Assignment 6

Formative feedback  

Overall Comments
This report consists of Ivan’s notes from our 40 – minute video tutorial (below), during which we discussed the content and structure of all of Ivan’s DiC submissions for his upcoming assessment. In my opinion, he is fully prepared for his upcoming submission.

It’s been a pleasure working with you Ivan!

Assignment 6 Tutors notes
I had a nice talk with my tutor and she gave me some vital pointers on the preparation of the assignments for the final assessment.

  1. I raised the question to my tutor if I could submit only the digital version of my assignments to the assessment team since the main focus of the course was on Digital Image. She explained that it is important to prepare a physical submission in order to present my work, not just so that the assessment team can be able to better experience the work, but also as a reminder for future job opportunities, where presentation plays a crucial part of my contribution, quality and respectability of my own work as part of the photography community.
  2. The tutor suggested that I could think about the visual identity of my future blogs (learning logs) in order to present myself more in line with someone from a creative world and not just as another user of generic wordpress (free) themes.
  3. I was informed about the archival portfolio box and print sleeves as a proper way of present my work to the assessment team. The tutor gave me links for ordering, for which I am very grateful. Another bene t is that I will be able to use the images after assessment, which is much better than having images in spiral binding, as I did previously.
  4. My tutor recommend that I should find a space where I could hang my work in progress to be able to give myself time to absorb it and contemplate.
  5. I reworked my assignment 2 and the tutor mentioned that I should have that highlighted as clearly and visibly as possible in order not to confuse the assessment team.
  6. My tutor pointed out that I should have A4 sheet paper before each assignment with a text explaining key ideas of the assignment.
  7. I should print the Gif le that I made for the last assignment (6) as separate images, one after the other, on a sheet of paper, accompanied with a text and a link to the digital file.

Assignment 2 Rework

I thought about the tutor’s suggestions and decided to rework my Assignment 2. I used the format more in line with smartphones and also graphically followed by font and icons more in line with today’s visual appeal. Nice, clean and easy to comprehend.


13. November – Pelle Cass

Pelle Cass 6.jpg

Fig. 1. Water Polo Match, Harvard, 2018

Peel Cass is an American (Brookline, MA) photographer interested in capturing the passage of time in one image. He does that by taking photographs of a same space through a period of time. He later digitally manipulates the images so that one image is on top of the other and then he carefully deletes and/or exposes parts of each image. He does it in such a way as to present the playfulness and wittiness of human behaviour. For Cass, in order to make an image, it is necessary that the image is a part of reality rather than fiction, without any control of his subject before pressing the shutter button (the opposite of Wendy McMurdo’s work, where the author applies a similar postproduction technique, but she controls her subjects and the story). Cass then digitally manipulates the images, which reflect his curiosity by creating from ordinary moments an extraordinary scene (through the selection of colour, shape, pose, rhythm…). That leaves us, the viewers, fascinated, but also confused, looking at this puzzle image, trying to connect the dots of how and when the subject on the image moved through that space.

Here we are again immersed in the term of non-human photography, where the time is presented in such a way that the human eye cannot perceive it without the help of a machine.

His images remind me of M.C. Escher graphics where, in order to work, the subjects and the space between them are equally important.


Fig. 2.  M.C. Escher, Bird / Fish (No. 34B), 1941

Cass, P. (2018) Pelle Cass At: (Accessed on 13.11.18)

International Photography Magazine (2017) ‘Interview with fine art photographer Pelle Cass’ In: 10. 10. 2017 [online] At: (Accessed on 13.11.18)

Sokol, Z. (2013) ’Pelle Cass’ Time-Lapse Photos Outsmart Even The Trickiest Photographers’ In: 15. 10. 2013 [online] At: (Accessed on 13.11.18)

Escher, M.C (2018) M C Escher At: (Accessed on 13.11.18)

Figure 1. Cass, Pelle (2018) Water Polo Match, Harvard [Photographs] At: (Accessed on 13.11.18)

Figure 2.   M.C. Escher (1941) Bird / Fish (No. 34B) [Photographs] At: (Accessed on 13.11.18)

12 November – Book: The Photographic Image in Digital Culture by Martin Lister (Editor)


The book came to me as a part of the Digital Image and Culture corse. I was really excited to start reading it because of all the aspects of photography which are from ‘now’ and not from some historical times. I started reading it, writing my notes and marking with post-its the things I found interesting. I was doing it in parallel with the course material, for which I sometimes needed to jump to specific essays in the book connected to the exercise I was on at the moment. That jumping from one part of the book to another left me confused, and I stopped reading it as a book. It rather became a series of articles for the course. After I had finished assignment 5, I came back to the book and read it from start to finish. My conclusion is that this book should not necessary be read from cover to cover. It can be used as a reference collection of essays you are interested in, because even though the themes are very interesting, after reading several essays in one go, my head started to spin. Even though I struggled to stay focused, I am glad that I read this book and I am sure I will come back to it again and again.

Here are just a couple of thoughts I found interesting:

In the first chapter ‘The digital image in photographic culture: algorithmic photography and the crisis of representation’ by Daniel Rubinstein and Katarina Sluis, there is a quote by Rupert Wegerif  ‘meaning cannot be grounded upon any fixed or state identities but is the product of difference’ (Wegerif 2008:349)’ . This is more of a mantra for me than something that needs to be further explained.

The chapter ‘Drawing without light: simulated photography in video games’ by Seth Kember, was an interesting read because I had played some of the games that were mentioned in the text mostly because of their connection with photography and the idea of a game within a game. I found that mimicking of an analogue camera with its limited capabilities in the digital realm very interesting. The border of those two worlds is not fixed and defined, but morphing, and it is that space that I would like to explore in the future.

In the chapter ‘ The digital conditions of photography: cameras, computers and display’ by David Bate, he poses a very interesting question:

‘If digital media practices have also begun to empty out the connections between old symbolic forms and image contents, the question is not how to re-join those symbolic forms (e.g. photographic images) to contemporary culture, but how to comprehend a contemporary space where culture itself appears as visibly dispersed, detached from the institutional rules and economic conditions that supports them. (Lister, M.2013:93)

Lister, Martin (2013) The Photographic Image in Digital Culture. (Second edition) USA and Canada: Routledge

Assignment 5: Digital Identity (2)

Ivan Radman
Digital Image and Culture
Assignment 5: Digital Identity (2)
Tutor: Wendy McMurdo
23 October 2018

Digital Identity (2)

This course was more focused on theory than on practice (in the sense of taking photographs) than I had originally envisaged, but that goes in line with Oliver Laric’s words: ‘I don’t see any necessity in producing images myself – everything that I would need exists, it’s just about finding it.’

 I must admit that I struggled with that concept throughout the course as I thought that it is I who needs to produce every aspect of the image. The reason for that could be leaving a mark or just confirming my own efforts to the tutor and to myself. There was also my own inner struggle of having left graphic design (as my previous profession) and turning to photography 100%. Because of it, as part of my healing process, I was more willing to skip the process of digital ‘embellishment’, that we are all victims of through advertising.

Why choose the Digital Image and Culture course then? Precisely because of that – in order to understand where the medium of photography is heading, I cannot run away from it morphing with, in this case, graphic design.

Throughout this course, my previous perception of what photography is expanded. The idea of pressing the shutter-release button as an act of mine doesn’t define anything, neither that it is about me nor that I somehow own a particular frame/image/moment. It was always about the relations, for example of time – place – camera – me – book that I read – movie that I saw, etc., that produced the work. Being a part of that gives me even greater satisfaction than the idea of owning it in any way. It frees me from the boundaries, which I have imposed on myself.

With that in mind, I turned back to my previous work from the Identity and Place course, Exercise 1.3 Portraiture typology (link), where I made portraits in which every member of my family expressed how they see themselves and how they see the other members of the family (dressed accordingly). In order to be in the digital identity realm conceptually, I only used the images where I was the model. I placed those images in the digital environment, giving each image recognisability through the logo colours of the companies whose services I frequently use (Instagram – photography, iTunes – music, Allrecipes – cooking, Goodreads – book-related).

This time I didn’t just separate myself from the background (as in Assignment 4), I also chose to delete parts of my body that were irrelevant for the presentation of the digital identity in order to emphasise the power of the ever increasing presence of the digital data in our time. Leaving just my head, hands and feet as the essential and most active parts of the body and the ultimate physical receptors for the perception of my digital identity.

For the presentation of the assignment 5, I chose to present the images as a gif file in a loop. Because of its simplicity and repetition, I think it works perfectly. Presenting my digital identity in such a rhythm makes it necessary to see it several times (in a loop) in order to grasp it fully, and through that repetition the identity is forming.



Checking my work against the assessment criteria

Demonstration of technical and visual skills:
My graphic design skills again played a big part. I worked in Photoshop on the manipulation of the images that I had used in a previous course on the theme of identity. I found an online gif maker and made a gif file, but then I thought it would be good to have text underneath the images as a title of my work. Since it was about digital identity, I used the font that is generally used for programing and put in the text without a blank space between the words, but rather with a dot between them, so that it seems as a part of the programing data (that is the maximum of my understanding of programing).

Quality of outcome:
Coming from the graphic design background, making this final project in a low resolution Gif file was very satisfying for me. That roughness of the image obtained by compression works in favour of presenting my digital identity. It is never polished enough, but that is exactly what makes it interesting. For me the exploration is always much more interesting than reaching the final goal.

Demonstration of creativity/Context:
Being a generation of both the analogue and the digital world (in relation to photography) I am aware how much impact the digital part has on me. I sometimes find myself struggling with the acceptance of grasping new applications and updates that are coming my way. Nevertheless, I am changing and on my own pace becoming familiar with all of it, because there is no other way. And I do not see it as something negative, it is what it is, and for me as a part of that world it is ok to be plugged in. The alternative seems much more disturbing, being in constant struggle with my own reality, no thank you. In that sense, I made this link of the parts of my body and the recognizable colours of the online brands that I am a part of. It is saying that by losing parts of our old personality, we are welcoming the new ones that shape us, and that procedure does not stop until it does. As my father likes to say ‘From victory to victory to the final defeat.’

Tutor’s response

Overall Comments
An interesting approach to the assignment, with evidence of good experimentation and development too from your previous assignment.

Feedback on assignment
I think your final presentation works well and that the GIF form of presentation where one portrait flits in to another and then another succinctly expresses the theme of your assignment: that identity is constructed and contingent on the environment around us and in part dictate too by others.

You have presented a series of portraits where your head and limbs float in a variety of different colour fields and you present a series of portraits which in many ways link into the tradition of Exquisite Corpse drawing invented by the surrealists, which you may be familiar with.

They are quite humorous (as is much of your work) and I think are successful in beginning to convey your ideas.

I was really interested Ivan to read your thoughts and reflections on the course and I am very sympathetic to your reflections too on the difficulty in beginning to make work for the first time with and about the digital realm as opposed to picking up a camera and producing a photograph of what is produced when you look through the camera’s viewfinder.

‘This course was more focused on theory than on practice (in the sense of taking photographs) than I had originally envisaged, but that goes in line with Oliver Laric’s words: ‘I don’t see any necessity in producing images myself – everything that I would need exists, it’s just about finding it.’ I must admit that I struggled with that concept throughout the course as I thought that it is I who needs to produce every aspect of the image.’

However, I think throughout this course, you’ve produced some very interesting work and the research and experimentation that you’ve produced as part of DiC will really help you further develop your work as you move forward to the next level of the course. It’s therefore really good to hear that you’ve felt the benefit of all your research undertaken as part of DiC.

‘Throughout this course, my previous perception of what photography is expanded. The idea of pressing the shutter-release button as an act of mine doesn’t define anything, neither that it is about me nor that I somehow own a particular frame/image/moment. It was always about the relations, for example of time – place – camera – me – book that I read – movie that I saw, etc., that produced the work. Being a part of that gives me even greater satisfaction than the idea of owning it in any way. It frees me from the boundaries, which I have imposed on myself.’

I think now when you take your camera in hand (and I very much hope that you will return to taking as many photographs as you can (and need to) for your next course because the production of images is still where much of the magic happens of course, but you will now do so with a great self-knowledge and awareness.

I feel that your interests (in identity, family, family history, story-telling and in particular the power of illustration to tell stories) will most likely all feed in to future project where photography, story-telling and digital methods and culture will all play an important part.

Now, before we meet to discuss your entire submission (assignment 6), you may well want to tidy up your LL. I notice a student who recently completed DiC has just posted a link to his submission here, which you may find interesting and useful in terms of what you want – and what you don’t want – to do before final submission. It may be that your LL might benefit from some redesigning or you may want to add additional material or edit existing materials:

Get in touch when you are ready to submit for assignment and we will have a chat via


My response to tutor’s feedback
I must say that I enjoyed working with my tutor on this corse, going through possible ideas and getting good insight on artists given as references for my work, all within an ideal time frame.

Another (significant) thing I got from this course/tutor is clarity regarding my interests. By that I mean that until recently I felt that I wasn’t on a clear path to understand what I would like to work on in the future. Going through different courses, I immersed myself in each one as much as I could, trying in parallel to find that something that would strike my cord more than other things, but I wasn’t sure what that was. In the last report from my tutor I got the answer. Looking at my work it became clear to her what my interests were, and that helped me a lot, and gave me a bit more clarity in which direction I should continue.

‘I feel that your interests (in identity, family, family history, story-telling and in particular the power of illustration to tell stories) will most likely all feed in to future project where photography, story-telling and digital methods and culture will all play an important part.’


inside out (2013) Unwriting: Sarah Charlesworth At: (Accessed on 23.10.18)

Ivan Radman (2018) Ivan Radman OCA Photography 2 Digital Image and Culture [online blog] At: (Accessed on 23.10.18)

Ivan Radman (2018) Ivan Radman OCA Photography – Identity and Place –

[online blog] At: (Accessed on 23.10.18)

Lister, Martin (2013) The Photographic Image in Digital Culture. ‘Second edition’ USA and Canada: Routledge

MOMA (s.d) Richard Hamilton At: (Accessed on 23.10.18)

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s exhibition (2015) I was raised on the internet At: (Accessed on 23.10.18)

09. October – Exhibition: Jeff Wall, Appearance


Jeff Wall, Appearance
Mudam, Luxembourg
05.10.-06.01. 2019

Jeff Wall in Luxembourg!

This was such a surprise to me, I couldn’t believe that Jeff Wall’s work would be exhibited in the small Luxembourg, a 20-minute walk from my home. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a free spot to see Jeff Wall’s conversation with art historian Jean-François Chevrier, that was scheduled an hour before the opening of the exhibition, but I hope I will get the opportunity to hear the master during one of the next events within this exhibition.

Last year I got to see one of his photographs (Tattoos and Shadows, 2000) in the Kunsthaus Zürich (link), but this time it was all about Jeff Wall’s work, which was wonderful to experience in the modern space of Mudam. The big sharp images full of detail were interacting with the space that they were in, and since they were exhibited underneath a glass surface, the viewers were reflected in the images. Being large format, the reflections became a part of constructed scenes made by Jeff Wall.


Each image is a story in itself and you can get lost in it for some time, trying to find hidden objects, expressions on someone’s face or whatever detail you are looking for in order to grasp as much information to produce a subjective opinion of what this scene is about. As if you can understand it better than a guy next to you if you peruse your goal firmly (a detective job). Such research in large format images is most satisfying to me and it left me filled with freshness and inspiration, but also with admiration towards Jeff Wall and his ability to produce an atmosphere in the images as if they were a part of reality rather than being a product of constructed scenes.

Mudam (2018) Appearance At: (Accessed on 09.10.18)

Assignment 4: Digital identities (1)


Develop a project around the theme of identity within the current digital climate.

This could be an autobiographical exploration examining how you relate to digital culture, or it could be a more critical examination of an aspect of digital culture. You should develop your project over the course of Part Four. This is your chance to find and articulate your personal voice in relation to digital culture.

Start by listing or making a brainstorm diagram/mind map of possible ideas and starting points. Put this in your learning log. Expand your list or develop your diagram as you work through Part Four. Try out a few of these ideas, and develop further those that seem to be the most effective or interesting.

When you have developed at least one idea to a point where you would like to receive feedback from your tutor, submit it to them by whatever means you both agree. Assignment Four is your digital identities project ‘in progress’. It is not expected to be a fully resolved, visually coherent or clearly contextualised submission. As well as visual material (contact sheets, work prints, etc. depending on the nature of your practice and your project) you should include a short text (around 500 words) setting out:

  • the specific themes your work is addressing or what your work is attempting to communicate
  • a list of the practitioners you’ve looked at in relation to this assignment
  • a bibliography
  • a brief self-evaluation. You may wish to consider requesting an audio/visual tutorial for feedback on this assignment.

Your tutor will give you guidance on how to develop and/or resolve and most appropriately present your project.


Mind map 1.jpg


For some time I was thinking of how to expand and go more deeply into the project that I started as part of exercise 1.2 Through a digital lens. I think this is an ideal moment to do it.

In the conclusion of my Assignment 3 essay, I state that the difference between the new generations and my own lies in their preference of the ‘flow of information’ as opposed to its ‘collection’ (material archives). In line with that, I chose to produce a work based on materiality, which is closer to me, objects like books and graphic novels that, for me, have the power of amulets that I like being surrounded with. In respect to their authors work, I wanted to make a set of images reconstructing scenes that would be additionally digitally manipulated.

My goal was to make a link between paper – monitor, analogue – digital, old – new, all in favour of the presentation of my Digital Identities. For me as 40-year-old, that represents 20 years of the analogue and 20 years of the digital age (give or take).

Inspired by the great read and wonderful illustrations of several graphic novels/comics as well as by the work by Jeff Wall, I tried to reconstruct the scenes that resonated with my personality (identity). I was triggered by a text by David Bate in the last foam magazine (#51) about Wall’s work: ‘… Wall’s work reminds me of a scene from a film (even if I cannot remember which one)…’ (p.144). I experienced that same effect with the work of David Lynch, where everything is strange but also familiar at the same time, close to dream-like experience we all experienced. For this project I found inspiration in the graphic novel Killing and Dying by A. Tomine (see fig. 1.). More particularly, one of the protagonists is a middle aged man, questioning his own creative ability, looking for confirmation, which resonated with me.



Fig. 1. Reference image by Tomine Adrian in Killing and Dying (2015).



Fig. 2. Untitled, 2018


To understand the scene derived from a graphic novel (as is often seen in reference to paintings – Jeff Wall), it is not necessary to be familiar with the comics world, but it gives that extra touch to the exploration of my identity (being raised by a father who was journalist all his working life, and was bringing home all sorts of magazines, newspapers and comics on a weekly bases).

For the digital manipulation of images I have decided to use Photoshop. The idea of subtraction came to me from the work of Misha Hanner – Less Américains, 2013. So I thought that in order to make a photograph I need to add props to be in line with the template I pre-selected, and I made a rule that the adding of elements would go only that way (physical) and subtraction would be only possible by digital manipulation.

This is just the first of a series of images that I would like to produce in order to complete the project as a whole. I already have some of the other templates that I would like to work with but first I need to see what my tutor has to say about it.

I always find it difficult to do self-evaluation, as I am this time, but what I can say is that I found this concept fulfilling. It is because I have finally found a way to present myself (My Identity) through the work of others, and that, I think, makes it all right, because I prefer to present myself more as a part of things that surround me – a non-selfie.

The list of practitioners:
Jeff Wall
Misha Hanner – Less Américains, 2013
Cristina De Middel – The Afronauts, 2014

Tomine Adrian (2015) Killing and Dying. USA: Drawn & Quarterly
Bate, David (s.d) ‘Reconstructions’ In: foam 51 pp.143-144
Shore, Robert (2014) Post-Photography The Artist with a Camera. London: Laurence King

Figure 1. Tomine, A. (2015)  [Illustration] In: Tomine Adrian. Killing and Dying. USA: Drawn & Quarterly

Figure 2. Radman, I. (2018) Untitled [Photograph] In possession of: Ivan Radman: Luxembourg

Checking my work against the assessment criteria

Demonstration of technical and visual skills:
For this assignment I used Fujifilm x100s, more precisely I asked my son to take several photographs because otherwise, doing it myself with a timer would have taken too much time. He was patient beyond his age (11) and ready to help me with framing and reshooting until I got what I wanted. I had a page from a comic book as reference for posing the props, but I still needed to arrange some of the elements so they wouldn’t get any extra attention in relation to the whole scene. For example, the flash umbrella was dominant so I put it in the back and covered it with my body, which I think worked. The other thing that bothered me was the Coca Cola can. I wasn’t sure about showing the front with the logo or turning it the other way. Would it make the scene less about my work and more about consuming or was it an extra element that would contribute to the story? I am still wondering.

Quality of outcome:
The idea of presenting identity is recurring throughout my OCA experience and even though I do not like being the one who is exposed, I like to be changed. This way I thought I can be exposed but through the reference of others and that idea gave me the push to be excited while making it, and that, for me, means I am on a good path.

Demonstration of creativity:
After positioning all the props, I didn’t have many issues to deal with except in postproduction, due to the time-consuming task of selecting the objects, in order to manipulate the background filling it with colour.

The idea came from the world of graphic novels. There, the artists use paintings and photographs as references for their work the same way we photographers refer to other art genres (painting being the most represented one because of their comparison throughout history). In graphic novels, same as in photography, the artist in limited within the frame. The story unfolds within the relations between two adjacent frames.

Tutor’s response:

Overall Comments

As usual, lots of good research noted and exercises in this submission. I recommend reworking the final assignment to make full potential of your interesting ideas Ivan.

Feedback on assignment

Your mind map is good and I think there are lots of interesting things coming out of that research and also in the writing, reflection and exercises that you’re doing outside of the assignment itself.

You’re asked for this assignment to set out the following:

The specific themes you’re addressing

A list of practitioners

A bibliography

A self-evaluation

You’ve given a description of an idea that I do find a little confusing and needs further thought and clarification before committing yourself to a course of action for your next assignment. That’s fine, because the purpose of this assignment is to test ideas, get feedback, take risks and to experiment. Currently, I think your proposed project’s relevance to digital identity (to the brief) is a little too vague. That’s not to say this is something that can’t be further discussed and developed but I think it needs a little more thinking through before you begin to develop it.

You say that you took as your inspiration Mishka Henner’s appropriation project where he removes elements from a well-known series of photographs.

Did you try to do something like this yourself in your experiments (i.e scanning an existing set of photographs perhaps of yourself and removing the context in a similar way?) It may be that a more direct approach would be more successful. Erasure (removing certain elements in photograph) can be very effective..

However, you’ve inserted a third element – the comic novel illustration – which I think is really confusing things.

 For this project I found inspiration in the graphic novel Killing and Dying by A. Tomine (see fig. 1.). More particularly, one of the protagonists is a middle-aged man, questioning his own creative ability, looking for confirmation, which resonated with me’.

 So this subject is interesting – a questioning of your own ability etc. (And I know that you are interested in looking at your engagement with the world as someone who isn’t a so-called ‘digital native ‘For me as 40-year-old, that represents 20 years of the analogue and 20 years of the digital age’).

I’d suggest however that this idea doesn’t need to be fed through the filter of a comic novel nut you should look back to photography and montage to explore this interesting subject. We’ll discuss this more at tutorial.

I do like the aesthetics of the work you’ve presented. I like the way your separating yourself out from any background or context and surrounding yourself with a series of rather disembodied looking objects. This reminded me initially of two things: American photographer Sarah Charles’ use of colour fields and negative space and also UK artist Richard Hamilton’s ‘Interior; which was emblematic of the pop art movement in Britain at that time.

Sarah Charlesworth:

Richard Hamilton’s pop art ‘Interior’:

NB: There are lots of great new online commissions produced especially for the ‘I was raised on the Internet’ exhibit currently showing in the US here:


 After considering tutor’s comments I realize that I should release me from my own fittings, the comics part of it can be perceived and as just a starting point but not the vital point to produce the work based on my (digital) identity.

 I see now that I flew away from digital to analog concept, previously through that it would be enough to use the digitally manipulated in postproduction.

This time I will emphasize the digital part of the assignment.

Tutors references are perfect, especially the work of Sarah Charlesworth, and they will for sure give me that necessary additional push to combine my new concept in the borders of wanted visual effect.

 Tutor comments:

 ‘Board between photography and graphic design is barely visible.’

 ‘Did you try to do something like this yourself in your experiments (i.e .scanning an existing set of photographs perhaps of yourself and removing the context in a similar way?)’

 I can work with that as a starting point.


Exercise 4.4 Selfie

Write a short (around 500 words) post in your learning log in response to the question: what does the phenomenon of the selfie tell us about how photography is popularly used nowadays?Illustrate your post with recent examples from the internet.

All the possibilities of smartphone use imposed on us a preoccupation with and hunger for a constant influx of  information we absorb. Wishing to be informed and/or amused, we accelerated and modified our old habits in order to be able to follow and stay up to date with the current trends (Fomo – the fear of missing out on what others are enjoying).

That acceleration comes with a price – the accessibility and speed of the internet shifted us away from something that we call socialising. The flow of information was previously exchanged directly, face to face, which required a lot more effort and also compromise. This is not necessary true in this digital or virtual communication. The lack of physical interaction between people creates in each individual the need for self-presentation, to be a part of a group, in order to be perceived as a ‘real person’ with all the complexities that go with it, and not just as another soulless user on the world wide web. In order to do that, we fill our social network profiles with projections of our constructed personalities through, for example, images such as selfies, images of the food we prepare, our hobbies, images in which we present ourselves as heathy, fulfilled and satisfied…, in order not to become irrelevant or, even worse, forgotten in this digital age.

This enormous amount of emerging self-portrait photos replaces what we once wrote in our diaries. The images are replacing our thoughts, emotions, words, and to be able to do that, they need to be presented in a form that allows them to be recognised as such. These forms that we are adopting are shaped by social channels, where the visibility of any type of image depends on its quantity and repetition. This ‘new’ concept completely changes the previous idea of what self-presentation (in the shape of an image) was or should be to what is currently most visible.

Furthermore, the images made with our smartphones reflect the practical and multiple uses of that device, which is not a separate tool for exploration and creativity. They are becoming an essential element in the confirmation of our existence. ‘I am here, now, look at me!’.  They are often accompanied by text, for example, ‘I love being dressed in blue. What about you, what is your favourite colour?’ in order to further provoke participation of potential viewers of a particular image. (see fig 1.)


Fig. 1. V for victory?

Even though it is not my (generation) ‘thing’, there is something liberating in those images which are deprived of technical rules, but then again, they are most likely full of Dos and Don’ts, (again) invisible to my generation/me. (see fig.2.)


Fig. 2. We are young and crazy?



Figure 1. VIA (s.d) Untitled [Photograph] At: (Accessed on 21.09.18)

Figure 2. Kaponia, Aliaksei (s.d) Painted girl friends having fun. Women with paintbrush taking selfie. White background not isolated [Photograph] At: (Accessed on 21.09.18)

Exercise 4.3 Meme

Taking inspiration from an image or idea you’ve researched, create your own photographic response to an internet meme.

This may be something original, or your own interpretation of an existing meme. It might be funny or profound, but it should make people want to look at it and share it.

This year (as every other year) I went to Croatia for summer holidays and used that time to visit and spend some quality time with my parents for a couple of days. Every time we leave Croatia, my father wants me to take some of his things as a gift to take back with me to Luxembourg, reminding me that this may be the last time we see each other (it has been going on for the last 10 years). He is a sweet old man and I love him to bits but there is something passive aggressive in his approach. I will just say that at the moment I own 6 hammers that I got from him, even though he

has never thought me how to make anything with my hands. After I started to joke about my 6 hammers, he started asking me if I had a proper knife sharpening stone!

I understand that it is about reaching old age, where rules and perception of life as it once was are rapidly changing, and, apparently, only for the worse. To deal with it, I chose to look at it from a comic perspective, rather than feed my own depression, which I think he started to do ten or so years ago.

Researching memes connected to the topic of ‘gifts’, I found the following…




And here is my version…

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Exercise 4.2 Panopticism

Although written several decades ago, Michel Foucault’s theory of ‘panopticism’ still has relevance and currency within visual culture discourse.

Write a short summary of Foucault’s arguments, and comment on the relevance of his theory to digital culture.



Fig.1. Panopticon, illustrated by Willey Reveley, 1791


In the theory of panopticism, Foucault explains the system in which there is a central point from where a big number of subjects can be seen and controlled. That central point is covered with a reflective glass so that the subjects who are being exposed to whoever is in the central point are not able to see if they are actually being watched at all by anyone. Nevertheless, because of their position (the positioning of the cells) they are unable to communicate or interact with one another, so they are forced to behave according to the roles imposed on them by the person in the central point (tower). Even though this theory has never been completely transferred into reality, elements of it are present and visible in many examples throughout the history. From prisons (which was Foucault’s initial example), to factories, schools and universities, with more recent examples being CCTV cameras or, as in the Snowden case, large-scale military surveillance. Finally, every smartphone has at least one, but mostly two camera lenses that give a green light to invasion and supervision to anybody who knows a couple of computer programming tricks.

I would also like to mention Belgian artist Mishka Henner, whose lecture I saw in Luxembourg a year ago when he was presenting his projects Feedlots (2012-2013), Fields (2012-2013), No Man’s Land (2011–2013), Dutch Lanscapes (2011), fifty-One US Military Outposts (2010). They were all made (thanks to his curiosity and computer literacy) by downloading images from google maps on his own computer.

Reading about Foucault’s theory of panopticism, I immediately thought of one my top five movies of all time called Balkanski špijun / Balkan spy (1984). The main character is a man who was imprisoned by the communist regime for having ‘wrong’ political views. After his time inside, he is now free, and believes himself to be cured. His new-found mission is to correct the others who are not behaving according to what he perceives is ideologically acceptable. He starts to spy on his tenant and is constantly trying to get in touch with official state forces as if he were their active spy, even though he is a psychologically unstable person. He goes so far that he destroys an innocent person’s life and the lives of other people around him. 

5851-Balkan Spy

Henner, M. (2010) Misha Henner At: (Accessed on 05.09.18)

Balkan Spy (1984) Directed by Dušan Kovačević and Božidar ‘Bota’ Nikolić [VHS] Union Film: Yugoslavia

Figure 1. Reveley, Willey  (1791) Bentham’s Panopticon [illustration] At: (Accessed on 05.09.18)