Cables, waves, hard drives and tattoos or how to trace the post-photographic image across networks

The project Critical Tracing and The Post-Photographic Image explores how images move across infrastructures. In this context, we propose a two-days workshop to approach the digital image as a transactional device that we can use to trace the infrastructure through which it circulates. This hybrid workshop will be hosted by the MediaDock at the Lucerne School of Art and Design and on a Telegram channel. It will take place on the 23rd and 24th of November 2021.

Guest speakers and tracers:
Irene Amerini, Anaïs Bloch, Marloes de Valk, Andrew Dewdney, Maurice Haedo, Geoff and Stephanie Hobbis, Sam Mercer, Nicolas Nova, Jara Rocha, Nestor Siré, Katrina Sluis, Gaia Tedone, Tiberio Uricchio, Mushon Zer Aviv.

The workshop is the second of a series developed as part of the project 'Critical Tracing and the Post-Photographic Image' supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Lucerne School of Art and Design. It originates from the collaborative work between Gaia Tedone, Nicolas Malevé and Nestor Siré and is inspired by Siré's longterm research on the 'Cuban Paquete Semanal'.

In 20th century photographic history and criticism the notion of trace has consistently been associated with the medium's mechanical reproducibility and its indexical relationship to reality. Yet, with the ubiquitous adoption of digital technology, photography has moved away from the singularity of the analogue medium towards a networked technology with a computational structure. Hence the question arises: How can the concept of trace and the act of tracing be reframed to account for images' algorithmic structure and their circulatory patterns amongst different contexts of reception? What are the aesthetic and political implications of foregrounding such notions when rethinking parameters of production, dissemination and interpretation of networked images?

Once images ceased to be perceived primarily as visual surfaces but as a vectors of relations, the notion of infrastructure gains importance, as an essential concept for framing image practices as inseparable from their materiality. Our objective is to study how infrastructure permeates our concepts and ideas about the post-photographic image. We believe that infrastructure cannot be taken for granted and tracing requires different strategies according to the materialities through which images circulate under different geopolitical and socio-technical conditions. As such, our aim is to explore and complicate the idea that 'every act of seeing an image or reading a text on the Internet is registered and becomes traceable' (Groys, 2016:185).

In this two days workshop, we propose a transdisciplinary dialogue between ethnography, computer science, network activism, media and cultural studies in order to explore different methodologies of tracing/tracking images, patterns of circulation and various forms of 'invisibility'. To do this, we will learn about computer forensics and scrutinize the traces of image circulation via jpegs uploaded on social media. We will follow transactional networks of advertising and their ramifications. We will reflect on the problem of translating images from online to offline economies. We will follow their paths from websites to hard drives and USB keys, from cables to waves. And their financial adventures from personal credit cards to Pesos. Along the way, as we will move through infrastructures, we will pay attention to errors and glitches and the impressive work of maintenance of ad hoc infrastructures. We will trace the map of the knowledges emerging from the activities supporting image movements where shops become laboratories and where pocket infrastructures provide new patterns of connectivity.

During this hybrid workshop gathering participants from Europe, Israel and Latin America, presentations will take place both online and on site. The channel of choice will be Telegram for the remote presentations as well as to broadcast on site presentations. During the workshop, we have also planned hands-on moments of collaborative diagramming to reflect together on the relations between infrastructure and image circulation in a context of digital asymmetry.


Day 1, Tuesday November 23
Themes: the networked image, tracing

10:00 – 10.15: Welcome and Introduction.
10.15 – 11.00: Mushon Zer-Aviv, AdNauseam – Obfuscation as a Privacy Counter-Measure, Remote Presentation + Q&A
11.00 – 11.15: Break
11.15 – 12.00: This image is Not Available in Your Country; glitches, errant t-shirts and the potential of an empty inbox, Gaia Tedone, On site Presentation + Q&A
12.00 – 12.45: Remote response by Katrina Sluis and Q&A
13.00 – 14.00: Lunch
14:00 – 14:45: Tracing the Networked Image, Andrew Dewdney, Remote Presentation + Q&A
14:45 – 15:30: Research/Creation : A visual exploration of digital repair practices, Anaïs Bloch, On site Presentation + Q&A
15:30 – 15:45: Break
15.45 – 16:45: Tracing Session [Hybrid]
16.45 – 17.30: Presentation + Q&A by Nestor Siré on the recent developments of the Sección Arte in El Paquete Semanal, Remote Presentation
17.30 - 18.00: Collective discussion & Wrap up, Hybrid
7:00 Pm: Dinner

Day 2, Wednesday November 24
Themes: digital divide, infrastructure, network

10:00 – 10.15: Summary of Day 1 & Introduction to Day 2.
10:15 – 11.00: Learning to trace imperceptible features in social media images, by Irene Amerini and Tiberio Uricchio, Remote Presentation + Q&A
11.00 – 11.45: The Girl with the Tribal Tattoo Jpeg: Stories from the Bush Internet , Geoff and Stephanie Hobbis, On Site Presentation + Q&A
11.45 – 12.00: Break
12.00 – 12.45: My store is a laboratory: smartphone repairers and their knowledge, by Nicolas Nova, Remote Presentation + Q&A
13.00 – 14.00: Lunch
14:00 – 15:30: Tracing Session
15:30 – 15:45: Break
15.45 – 16:45: Nestor Siré and collaborators, prototyping session, remote
16.45 – 17.30: Collective discussion, presentation of the tracings & Wrap up [hybrid, in Lucerne + Telegram]

The choice to use Telegram has been made to circumnavigate problems of connectivity with Cuba and to explore creative and social responses to instant messaging apps. Please download the latest update of the Telegram app ahead of the event. You can decide to follow the talk from either your phone or computer desktop. Just click on the above link to join the channel at the time of the event. If you don’t have Telegram, you can download the app for free here:


Irene Amerini is a Senior Assistant Professor at Dipartimento di Ingegneria Informatica, Automatica e Gestionale "Antonio Ruberti", Sapienza Università di Roma. In 2018 she obtained a Visiting Research Fellowship at the School of Computing and Mathematics, Charles Sturt University (AU) offered by the Australian Government – Department of Education and Training through the Endeavour Scholarship & Fellowship program. In 2010 she spent part of her PhD course at the Digital Data Embedding Laboratory, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Binghamton University (US). She received the Ph.D. in computer engineering, multimedia and telecommunication from the University of Florence in 2011. Her research interests are focused on multimedia forensics and deep learning for image and video analysis. She is member of the EURASIP TAC Biometrics, Data Forensics and Security and of the IAPR TC6 - Computational Forensics Committee. She is a Guest Editor of several international journals and Associate Editor of the following journals: Journal of Information Security and Applications, IEEE ACCESS and Journal of Electronic Imaging.

Artist, researcher and educator, Anaïs Bloch holds an Undergraduate degree in Product design and a Master degree in Cultural anthropology. She is a co-founder and member of the collective Cleaning up after Gropius which explores the blurred boundaries between anthropological research methods, art and design. Currently she teaches at Eracom- Lausanne and gives a short course at Head-Geneva and at the Master Innokick in Lausanne. She also collaborates on a research project about the repair of technology with the University of Luxembourg.

Marloes de Valk is a software artist and writer in the post-despair stage of coping with the threat of global warming and being spied on by the devices surrounding her. Surprised by the obsessive dedication with which we, even post-Snowden, share intimate details about ourselves to an often not too clearly defined group of others, astounded by the deafening noise we generate while socializing with the technology around us, she is looking to better understand why. Marloes is a PhD researcher at the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image at London South Bank University, in collaboration with The Photographer’s Gallery, looking into the material and social impact of the networked image on the climate crisis.

Andrew Dewdney is co-director and co-founder of The Centre for the Study of the Networked Image, and a professor of educational media at London South Bank University. He has written and lectured widely on photography, new media and museology. His new book Forget Photography (2021) is published by Goldsmiths Press. He is currently working on an edited volume, entitled, The Networked Image in Post Digital Culture for Routledge.

For 5 years, Maurice Haedo worked for a Cuban company dedicated to the repair of forklifts, bringing values of repairability and adaptability to spare parts and forklift lines in the Cuban context. In his work, he challenges the capitalist eagerness to make repair obsolete. He argues that it is possible to build a sustainable future by reconfiguring what we already have. That is why he turned his house in Centro Habana into a popular laboratory, called Copincha, where he invites people to learn together to build collaborative environments of open creation that remain in the socio-technical imaginary as an alternative to unsustainable traditional models, and to integrate knowledge and technological processes in harmony and coherence with Cuban reality and history.

Geoffrey Hobbis, PhD, is an anthropologist and Assistant Professor at the Center for Media and Journalism Studies, University of Groningen. He has conducted research on digital transformations in Solomon Islands for nearly a decade and is the author of The Digitizing Family: An Ethnography of Melanesian Smartphones (Palgrave, 2020).

Stephanie Ketterer Hobbis, PhD, is an Assistant Professor with the Sociology of Development and Change Group, Wageningen University. She has researched the politics of infrastructures and sociotechnical systems in Solomon Islands since 2014 and published in journals such as Ethnos and Development in Practice.

Sam Mercer is an artist, curator and producer. Since 2014 Sam has been Producer of the Digital Programme at The Photographers’ Gallery. He has curated a number of projects for the gallery Media Wall and online, and was assistant curator for the exhibition All I Know Is What’s On The Internet. Currently, Sam is working on Imagin(in)g Networks that investigates ecological, social and political aspects of networks, working with artists, writers and researchers to imagine and build alternatives. In 2019/20, Sam co-curated Data / Set / Match, a year-long programme of commissions that sought new ways to present, visualise and interrogate scientific image datasets.

Nicolas Nova is an anthropologist, design researcher, and writer. With a multidisciplinary background in social sciences, information technologies, design, and natural sciences, he divides his time between running international field-work projects, documenting new signals in the world, and making sense of them to inform and inspire design or strategy. Using ethnographic approaches, Nicolas investigates everyday cultures to tell stories, and employs design techniques to explore the implications of new technologies as well as environmental change. Co-founder of a design fiction agency called The Near Future Laboratory, he is also Associate Professor at the Geneva University of Arts and Design (HEAD–Genève).

Jara Rocha is an interdependent researcher-artist. They are currently involved in several disobedient action-research projects, such as Volumetric Regimes (with Femke Snelting), The Underground Division (with Helen Pritchard and Femke Snelting), The Relearning Series (with Martino Morandi), and Vibes & Leaks (with Kym Ward and Xavier Gorgol). They are **often part of**curatorial teams **(**DONE,Foto Colectania; ISEA, Santa Monica; La Capella, Barcelona**) and teaches occasionally at diverse contexts**. With Karl Moubarak and Cristina Cochior, they conform the Cell for Digital Discomfort at the 20/21 Fellowship for Situated Research of BAK, Utrecht. Jara works through the situated, mundane, and complex forms of distribution of the technological with an antifascist and trans*feminist sensibility, and their show "Naturoculturas son disturbios" emits monthly from radio.

Nestor Siré's artistic practice intervenes directly in specific contexts in order to analyse social and cultural phenomena. His artistic methodology consists in expanding social structures in such a way as to find more effective ways through which art can intervene in the complex relationships between official and informal networks. More specifically, the idiosyncrasies of digital culture in the Cuban context; focuses on unofficial methods for circulating information and goods, such as alternative forms of economic production, and phenomena resulting from social creativity. His works have been shown in the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Havana), Queens Museum (New York), Rhizome (New York), New Museum (New York), Hong-Gah Museum (Taipei), Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (Mexico City), Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Santa Fe (Argentina), among other places. He has participated in events such as the Manifesta 13 Biennial (France), Gwangju Biennale (South Korea), Curitiba Biennial (Brazil), the Havana Biennial (Cuba) and the Asunción International Biennale (Paraguay), the Festival of New Latin American Cinema in Cuba and the Oberhausen International Festival of Short Film (Germany).

Katrina Sluis is Head of Photography & Media Arts in the School of Art & Design at The Australian National University, Canberra. Prior to joining ANU, Katrina was based in London where she was Senior Lecturer and founding Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image (CSNI), London South Bank University. From 2011-2019 she also held the inaugural post of Senior Curator (Digital Programmes) at The Photographers’ Gallery, London developing artistic commissions and public projects on machine vision, synthetic imaging, net culture and speculative photographic education. She is the co-editor of the forthcoming book, The Networked Image in Post-Digital Culture (Routledge).

Gaia Tedone is a curator and researcher with an expansive interest in the technologies and apparatuses of image formation. In 2019, she completed her PhD at the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image, London South Bank University with a practice-based research entitled ‘Curating The Networked Image: Circulation, Commodification, Computation’(2019). Around this topic, she writes, teaches and curates. At present, she is working as a Research Associate at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, where she investigates post-photography curating and algorithmic visual culture and as a Lecturer at University Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan where she is responsible for a laboratory on technology and museology. Since October 2021, she teaches Performativity of Digital Culture at LABA Art Academy in Brescia, where she is also the Head of the Painting and Visual Art Department. Her curatorial ventures involve the collaboration between human and non-human agents and can take place virtually anywhere: on T-shirts and merchandise lines; inside hard drive or memory sticks; into folders, computer desktops and mobile apps.

Tiberio Uricchio is a postdoctoral researcher and adjunct professor at the University of Florence. He received his PhD in Computer Engineering from the University of Florence in 2016, with his thesis ''Image understanding by socializing the semantic gap'', awarded as the best in the technological class by the University of Florence and published as a book in 2018. He is author or co-author of more than 30 publications in international scientific journals and conferences on computer vision and multimedia. He presented three tutorials on social image tagging in international conferences (ACM MM 2015, CVPR 2016 and ICIAP 2017). He was the recipient of the best demo award at the ACM MM 2019 conference, best poster award at ACM ICMR 2020 with his research on improving video quality using generative adversarial networks (GANs). He is Associate Editor of the international journal Multimedia Tools and Application, organizer of the RISS2020 workshop, and he regularly contributes as area chair and reviewer for international conferences and journals. His research interests include understanding images and videos, multimedia, deep learning and video surveillance. Since 2020, he is CEO and co-founder of the awarded startup Small Pixels, on a mission to improve perceptual quality of videos.

Mushon Zer-Aviv is a designer, researcher, educator and media activist based in Tel Aviv. His love/hate relationship with data informs his design work, art pieces, activism, research, teaching, workshops & city life. Mushon is currently writing a non-fiction book on Friction and Flow — a political design theory of change. Among Among Mushon’s collaborations, he is the CO-founder of – a foxy design studio; – a tour of Gaza through the streets of Tel Aviv; Kriegspiel – a computer game version of the Situationist Game of War; – discover what normal people look like; the AdNauseam extension – clicking ads so you don’t have to; and multiple government transparency and civic participation initiatives with the Public Knowledge Workshop; Mushon also designed the maps for and led the design of Mushon is an alumni of Eyebeam – an art and technology center in New York. He teaches digital media as a senior faculty member at Shenkar School of Engineering and Design. Previously he taught new media research at NYU and Open Source design at Parsons the New School of Design and in Bezalel Academy of Art & Design. Read him at and follow him at @mushon.