Looking Aside: Collective Constructs, Autarchic Assemblage
Ayiter, Elif and Germen, Murat (2007) Looking Aside: Collective Constructs, Autarchic Assemblage. In: Mutamorphosis: Challenging Arts and Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic (Accepted/In Press)
Photography communities emerge as complex systems that seem to have engendered the creation of a particular form of associative content through the usage of tags and tag clouds, manifesting as powerful textual structures that nonetheless take their trajectory from the visual. Thus the single photograph is no longer an independent visual entity, but becomes part of a self organizing system which is capable of manifesting expressive, narrative and interpretative abilities, as the materialization of a non-sequential/non-linear, if not indeed multi-linear collective intelligence. “… the photograph is violent: Not because it shows violent things, but because on each occasion it fills the sight by force, and because in it nothing can be refused or transformed.” Web 2 photography domains simultaneously project an equally powerful capacity for individuated expression which, at first glance seems to present a contradiction to their prevalent “communal” characteristic: These photographs are mostly posted by amateurs and, as such, they rarely possess any of the glamour and intentionality / instrumentality present in professional photography; be it stock, advertising, journalistic or otherwise. As such, they bring to the fore the usage of photography as a tool of personal expression which, borrowing Lewis Mumford’s phrases on the aesthetics of the ordinary can be considered as the “elimination of the non-essential” that foregrounds “the naked quality of the material itself”. Thus, Web 2 domains allow room for an idiosyncratic, non-customized photography genre which necessitates the discourse of an “aesthetics of the ordinary”, as opposed to the ubiquitous and recursive aesthetics that prevail in professional stock photography. Information and Communications Technologies are in the process of going a long way in creating extreme environments for art education, indeed they seem to herald the implementation of innovative, e-educational, cybernetic systems for the dissemination of, not only creative activity itself – as is the case already; but also for the education of creativity in the imminent future. Thus, this paper describes a proposed electronic, art educational syllabus/methodology focusing primarily on, but not limited to Web 2 communal photography; one which aspires to translate Arthur Koestler’s definition of creativity as a process of “thinking aside” , into an educational approach which can be characterized as “looking aside”; of which, associative content, materializing as a confluence of text and image; as well as the layering and clustering of images, ideas and concepts into complex creative structures/systems are envisioned as the basic building blocks.
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