, prints of
all the Photos you have ever taken on Instagram . You can even ‘double prints for sharing’ rather than having your image shared with potentially millions of users on Instagram. It denies the possibilities of the quantum digital image in favour of the printed, fixed destructible analog one.

By the time this year is over there will also be a prototype ‘SocialMatic Camera’ which is a fully functioning Instagram Digital Camera which Prints an Instagram Image. Think of it as an App in a camera’s body. But it does give you a print. This also is another new product which Fixes the Fluid Image.

SO why do we want these Images in our Hands, Shoeboxes, Pockets, Wallets.
If you all take a moment to look under your seat you should find blu-tac’d, a print. take a moment to look at it and feel it in your hands, get to know it. Understand it as a fixed image. For this Symposium i have been an active user of Instagram for 4 months and the image you hold will be one of the ones i have taken over this period. These Images are now forgotten, they’re in the stream and some of them have been for months now. This Image is yours to keep and for you to do what you want with it. The reason why this Physical Artefact is so Special is down to the Provenance of it. the meaning. You can see that it is Handmade with Handwriting. This is shared from a Human and not a Cyborg. When you look at the photograph you are holding in the future you will remember today, and that I shared it with you and the manner that i shared it in. Its unique. I can’t share this  in the same way with you on the Internet because on the internet there is a lack of provenance and a wealth of information. You now have control over this Photograph unlike it’s Fluid form on the Internet. This Photograph will now have a place negotiated by time and space and will become mnemonic to memory, making it harder to forget it. I believe the reason why the Artefact is so Attractive In the Fluid Digital World and the reason why we want to start holding our Images again is simply because we’ve experienced the Fluid. We experience it Everyday and as humans we feel there is something missing in that world through the screens. Marshall Mcluhan Once Said: ‘One thing about which fish know exactly nothing is water’ Meaning they haven’t experienced the Dry so how can they know that they are in Water. We have experienced the Fluid, we have experienced the Water, the stream, the news feeds, the digital. But we have also experienced the Dry. The Analog, the Artefact, The Photographic Print, and i believe that the Fluid Digital Environment has given us the alternative to realise the importance of the Fixed Image.
Thank you, and if you have a twitter account and would like to drop some feedback on your thoughts on the Fixed Image and the print you have just received please #hastag rawfmt and start a conversation
Thank you.

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