The Center for Photographic Media and Culture is a research center within the Photography Program at Parsons The New School for Design devoted to redefining photographic practice in the 21st Century. Through project-based experimentation, critical research, and dialogue with a global network of affiliated practitioners, the CPMC confronts the complexities of image making in our increasingly media-rich environment. Situating itself at the generative intersection of art, technology, and culture, the Center aims to support and promote emerging forms of photographic practice and practitioners rising from this axis.
The Photography Program at Parsons the New School for Design is housed within the School of Art, Media, and Technology. It offers a 4-year BFA degree and a 26-month MFA degree. The Parsons Photography Program functions as a cutting edge 21st-century studio and think tank. Students are encouraged to develop their individual vision in a collaborative, interdisciplinary environment and to explore photography and related technologies, focusing on the relationship between concept and production. The goal of the program is to provide students with the visual, technical, conceptual, and professional vocabulary necessary to succeed in the wide field of photographic practices.
“To participate in the image as thing means to participate in its potential agency – an agency that is not necessarily beneficial, as it can be used for every imaginable purpose. It is vigorous and sometimes even viral. And it will never be full and glorious, as images are bruised and damaged, just as everything else within history. History, as Benjamin told us, is a pile of rubble. Only we are not staring at it any longer from the point of view of Benjamin’s shell- shocked angel. We are not the angel. We are the rubble. We are this pile of scrap.” Hito Steyrel, excerpt from A Thing Like You and Me, e-flux Journal #15, April 2010
Andrew Norman Wilson, The Inland Printer-164, 2012
“At some point later I heard about the scanning mistakes and accidents that occur in Google’s book-scanning operations and decided to look closer. The work of the ScanOps employees is an interesting hybrid—it is a labor of digitizing informational materials that requires no cognitive involvement with the content of those materials. The labor process is quite Fordist—press button, turn page, repeat.
The workers compose part of the photographic apparatus, which in a broad sense includes not only the machinery but the social systems in which photography operates. The anonymous workers, Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the pink “finger condoms,” infrared cameras, the auto-correction software, the capital required to fund the project, the ink on my rag-paper prints, me—we’re all part of it.” –– Andrew Norman Wilson, Interview with Laurel Ptak, Aperture, Issue 210, Spring 2013
“The deceptive nature of the digital image is not evoked by a certain resemblance of original and copy, or reality and its simulation. No matter whether faithful or unfaithful, the similitude of the simulacrum seems no longer a question of likeness or unlikeness. Instead, similarity has turned into simultaneity; it has become a question entirely occupied by time: synchronized time and temporal command.
The digital image is characterized by a promise of instant availability in so-called real time that comes along with the idea of global compatibility. Today, the illusionary character of the image lies in the proclamation of immediate access to the recorded data as well as in the idea of unlimited exchangeability bypassing any actual resemblance.” –– Florian Schneider
Image from Wolfgang Tillmans’s FESPA Digital/Fruit Logistica (Walther König, 2012)
“A photographic ink-jet print on paper, an iPad drawing printed on ink-jet paper, and an original design printed on ink-jet paper are all technically exactly the same. Perhaps it’s time to rethink the remarkably persistent categorization of artworks. In my view, we are all making pictures.” –– Wolfgang Tillmans, Interview with Michelle Kuo, Artforum, September 2012
Image: Takeshi Murata, 3 AM, 2012 Courtesy the artist
and Salon 94, New York
Murata’s computer-generated series of photographs, Synthesizers, begins with backgrounds “sculpted” by the artist using 3-D software he learned to use through online tutorials. The “sets” are then filled with readymade 3-D elements purchased online.
“What’s hidden beneath the user interface or the sleek camera casing needs to be exposed, not only made visible and comprehensible to the photographic practitioner, but also taken apart, deconstructed, and mined for creative potentials.”
The Photographic Universe II brings together a range of leading practitioners, scientists, theoreticians, historians, and philosophers to consider and reflect on current discussions in photography at a pivotal moment in its history. The unique format of the conference will consist of one-on-one conversations between two individuals from disparate professional and research backgrounds. The conference will conclude with a roundtable focusing on photographic education.
Dates: April 10-11, 2013
Location: Theresa Lang Student and Community Center, 55 West 13th Street, NYC