Zipped Worlds. Photography in Public Space
Breda Beban, Dario Belić, Emma Ciceri, Fabrizio Giraldi, G.R.A.M., Borut Krajnc, Paula Muhr, Adrian Paci, Eva Petrič & Laurent Ziegler, Metka Zupanič
21 June – 15 August 2015
Zipped Worlds is a collaborative project by partner organisations Photon – Centre for Contemporary Photography and Trieste Contemporanea, in which curators explore new concepts of public and private, as communicated through the present use of photographic images. The exhibition brings together a selection of works from the larger project involving 15 artists from different European countries.
Photography is entering public space with its physical presence, through digital media and furthermore through the notion that everything around us is constantly being recorded. Photography is de facto the most ubiquitously present visual medium in today’s urban environment. Within this wide spectrum, photography appears in public space (urban exteriors and interiors) in the traditional form of a “picture” as well as through the omnipresence of a network of surveillance cameras that record images non-stop. We are the most photographed and recorded world population ever. CCTV systems, Google Street View, security, satellite and other cameras follow every step we take, which means that we are also the most visually controlled population of all time.
At a time when most of us have mobile phone devices and digital cameras, we paradoxically insist on our right to privacy whilst simultaneously “snap-shooting” everything we see. On the one hand, there is our desire to capture fragments of everyday life in images, and on the other hand, there is ever-increasing inclination to censor and exert control over the same images. These trends are, in essence, contradictory and paradoxical. Hence, photography in the public sphere is becoming an extremely contentious area in which collective fears of terrorism, paedophilia, intrusions on privacy and control over images converge.
This also raises legal issues, in particular as regards to the restriction of the use of photography in the public space. Whist it is true that the individual’s privacy in the public space is not legally regulated with the exception of the protection of children’s privacy (taking pictures of children in public spaces is considered a form of paedophilia!), it is equally true that we have lost “photographic innocence”: whenever we pick up a camera, potentially there’s a person who might be intimidated by the gesture, which is a demonstration of paranoia of a period dominated by surveillance technology. Thus, taking pictures in public space also means assuming social responsibility, in particular in light of the contradictory urge to record everything, on one side, and protect privacy on the other.
Not all share a positive view of the current processes but consider them the next stage in cultural commodification brought about by advanced digital culture. Digital – internet public space raises also a number of aesthetic, formal and ethical issues, and some of them are questioned by the artists involved in the Zipped Worlds project.
Curators: Guiliana Carbi and Dejan Sluga