From Joanna Zylinska:
I wanted to let you know about my new book, Nonhuman Photography, which has just come out from the MIT Press. The book explores the new vistas and visions we are facing in the current techno-political conjuncture. It also interrogates the very “we” of the human standpoint, while extending the scale of analysis to geological “deep time”.
You can take a look at the book’s companion website/gallery here: https://www.nonhuman.photography/
And here’s the introduction, titled “Capturing the End of the World”: https://www.nonhuman.photography/introduction/
NONHUMAN PHOTOGRAPHY by Joanna Zylinska (MIT Press, 2017)
Today, in the age of CCTV, drones, medical body scans, and satellite images, photography is increasingly decoupled from human agency and human vision. In her book Nonhuman Photography, Joanna Zylinska offers a new philosophy of photography, going beyond the human-centric view to consider imaging practices from which the human is absent. Zylinska argues further that even those images produced by humans, whether artists or amateurs, entail a nonhuman, mechanical element—that is, they involve the execution of technical and cultural algorithms that shape our image-making devices as well as our viewing practices. At the same time, she notes, photography is increasingly mobilized to document the precariousness of the human habitat and tasked with helping us imagine a better tomorrow. With its conjoined human-nonhuman agency and vision, Zylinska claims, photography functions as both a form of control and a life-shaping force.
Zylinska explores the potential of photography for developing new modes of seeing and imagining, and presents images from her own photographic practice. She also examines the challenges posed by digitization to established notions of art, culture, and the media. In connecting biological extinction and technical obsolescence, and discussing the parallels between photography and fossilization, she proposes to understand photography as a light-induced process of fossilization across media and across time scales.
Joanna Zylinska is Professor of New Media and Communications and Co-Head of the Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. The author of six books – including Minimal Ethics for the Anthropocene (Open Humanities Press, 2014, e-version freely available) and Life after New Media: Mediation as a Vital Process (with Sarah Kember; MIT Press, 2012) – she is also a photographic artist and curator. In 2013 she was Artistic Director of Transitio_MX05 ‘Biomediations’, the biggest Latin American new media festival, which took place in Mexico City. Her own practice involves experimenting with different kinds of photomedia.