Picture Industry

A Provisional History of the Technical Image, 1844–2018

Curated by artist Walead Beshty, the exhibition Picture Industry reflects upon transformations in the production and distribution of photographic images as realized through its varied constructions of the corporeal, from its origin as a scientific tool and a means of cultural investigation to its phenomenological effects on the viewer.

Picture Industry serves as a comprehensive catalogue for the exhibition by way of an anthology of historical and theoretical texts, including reproductions of key art works and publications.

It offers a resource to consider dominant threads in aesthetic theory, including selections from structuralist and post structuralist explorations of representation, to German media theory, the study of cultural techniques, and the still-burgeoning realm of new media theory.

Rather than attempting a definitive history, the publication posits an alternative approach to the myriad questions and debates associated with representation, presenting its technological history as inextricable from the social history of media, and staging this through the complex and multivalent relationship between the photographic image and the body, whether the body of the viewer, or that of the image.

Published with the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, and the LUMA Foundation, on the occasion of the exhibition, Picture Industry at LUMA, Arles (12 October 2018 – 6 January 2019).

The exhibition is an extended version of that presented as part of, Systematically Open? New Forms for Contemporary Image Production, the inaugural series of exhibitions at the LUMA Foundation, Arles.

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