We are happy to announce another group of artists to join Futures this year. Two Swiss artists were nominated by Photo Elysée, they are: Tamara Janes and Florian Amoser.
They will join the platform’s activities to present their work to international professionals and to network, amongst other opportunities that will be developed for them, including exhibitions, publishing opportunities, portfolio reviews, and more.
Discover more about them:
Tamara Janes's series Copyright Swap from 2023 represents her latest body of work. The series is part of a long research process based on the legendary New York Public Library Picture Collection, which Janes consulted extensively during an artistic residency in 2018. Open to the public since 1915, it is a collection of over 1.2 million images clipped from books, magazines or newspapers since the dawn of photographic imagery and filed under some 12,000 keywords.
Only a small proportion of these are available digitally. It serves her as a kind of image mine, as raw material that she later arranges, edits, recontextualises and modifies according to her interests. One of these interests is the question of image appropriation and its legal consequences. In Copyright Swap, Janes explores this with a lawyer in a kind of dialogue performance. She documents both the process of versioning the images, which are increasingly edited by the artist on the basis of the legal opinions she receives from the lawyer. The final results, presented as works, integrate the legal commentary, which explores and defines the moment when copyright passes from the original author to the author who has appropriated the image.
The NYPL Picture Collection project as a whole is a way for Janes to explore not only copyright issues, but also the ways in which images change meaning as they are sent out as vessels into the seas and clouds of digital networks, recombined with other image forms such as GIFs, and reinterpreted by non-human agencies such as image recognition algorithms. All of these phenomena are central to current artistic and theoretical engagements with visual cultures. Tamara Janes approaches these questions with a highly original mix that synthesises high-brow source material as well as so-called poor-image genres in a way that is at once deeply engaging and exposing visual culture banalities in highly amusing ways.
Florian Amoser's work addresses the history of perception and perspective. In his working method, the phase of research and development - usually considered merely 'preparatory' - is in fact the 'decisive moment' for his photographic practice. His work reflects the contemporary condition of the computational image by exploring the recursive feedback loops of physical and digital realities. As Amoser himself states: "his photographs testify to a material dissolution of the environment in which physical reality begins to imitate a digital reality". To achieve this, Amoser takes on multiple roles: artist, engineer, coder, curator, scenographer and theorist.
For Amoser, it is necessary not only to rethink the role of the apparatus in his practice, but also, as in the case of his ongoing project splicer, to actually rebuild its hardware and software from scratch in the manner of his artistic "wetware" persona. This represents a new form of photographic materialism that does not fetishise the object character of the photographic print, but rather challenges and circumvents long-standing Western traditions and conventions, such as the concept of linear perspective. By constructing his own tools, a process that has taken him years to develop, he is on the verge of literally engineering new forms of pictorial category. As Amoser notes: "An image sampled on the Splicer is the record of a coordinated dance of a sample in front of the camera module. It's a reconstruction and remix of a three-dimensional object, lending its appearance and texture to create new visual matter. An image made with splicer can be infinite, can begin where it ends, and can be abstract yet concrete".
So this ongoing project splicer should also be understood as a political statement. It proposes, in a very concrete and practical way, how to begin to move beyond the impasse of technological determinism. A social, cultural and material reality that has become dominated by a quasi-feudal oligopoly of tech companies for whom networked images and computational photographic practices are part of a larger attention economy strategy that seeks to maximise capital gains and market share. In a sense, Amoser proposes to unlearn photography, allowing the viewer to dispense, at least partially and temporarily, with the dominant dispositive or technological framing of the image in contemporary visual culture.