Affect Me. Social Media Images in Art

Arthena Foundation in Düsseldorf and Collaborative Research Center "Affective Societies" at Freie Universität Berlin
No 319/2017 from Nov 17, 2017

New ways of dealing with images in social media and how they are used in art is the theme of an exhibition entitled "Affect Me. Social Media Images in Art," which was curated in collaboration with Freie Universität Berlin. It will be on display until March 10, 2018, in Düsseldorf. The exhibition includes works by nine internationally renowned contemporary artists. The exhibition was created in close cooperation between the Düsseldorf art institution, KAI 10
Arthena Foundation, and the research project "Affective Dynamics of Images in the Age of Social Media" of the Collaborative Research Center "Affective Societies" of Freie Universität. The curators are Julia Höner from KAI 10 and Kerstin Schankweiler from Freie Universität. A panel discussion entitled "Expanded: Affect Me" will be held March 2 at Berlin University of the Arts to accompany the exhibition. Admission is free for both the exhibition and the panel discussion. An exhibition catalog was published by Spector Books.
"Dealing with images has changed fundamentally in the age of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media," explains Julia Höner. Shared cell phone photos and videos have become the most important means of personal expression for a broad public. Both banal moments from the lives of users as well as documentary images from the global hotspots of the present day are distributed millions of times on the Internet. Images have considerable affective potential that plays skillfully with the emotions of the recipients. "The images move the user; they are ’liked’ en masse or provoke protests, induce criticism or unrestrained attacks; they instigate public debates and appear to create a sense of community. They show up again and again, posted or published in new contexts, altered with image editing programs or imitated in new footage," explains Kerstin Schankweiler. The exhibition presents works from nine international artistic positions that refer to the new phenomena of social media imagery and select particular pictorial material that draws its energy from the context of global political conflicts and civil-social protest on the Internet. Their work reflects the usage and the semantics of these images as well as considering their aesthetic qualities. Sometimes, they allow us to delve deep into the places and events of our world in upheaval. "Sometimes, the artists take a more distanced view. They elucidate the mobilizing power of the images and demonstrate how these images create facts and thereby operate along the porous border between reality and fiction," explain the curators. In dealing with digital image phenomena, the artists provide insights into the emotional constitution and excitement dynamics of contemporary societies.

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