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Introduction (as co-convenor) of the conference session “Relocations: Photography Within, Across and Outside the Museum since the 1970s”

Moschovi, Alexandra and Memou, Antigoni (2008) Introduction (as co-convenor) of the conference session “Relocations: Photography Within, Across and Outside the Museum since the 1970s”. In: Location: The Museum, the Academy and the Studio, 34th AAH Annual Conference, 2-4 April 2008, Tate Modern and Tate Britain, London. (Unpublished)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)


It was not until the early 1980s that photography was fully accommodated as an independent discipline in the art museum, a development that coincided chronologically and ontologically with the advent of postmodernism. In the course of its belated institutionalisation, photography’s essence would be reinvented as part of its novel exhibition value; the medium-specific, self-reflexive ‘fiction’ of photography itself being now completely overshadowed by a new interdisciplinary and inter-media category, widely termed ‘the photographic’. Yet, despite the programmatic pluralism and heterogeneity of photography’s ‘expanded field’, there are still photographic practices that are specifically excluded from the museum’s premises, seen as aesthetically, conceptually, or politically incompatible.
This session sought to examine the morphological, ontological, and ideological changes that photography has sustained in the course of its museumification, and to look anew into the ways its discursive field may function within, across, and outside the museum. It accommodated papers that discuss institutional/individual case studies and theoretical frameworks that address the following questions:
What are the institutional criteria that may determine whether a photographic work is admitted to the museum?
How have the long-contested notions of authorship and authenticity been reconceptualised to meet or challenge photography’s physical particularities?
Is ‘the photographic’ simply a side-effect of the general passage to a ‘post-medium’ condition or just another thematic through which the museum organises its subjects?
How has the institutional context affected photography’s use value and political impulse?
Could this new field of operations currently expanding to encompass popular digitally produced imagery become the critique not only of photography as an academy but also of the museum as an institution?
Can digitisation and the avid dissemination of photographs on cyberspace liberate professionalised art photography from the burden of the ‘ritual’ and enable it to (re)turn to politics, as Walter Benjamin would have it?

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Additional Information: Session speakers: Anne Braybon (LCC, University of the Arts) Conceit of the Righteous: Photography at the Institute of Contemporary Art in the early 1970s; Julian Stallabrass (Courtauld Institute of Art) Memory of Fire: Curating the Brighton Photo Biennial; Neil Matheson (University of Westminster) Thomas Demand: Simulation, hybridity and the dialogue with modernism; Rachel Snow (University of South Carolina Upstate) Vernacular Photography in the Museum: Canonisation or critique?; Gil Pasternak (University College London/Chelsea College of Art & Design) Posthumous Interruptions: The political life of family photographs in Israeli Military Cemeteries; Nina Lager Vestberg (J. Paul Getty Postdoctoral Research Fellow ) Lee Miller at the V & A: Photography and technostalgia in the museum.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Postmodern photography, photography's expanded field, museumification, authorship, connoisseurship, post-medium condition, photography's use value, political impulse, popular imagery, popularisation strategies, digitisation
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Depositing User: Alexandra Moschovi


Item ID: 2763
Official URL:

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ORCID for Alexandra Moschovi: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 29 Feb 2012 11:31
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2019 15:33


Author: Alexandra Moschovi ORCID iD
Author: Antigoni Memou

University Divisions

Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries
Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries > School of Art and Design


Fine Art > Art History
Fine Art > Art in Context
Photography > Photography

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