Fotomuseum Winterthur has just launched a new exhibition format titled SITUATIONS, which allows to react more quickly to developments within photographic culture. The initial cluster is Relations and includes work by Ryan Trecartin, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Hito Steyerl and Aneta Grzeszykowska.
As every citizen with a smartphone, laptop or tablet knows, photography is becoming increasingly distributed. Driven by the vast replicative power of digital algorithms, photographs now move with tremendous speed across a wide variety of devices and platforms. At the same time, digital vision is now profoundly social, implicated in many areas of human activity. Certainly, this is having an impact on practice as younger artists in particular work with a range of media and no longer easily describe themselves as photographers.
In our daily work we find ourselves speaking more of the photographic than photography, of photographic media, rather than the medium. This poses a challenge for a photography museum with a distinctive, but significantly analogue history. We are convinced that Fotomuseum Winterthur needs to react decisively and that this means far more than simply re-embracing a rather out-dated digital turn.
The role of SITUATIONS is to offer an innovative integration of physical exhibition space and virtual forum. Using tags and clusters as a mode of curatorial classification the aim is to integrate the real and the virtual in relation to exhibition in a new way.
A SITUATION may last a few hours, or two months, and might be photographic imagery, a film, a text, an on-line interview, a screenshot, a photo-book presentation, a projection, a Skype lecture, a performance etc. It might take place in Winterthur or perhaps in São Paulo or Berlin and be streamed on our website. The idea is to construct a constantly growing archive of SITUATIONS, reframing the idea of exhibition in relation to new technologies and both our local and global audiences.
The SITUATIONS programme will be organised around key clusters: Relations (the changing social ontology of photography in relation to digital culture); Seeing Machines (the power of the digital algorithm as a technology of seeing); and Formats (especially the exploration of lost or changing visual formats).
Each cluster can then be searched and reordered by visitors in the SITUATIONS online archive using a system of tags. Over time, new clusters and combinations—and new virtual exhibitions—will emerge