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Photo Valley Bologna: from MAST to Archeological Museum

by /// October 17, 2022
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

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Would you like to know some more about photography and its history from an unusual point of view?
You can discover it by visiting the exhibition IMAGE CAPITAL. Photography as information technology, which is on at the MAST exhibition spaces in Bologna, until January 8th, 2023.

The project was born thanks to the collaboration between the photographer Armin Linke and the historian of photography Estelle Blaschke: it’s a path of exploration that represents through images, texts and a vast array of other materials the different ways in which photography is used within different types of production processes (for instance, in scientific, cultural and industrial fields.

Actually, photography is ubiquitous, it’s almost everywhere, but almost always it recounts and describes other than itself. The exhibition, curated by Francesco Zanot, is a visual and research project that, as in a game of mirrors, inquires around photography itself and its countless practical uses, its scientific value, and its function as information technology.

Armin Linke, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, Fototeca, Firenze, Italia, 2018 / Armin Linke, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, Photothek, Florence, Italy, 2018
Armin Linke, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, Photothek, Florence, Italy, 2018

Photography as a capital

The communication and access systems to information are closely linked to photography – as is evident visiting the exhibition. Indeed, photography has played an essential role in the development of global industries and governmental apparatuses. In other words, images become a true form of capital. Image Capital, precisely.

The MAST exhibition spaces host archival images, publications, interviews, videos, other original objects. They are very different materials, exhibited without hierarchies and divided into six sections, offer an immersive narrative-experience, that allows everyone to discover and follow his original narrative path.

  • Armin Linke, CERN, Large Hadron Collider (LHC), cabling, Geneva, Switzerland, 2019
  • University of Rochester, Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation (RBSCP), Kodak Historical Collection. Photographer unknown, aperture card, ca. 1960
  • Edo Collins, Radhakrishna Achanta, Sabine Süsstrunk, Deep Feature Factorization for Concept Discovery, paper presented at the European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV), Munich, Germany, 2018
  • A scanning and measuring table (IEP – Instrument for the evaluation of photographs) for bubble chamber photos, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland, 08.03.1963
  • University of Stuttgart, High-Performance Computing Center (HLRS), Stuttgart, Germany, 2019

Six sections

Memory

Photographs can collect and store information. The intrinsic nature of photography as a recording tool is investigated. Its potential has been widely expanding since the mechanical reproducibility to the advent of digital technology.

George Eastman House, the Legacy Collection. Pubblicità Kodak per il Recordak Miracode System, 1966 / George Eastman House, the Legacy Collection. Kodak ad for the Recordak Miracode System, 1966
George Eastman House, the Legacy Collection. Kodak ad for the Recordak Miracode System, 1966

Access

On the filing procedures, archiving and indexing images. The association between photography and text have always been key to the success of this medium as an information technology. Metadata are not only useful for organizing images in ordered systems, but also for being able to find and use them.

Armin Linke, Sito di stoccaggio di Iron Mountain, Boyers (PA), USA, 2018 / Armin Linke, Iron Mountain preservation facility, Boyers (PA), USA, 2018
Armin Linke, Iron Mountain preservation facility, Boyers (PA), USA, 2018

Protection

Strategies for the long-term preservation of images and the information they contain. The images are like deposits of potentially perishable information, so they must be protected not to be dispersed. This section shows the strategies for the protection of images, from archives to back-up systems.

Università di Rochester, Libri Rari, Collezioni Speciali e Conservazione (RBSCP), Kodak Historical Collection. Fotografo sconosciuto, ingresso del sito di stoccaggio di Iron Mountain a Boyers (PA), 1955 c. / University of Rochester, Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation (RBSCP), Kodak Historical Collection. Photographer unknown, entrance to the Iron Mountain preservation facility at Boyers (PA), ca.1955
University of Rochester, Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation (RBSCP), Kodak Historical Collection. Photographer unknown, entrance to the Iron Mountain preservation facility at Boyers (PA), ca.1955

Mining

On image analysis and their use in automatic recognition technologies. These processes entail the possibility of using large quantities of similar images for the development of automatic recognition technologies, that are pivotal today, especially in the industry and security fields.

Aimé Girard, Ricerca sulla coltivazione industriale della patata, Atlante con sei eliografie, 1889 / Research on the cultivation of the industrial potato, Atlas with six heliogravures, 1889
Aimé Girard, Research on the cultivation of the industrial potato, Atlas with six heliogravures, 1889

Imaging

On photography as a visualization system for the existing or one of its projects. The analysis begins from its ability to go beyond the limits of the human eye to its use for the development of rendering and digital modeling techniques. With a reversal with respect to its historical connotation, that is as a proof of reality, photography becomes the basis from which reality is designed and built.

Movimenti di particelle catturati nella LExan Bubble Chamber (LEBC) installata nella zona nord dell'acceleratore noto come Super Proton Synchrotron, 09.12.1981, CERN, Ginevra, Svizzera / Events of particle tracks in experiment LEBC, LExan Bubble Chamber, installed in the North Area of the Super Proton Synchrotron accelerator, 09.12.1981, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland
Events of particle tracks in experiment LEBC, LExan Bubble Chamber, installed in the North Area of the Super Proton Synchrotron accelerator, 09.12.1981, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland

Currency

On the value of the images. From the association between photography and currency to computer capitalism, the section enlights the processes of attributing value to images, today particularly linked to the ability to accumulate large quantities and to associate broad sets of information to each.

Università di Rochester, Libri Rari, Collezioni Speciali e Conservazione (RBSCP), Kodak Historical Collection. Fotografo sconosciuto, deposito sotterraneo della Recordak a Iron Mountain, Boyers (PA), 1964 / University of Rochester, Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation (RBSCP), Kodak Historical Collection. Photographer unknown, Recordak underground vault at the Iron Mountain, Boyers (PA), 1964
University of Rochester, Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation (RBSCP), Kodak Historical Collection. Photographer unknown, Recordak underground vault at the Iron Mountain, Boyers (PA), 1964

The images at the time of ancient Pompeii

Let’s now take a step back in time, to the Roman civilization that inhabited the Pompeii area.
No doubt, photography didn’t exist then. But images were important in ancient times, too, as it can be seen in the exhibition The Painters of Pompeii at the Museo Civico Archeologico, also in Bologna. The exhibition shows more than one hundred works from the Roman period from the collection of the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, which preserves the most important pinacoteca of ancient times.

The focus is on the ‘pictores’, that are the artists who decorated the houses in Pompeii, Ercolano and other cities around Vesuvius. Their role is still shrouded in mystery. The exhibition also highlights the very important heritage of images they left us. They are frescoes that depict scenes from mythology and the family’s history, landscapes and gardens, architecture, and offers us a new perspective from which to explore the tastes and values of that world.

Parete in IV stile con Nature Morte (xenia), Pompei, Praedia di Iulia Felix, Reg. II, 4, 3, tablino (92), parete sud affresco, cm 298 x 447, I secolo d.C. 2, mostra I Pittori di Pompei, Museo Civico Archeologico, Bologna
Pompei, Praedia di Iulia Felix, I Pittori di Pompei exhibition, Museo Civico Archeologico, Bologna

IMAGE CAPITAL. Photography as information technology is the result of an international collaboration between Fondazione MAST in Bologna, Folkwang Museum in Essen, Centre Pompidou in Paris and Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation in Frankfurt/Eschborn.

Spetember 22, 2022 – January 1, 2023
Fondazione MAST, via Speranza, 42, 40133 Bologna
https://www.mast.org


The Painters of Pompeii, curated by Mario Grimaldi, is the fruit of the cultural and scientific partnership between Bologna City Council | Civic Archaeological Museum and the National Archaeological Museum in Naples.

September 23, 2022 – March 19, 2023
Museo Civico Archeologico
Via dell’Archiginnasio 2, 40124 Bologna
http://www.ipittoridipompei.it/

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