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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

The Ubiquitous Image: The Novel Cult Value of Public-generated Snaps in the ecosystem of Web 2.0

Moschovi, Alexandra (2012) The Ubiquitous Image: The Novel Cult Value of Public-generated Snaps in the ecosystem of Web 2.0. In: Beyond Representation: Photography, Humans & Computers, 24 - 25 May 2012, Centre for Media & Culture Research, London South Bank University in association with the journal Philosophy of Photography. (Unpublished)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


The portability, connectivity and wireless mobility of the new generation of camera phones, their ubiquitousness and user-friendliness, have advanced a new kind of constant alertness to the visual noteworthy. Wavering between the individual and the collective, the private and the public, these camera phone images lose the authorial signature of the individual author as they travel in the ether migrating from one social networking platform, moblog, group, and meta-group to another. Yet, it is this mobility and connectivity that may allow personal snaps to be viewed against a complex web of cultural interrelations, whose structure departs from the mainstream institutional power-knowledge model and can, in specific circumstances, form the intellectual basis for what Jacques Rancière sees as the potential for the “emancipation of the spectator”. As online counter culture is gradually infiltrated into the mainstream, such imagery also finds outlets outside the online realm: having captured the imagination of artists and curators alike, public generated snaps have, in recent years, been featuring in an increasing number of photography and art exhibitions.
This paper discussed the abovementioned associations around the re/de/contextualization of public-generated snaps in art contexts, examining how their subjective, intimate nature, their amateurism and aesthetic of the anaesthetic, contribute to their social currency as authentic, ‘true-to-life’ records of the everyday. This analysis was pursued through contrasting case studies of artistic and curatorial practices embracing such imagery and the issues of originality, ownership, authorship, and intentionality they raise.

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Uncontrolled Keywords: Digital photography, networked image, amateur photography, public life of the personal image, vernacular culture, tagging, metadata, civil engagement, participatory museum, curatorial practices
Depositing User: Alexandra Moschovi


Item ID: 3748
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ORCID for Alexandra Moschovi: ORCID iD

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Date Deposited: 09 May 2013 13:44
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2019 15:35