Keynote: The (Networked) Image in Conflict: Digital Archives and the Dilemma of Evidence, ICPT Conference, Nicosia, Nov 24, 2018

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The (Networked) Image in Conflict: Digital Archives, Cultural Activism, and the Dilemma of Evidence

Anthony Downey (Professor of Visual Culture in the Middle East and North Africa, Birmingham City University)

Have artists and cultural institutions realigned how we look at and engage with political activism, historical events, and revolutionary conflict? The extent to which the visual arts reflected upon and promoted social and political change during and after the Arab Spring gives rise to this and other questions about digital archives, cultural activism, and the dilemma of evidence in an age of networked communication systems. Throughout this time, digital archives — produced through video- and film-making, performances, and numerous media platforms — and their evidentiary contexts became closely associated with activist practices, leading to a number of prevailing assumptions about both cultural production in the region and the effectiveness of digital and social media as tools for enabling political transformation. In light of these conjectures, and revelations concerning the on-going role of social media in surveillance and the proliferation of disinformation, this keynote will propose a critical framework for artists, cultural institutions, and policy-makers alike to engage with both the potential and, crucially, the shortcomings of cultural activism during this period.

The 2018 International Conference of Photography and Theory (ICPT 2018) interweaves the ideas of the conflictual and the archival in relation to the photographic image.

Keynote speakers: Akram Zaatari//Anthony Downey//Olga Demetriou

For full details of conference, see here.