Ubiquity and Immediacy
As Alasdair Foster noted in his recent article, ‘Quo Vadis?’, photography has entered its third age: an age of inclusiveness, connection and vitality. Today (24 May 2012) a Spanish collective called Barcelona Photobloggers launches an open, live exhibition entitled ‘Ubiquography’. It is a project which ably demonstrates those qualities, while standing firmly astride both real and virtual worlds.
Online exhibitions are the changeling lovechild of traditional publishing and the gallery show spirited way to the land of the Web to play free of parental angst or control. These days they are by no means uncommon, but in this case ‘Ubiquography’ parallels the online display of imagery with presentations at more than 30 real-world venues from Spain to the Ukraine, Colombia to Beirut.
The organisers are using Instagram as the platform for their project. Its social networking modality and focus on mobile telephony makes it a good fit. Ubiquography is open to anyone and everyone (though work is assessed before it is accepted) but images must have been shot using a cell phone – traditional formats such as SLR are verboten. At the time of writing the project consists of more than 30,000 images by 572 authors.
Instagram is noted, of course, for putting the faults back into photography: the fading colours and daggy square format that lend a nostalgic aura to the pixellated image. It’s an old skool sensibility that is echoed in the description of Ubiquography’s venue-based digital projections as ‘slideshows’. And the philosophical basis, which is well articulated on their website by Albert Lladó, draws on the structural and post-structural ideas of the age of the slide projector (Roland Barthes, Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault), highlighting their remarkable prescience.
Ubiquography runs May 24 to June 8 in real-world venues and for an extended period online. For more details check out their website.