Anxiety of Photography

September 10- December 30, 2011
Talking Art with Matthew Thompson, Associate Curator, Aspen Art Museum
Saturday, September 10


Photography can be thought of as a medium, a tool, an object, a practice, or, more often than not, some combination thereof. Through approximately forty works, some of them created for the exhibition and some shown for the first time, The Anxiety of Photography examines the growing number of artists who embrace photography’s plasticity and ability to exist, sometimes uneasily, in multiple contexts.

The fluidity of photography can produce fundamental anxieties for both artist and viewer. Many of the works presented here reflect on the changing nature of our relationship to the materials and materiality of photography, as artists produce prints from hand-painted negatives, violently collide framed pictures, or arrange photographs and objects in uncanny still lifes. The “objecthood” of the image is powerfully expressed throughout the exhibition, both in front of the camera and in the presentation of the work itself.

This tendency toward materiality, part of a larger trend in contemporary art of the last decade, is accompanied by a reinvestment in studio practice and an interweaving of personal content within the work. Many of the artists included employ an expanded collage aesthetic and have fully digested notions of appropriation. Borrowed images coexist with photographs taken by the artist; images produced in a commercial context are reused within the artist’s studio.

By playing with the photograph’s three essential qualities—being flat, static, and bounded—artists are investigating just what a photographic object and a photographic practice can be. They use the puzzlement that photographs induce to compel a more careful state of looking, a more open dive into pictures. They are fully mobilizing photography’s resources.

The exhibition in Austin is presented by Arthouse at the Jones Center and the Austin Museum of Art.


Digital photo-exhibition

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas is hosting an innovative, all-digital photo exhibit and panel discussion on covering migration in the Americas as part of the 2011 Austin Forum on Journalism in the Americas.

The panel, “Covering International Migration in Central and North America,” is from 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8, in the LBJ conference room of the College of Communication building (CMA) on the University of Texas at Austin campus. Chaired by Charles Hale, the director of the Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, the panel will include Julián Aguilar of the Texas Tribune; Cecilia Alvear of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and UNITY Journalists of Color; Oscar Chacón of the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities; Fabián Sánchez of i(dh)eas, the association for strategic litigation for Central Americans in Mexico; and Jose Luis Sierra of New America Media.

The innovative digital exhibit of photographs on migration in the Western hemisphere, “Cruzando Fronteras en las Américas/Crossing Borders in the Americas,” begins at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the lobby of the CMA building.

Rather than a traditional display of print-outs, photos in this exhibit will be displayed digitally on large plasma screens. Work will be on display from photographers throughout the Americas, including Toni Arnau, Donna DeCesare, Irene Herrera, Felipe Jacome, Carl Juste, Lisa Krantz, Pepe Mateos, Edu Ponces, Eli Reed, Eduardo Soteras, and Nuri Vallbona.

The panel and photo exhibit are part of the 9th Austin Forum on Journalism in the Americas: Media Coverage of Migration in the Americas, to be held Sept. 8-10, and organized by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas and the Latin American and Media programs of the Open Society Foundations.

“Transmedia Storytelling”

Daniel Lorenzetti and Juan Garcia

Building on their successful “late break” presentation at SXSW Interactive 2010, Daniel Lorenzetti and Juan Garcia will discuss “transmedia storytelling” and its profound implications for politics, marketing, and all forms of entertainment. Transmedia storytelling uses multiple forms of media and media outlets, concurrently, to advance and enhance a narrative. Done well, transmedia storytelling is a truly immersive and participatory media experience. Join us for an overview of prominent transmedia initiatives that have made their way into mainstream entertainment and commerce.

Daniel Lorenzetti is a digital creative and an award-winning documentary photographer (The Birth of Coffee published by Random House) and writer (The Mercuri Cycle). He has navigated many creative careers from owning an advertising agency to serving as executive editor of a magazine to working for public television as an investigative reporter. He also confused his parents by briefly serving as an Air Force Academy cadet, and earning English and Economics undergraduate degrees. He then completed an expensive law degree and master’s degrees in Journalism and Counseling Psychology. You can find Daniel on Twitter:

Juan Garcia is an award winning new media producer and strategist focused on the convergence of emergent technology in entertainment and communications. As a New Media Manager for The University of Texas at Austin’s Faculty Innovation Center, he has helped develop and launch a series of digital media campaigns and curricula. He has served on the board of directors for the Austin Museum of Digital Art, Mobile Film School and the Austin School of Film, and currently sits on the Texas Exes Marketing Committee. A born storyteller and passionate futurist, he has previously spoken about new media trends for Apple, CNN, and the World E-Democracy Forum in Paris, France. You can find Juan on Twitter:

  • WHAT: The Austin Forum on Science, Technology & Society
  • WHEN:   Tuesday, November 9 at 6:30pm / Get there early! Networking reception starts at 5:45pm
  • WHERE: AT&T Conference Center Amphitheater (Room 204) / 1900 University Ave.
  • COST: Free and open to the public

PARKING: Free parking is available on the street or in the surface lot at MLK and Congress after 5:30pm-about two blocks to the AT&T Conference Center. Garage parking is available at the AT&T Conference Center for $7 (go to Gabriel’s to purchase your $7 voucher). Bicycle racks are located at the AT&T garage entrance on 20th Street; motorcycle parking is available by the Harry Ransom Center on 21st Street.




Aesthetics & Politics

Here are some seminars that you’ll probably not attend but might wish you could. I thought that it might be interesting to see this in context of our reading of Ranciere.

Essex / Brighton Seminars on Aesthetics & Politics 10/25-10/26

:: Curating Resistance :: Aesthetics & Ethics in Social Movement ::
:: October 25th, 2010:: University of Essex ::
:: Room 4.722 :: 1PM – 5PM ::

Participants: Gavin Grindon (Kingston) // Paul Halliday (Goldsmiths) // Antigoni Memou (University of East London) // Matthew Poole (Essex)

Avant-garde and social movement art production has long had a troubled and conflictual relationship with the museum and the archive. The call to abandon the gallery as a space for art separated from everyday life, one that all too often neutralizes the antagonistic energies of radical art, reverberates from Dada through Fluxus, the Surrealists to Reclaim the Streets. But in today’s post-Fordist creativity-fueled economy, the call to end this division rings hollow precisely because it has already been accomplished: the energies of insurgent creativity are rendered into forms of dispersed production for the net economy. The surrealist invocation of the marvelous is today’s advertising copy. Joseph Beuys’ proclamation that “everyone is an artist” has been realized in perverse form as “everyone is a worker,” where relationality is ‘socially sculpted’ through the circuits of an always present network culture as opportunities for capitalist valorization: all YouWork and MyProfit.

What might there be that could avoid these tensions and contradictions, or at least begin to suggest ways to work through and against them? Where does one go when life itself is both a direct producer of value and the substance of artistic production? To a gallery of the streets? Or maybe a university of trash? Is the archive of the undercommons a pile of zines sitting at the back of the infoshop? A pile of fleshy tissue inscribed on by a Kafka-esque writing machine? Perhaps it is all and none of these things. Thus we return to the question of the archive and history not to catalog social movement artistic production for a gallery-morgue or the productivity of the metropolitan factory, but rather to consider what an ethics and aesthetics of developing a living archive of experience and knowledges that can feed back into and through the fabric of everyday life might be.

Sponsored by the University of Essex Management Centre (

For more information contact Stevphen Shukaitis (

Metropolitan Strategies, Psychogeographic Investigations
:: A Drifting Seminar :: Brighton, October 26th, 2010 ::
Starting @ the Cowley Club, 2PM

The notion of psychogeography (as well as many other ideas of the Situationists) appears frequently within political and artistic discussions. Indeed, they circulate to the point of cliché, in the process becoming almost completely emptied of content. The derive is reduced to a leisurely stroll, perhaps accompanied with some secondary musings about the nature of the spectacle, a dash of literary activity, or perhaps some local history. This is a hollowing out of the concept. Psychogeography for the Situationists was primarily not an aesthetic activity, but more than anything a strategic approach to understanding the forces shaping the city and from those finding points of intervention in it. At times it verged on a nearly military framework, working to gain an intuitive understanding of the territory and its layering of images, affects, and circuits of capitalist valorization.

Today we find ourselves in a condition of ever intensified spectacular sociability: all of life put to work in webs of biopolitical production, overwhelming communicative and media flows, and the reshaping of the metropolis through culture led gentrification. More than ever well-developed psychogeographic investigations are needed to comprehend the shaping of the metropolis and the possibilities this offers for political action. But this is not a task for the carefree wanderings of the flaneur, but perhaps better suited for what Ian Sinclair has described as the superseding figure of the stalker, the one who knows where he is going, but not why or how.

The aim of this encounter is to draw together concepts from psychogeography and unitary urbanism with recent writings on the shaping of the metropolis today. And from this approach to understanding the changing nature of the city elaborate new political strategies. For instance, if the metropolis is a factory, how would it go on strike? If all of everyday life and communication is put to work, how can we throw down our tools? And if capital attempts to recuperate all forms of radical politics in order to turn them into new energies for continued accumulation, is a strategy of concealment or incomprehensibility one way to escape from these dynamics?

This event will not be based around formal presentations, but rather will rather take the form of a drifting seminar. Participants will be asked to read several pieces of text that will form the basis of discussion and exploration.


Gwen shares a link to this provocative art work…

I thought this artist’s work might be relevant to some of the things we’ve been talking about in class or at least interesting to some of the students.  The artist is Hank Willis Thomas, and he’s taken classic ads featuring African Americans and removed all context clues like advertising copy or brand logos, so in the end it’s just this really interesting exploration of the black male body.
Hank Willis Thomas

Between Art and Anthropology

Between Art and Anthropology provides new and challenging arguments for considering contemporary art and anthropology in terms of fieldwork practice. Artists and anthropologists share a set of common practices that raise similar ethical issues, which the authors explore in depth for the first time.

The book presents a strong argument for encouraging artists and anthropologists to learn directly from each other’s practices ‘in the field’. It goes beyond the so-called ‘ethnographic turn’ of much contemporary art and the ‘crisis of representation’ in anthropology, in productively exploring the implications of the new anthropology of the senses, and ethical issues, for future art-anthropology collaborations.

The contributors to this exciting volume consider the work of artists such as Joseph Beuys, Suzanne Lacy, Marcus Coates, Cameron Jamie, and Mohini Chandra. With cutting-edge essays from a range of key thinkers such as acclaimed art critic Lucy R. Lippard, and distinguished anthropologists George E. Marcus and Steve Feld, Between Art and Anthropology will be essential reading for students, artists and scholars across a number of fields.