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The Interactive Photo Essay

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Soka University Japan - Transcend Art and Peace
Created: February 29, 2004
Latest Update: April 17, 2004

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takata@uwp.edu

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Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, February 2004.
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Here is an example of an art project that relates to communication and media studies. The artists contacted the International Visual Sociology Association (IVSA) in search of graduate programs in visual sociology, communications and media. If we show this project at the exhibit, could we incorporate it into what we are learning about visual communication, expression, social understanding? Michael, could you do it as a photo show as we did last Fall? Could we make it interactive by including a 3-dimensional exhibit to accompany it? We'd probably need an extra computer and projection screeen. jeanne

The artist who contacted IVSA is Regina Webhofer: regina_webhofer@hotmail.com

Einsicht - Cam around the world

"The four Austrian artists mostly work with film or photography as medium of their work."Einsicht" is their first common way for an international photo-project that includes unknown people in an interactive way. A few photo-cameras are spread all over the world - given to people to take pictures of their daily life. These people have to give the photo-camera to other friends abroad and send the films undeveloped to the artists in Graz. In fall 2003 the highlight of this project will be an exhibition in the cultural capital of Europe.

"In 2004 the exhibition will be shown in other countries, too. As soon as the schedule is fixed it will be published on this homepage."

Discussion Questions:

  1. Is this conceptual art? What is the message of the photos?

    Consider: This is called interactive. Could we also call it interpassive? Would the value of the project changed by the classification of interactivity or passivity that we gave it? What precisely is the active or passive behavior involved? As sociologists, would we be content to just look at the photo, or would we want to ask questions, go there, ask for more photos, ask for clarifications, check our assumptions?

  2. What do we know about the people we encounter in these photos?

    Is that adequate to the message that we as sociologists want to analyze/send? How does this relate to photo blogs? Visual Sociology: Blogs.

  3. Must we use photos or film to convey the message? What role do painting, sculpture, craft, fine art play in conveying such messages? Do they play a role? The Farmer and the Snake: A Peace Fable

  4. How does this relate to graffiti? Both from the point of view of the artist and the viewer?

  5. Is this project art? Is it conceptual art?

  6. Where could/should such art projects find a forum? Does one already exist? Or will/should we work at creating one?

  7. How does the study of such projects enrich our own efforts to bring today's social issues to a deeper awareness and analysis? With which audiences? To what purpose? Will the study of such projects and the projects themselves affect praxis? How?

Lecture notes will follow. But questions are up for your participation in putting those lectures together. jeanne