The term “metadata” is used to describe the information that travels with a digital image file but is unseen within the image itself. This data includes the details about the digital photograph’s creation, its ownership, and how it is situated within structures of order. In our networked digital environment, metadata is accessed by both human users and artificial intelligences. Software algorithms orchestrate what images we see and exchange while collecting the valuable data generated by our interactions. In our moment, dominated by image-based social media and surveillance, we are becoming increasingly aware that understanding the information that circulates unseen around photographic images is just as important as seeing what they depict on their surface. Metadata: Rethinking Photography from the 21st Century is an exhibition that explores new paradigms for understanding the ecology of the photographic image.
The exhibition features work from the past decade by an international selection of artists and visual activists that are working to make palpable the unseen information, or metadata, that undergirds the image regime. This includes not just the tags or descriptors attached to image files, but the power relationships, biases, and economic interests that are not always visible in the image itself. The exhibition emphasizes an expanded concept of photographic practice that includes research-based projects, installation, conceptual work, and activism as well as analog and digital photographs. Artists featured are Mohsen Azar, Viktoria Binschtok, Mladen Bizumic, Joy Buolamwini, Ali Feser, Jason Lazarus, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Lilly Lulay, Trevor Paglen, and Penelope Umbrico. Metadata: Rethinking Photography in the 21st Century will be held at The John and Mable Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida from March 6 through August 28th, 2022. The exhibition is curated by Christopher Jones, Stanton B. and Nancy W. Kaplan Curator of Photography and Media Art.
Paid for in part by Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax revenues.
Support for this exhibition was provided by Gulf Coast Community Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; The State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; and the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art Endowment. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov
This exhibition is a part of the Stanton B. and Nancy W. Kaplan Photography and Media Arts Program at The Ringling.
Image Credit: Lilly Lulay (German, born 1985), Our Writing Tools Take Part in The Forming of Our Thoughts, C, 2018, laser cut inkjet print, 31 1/2 x 23 3/5 inches (80 x 60 cm.) Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Kuckei + Kuckei, Berlin.