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Themesicon: navigation pathPhoto/Byteicon: navigation pathArchive—post/photographic
Jens Schröter

Introduction: From the archive to transmission

In 1839, in one of the earliest commentaries on photography (referred to as daguerreotype at the time), Jules Janin wrote that it was «the true remembrance of all memorials, all regions of the universe; … the continual, spontaneous, insatiable reproduction of the hundred thousand masterpieces that history has erected or destroyed on the surface of the earth.» [1] Indeed, from the very beginning photography—as a medium that enabled the automatic storage of visual data for the first time—was connected with the concept of the archive. The connection between photography and ‹archive› is therefore one of the central parameters of that photographic age whose end is drawing near in our ‹post-photographic› present. Very briefly, ‹archive› can be defined as the location and the structure for safeguarding, storing and ordering objects and documents considered important. As such, «the archive is the precondition for something like history even being able to take place.» [2]

The issue of the archive—or more precisely, what an ‹archive› is in a specific historical constellation—isalways also one of transmission. This is by no means immediately plausible, as the media of transmission (for instance the telephone) in no way appear to be those of storage (for example the record). But in order to allow access to the archive, is it not necessary that every piece of stored data be transmissible? The inter-library loan is an example: If printed paper or at least—as is common practice today under JASON [3] —a scanned file is not transferred, access to a spatially distant archive is not possible. What is more: As the reference to JASON makes clear, the transition to digital/ized archives can be regarded as a reordering of the configuration of archive and transmission. An archive in the Internet is nothing if its data cannot be transmitted to my computer. Or as Wolfgang Ernst once pointedly formulated: «[W]e are in a media-induced transition from a storage-oriented to a transmission-oriented culture.» [4]

The following contribution will deal in particular with how artistic strategies react to these radical changes from photographic archiving to post-photographic transmission. In 1939, the art theorist Clement Greenberg wrote that «the avantgarde moves,

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The Pencil of Nature (Talbot, Henry Fox), 1844

while Alexandrianism stands still. And this, precisely, is what justifies the avant-garde's methods and makes them necessary.» [5] If one understands ‹Alexandrianism› here as a metaphor for the towering and functionalized photo archive, then the different strategies of the ‹avant-garde› so emphatically invoked by Greenberg would have to include clearing away this archive—to subject it to a «desedimentation,» to borrow a term from Derrida—and therefore reshape it, burst it open, make it questionable. This seems to have been acknowledged in recent years. The archive is playing an increasing role in artistic strategies and their theoretical reflection, as becomes clear, for instance, in two recent, comprehensive exhibition projects and publications—«Deep Storage» [6] and «Interarchive.» [7] The fact that this intensification of the discussion about the role of the archive is already taking place in the ‹post-photographic› phase can possibly itself be regarded as a symptom of its reordering.

However, I would first like to briefly recapitulate this alliance between photography and the archive. I will first present four exemplary archival uses ofphotography in order to then explain the changes under the sign of the digital.

Form divorced from matter—The «monument archive photography»

In «The Pencil of Nature» (1844), the first book ever published on photography, William Henry Fox Talbot wrote that the camera «delineates in a few moments the almost endless details of Gothic architecture».

[8] By order of the Commission des monuments historiques, the ‹Mission Héliographique› was organized in 1851. Well-known photographers of the time such as Hippolyte Bayard and Édouard Baldus were commissioned to travel to different regions of France in order to take photographs of historical monuments. By the late nineteenth century, the desired archiving of (architectural) art treasures that had been deemed important ultimately became a «megalomanic dream»: [9] Beginning in 1881, Albrecht Meydenbauer, director of the Preussische Königliche Messbildanstalt (Royal Prussian Photogrammetric Institution), attempted to set up a gigantic archive of monuments. It was intended to include photographs on the basis of which

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«a building could be reconstructed» photogrammetrically—i.e. by taking advantage of the mathematical laws of the central perspective—«in all the details of its ground and vertical plans a hundred years after it had disappeared from the earth.» [10] Even before Meydenbauer, this triumph of the photographically archived form over invalid matter was programmatically formulated in a text by Sir Oliver Wendell Holmes, «The Stereoscope and the Stereograph» (1859), frequently cited even today. He writes: «Form is henceforth divorced from matter. In fact, matter as a visible object is of no great use any longer, except as the mould on which form is shaped. Give us a few negatives of a thing worth seeing, taken from different points of view, and that is all we want of it. Pull it down or burn it up, if you please.» [11] Indeed: Between 1858 and 1978, Charles Marville documented the complete redevelopment of Paris, that is, the demolition of large parts of old Paris, initiated by Haussmann. In this documentation, photography served as a means for the preservation of the vanishing (a contemporary artistic practice related to this is the work by Bernd and Hilla Becher).

For Holmes, the photographically (or more precisely: stereographically) [12] divorced forms can only seemingly replace the object itself: «The time will come when a man who wishes to see any object, natural or artificial, will go to the Imperial, National, or City Stereographic Library and call for its skin or form, as he would for a book at any common library.» [13] Consequently, Holmes' enthusiasm for form, which makes even the palpable original dispensable, speaks in favor of an implicit trust in matter, as he apparently insinuates that the ‹banknotes› of the ‹great Bank of Nature› (as he so aptly formulates), that is, the photographs on photographic paper, will even survive throughout all time—like Meydenbauer, too, whose archive was intended to be amassed «without exception for all time.» [14] For today's archivists, this assumption is unfortunately in no way so self-evident. [15]

The archive of art—The imaginary museum

From the very beginning, the reproduction of works of art was regarded as one of photography's spheres of activity. Some of the earliest attempts by Nicephore

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Das imaginäre Museum (Malraux, André), 1950

Niépce to develop photography already served to reproduce existing pictures. [16] «The Pencil of Nature» by Talbot also contained two photographs of a bust. The consequences of this development can hardly be ranked high enough: As Walter Benjamin had already emphasized, the question whether photography (and later film) is an art—an issue discussed time and again both in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—is secondary compared with the question «whether the very invention of photography had not transformed the entire nature of art.» [17] A second, closely related question is how the corresponding photographic archive restructures knowledge of art (history). Following Heinrich Wölfflin, Daniel Henry Kahnweiler and Walter Benjamin, the former French minister of culture and education, André Malraux, effectively formulated some of the consequences of this transformation in his book «Les Voix du Silence» (1951). His description of the field opened by photographic reproductions became widely known as the ‹imaginary museum.› Malraux's museum is imaginary because it is not bound to a particular location: Photographic reproduction not only «forcesone to examine all of the world's possibilities of expression …» [18] —such as the museum—it goes even beyond the museum, as it can also contain works of art that are bound to (unalterable) architecture—such as, for instance, frescoes. In addition, art connoisseurs had had to travel about in order to compare the works—a comparison of the picture and one's recollection of it, which, according to Malraux, caused a «certain zone of uncertainty.» In contrast, an abundance of color reproductions of most major works are available to students today. [19]

Thus photographic reproduction (and the slide projection it is accompanied by) allows works from different eras to be presented side by side on a tableau. It initially excludes color—thus again directing concentrations towards the disegno. In addition, it standardizes the sizes of the reproduced objects—the photograph of the Great Pyramids appears next to a photograph of a book miniature on one page—places fragments or detailed sections next to each other and these in turn next to whole pictures and thus—according to the context—«achieves a certain affinity between objects of representation otherwise so

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After Walker Evans (Levine, Sherrie), 1981

remote from one other.» [20] Put very simply, in this way art history is created as an «art of fiction,» [21] , i.e. as an archive of intervisual relations. Despite certain initial difficulties, the double slide projection also incisively altered art historical theory in the nineteenth century. [22] There emerged what Wölfflin referred to—at the latest since 1915—as the history of style—in so far as the visual differences between pictures could become evident through slide projection. [23] Thus art history became a history of «what could be photographed.» [24] As Malraux pinpointed his considerations, he was not yet aware of how far-reaching this idea would one day become: Countless art forms—such as the performance, Land Art, the happening, Process Art, etc. [25] —which in their recourse to the fleeting and transitory use the strategy of a systematical ephemerization, would not have been conceivable as objects of art history without their photographic or cinematographic documentation.

Archive and art canon

Art history's fundamental reference to thephotographic archive (slide, textbook, etc.) irrefutably raises the question of which dispositives allow or deny inclusion in this constitutive archive. And this question is raised in particular by that art which is not yet a part of the archive and therefore (necessarily) aims to and must swirl up the sedimented order of the same: the avant-garde. Sherrie Levine, who attracted particular attention at the beginning of the 1980s and was soon regarded as the most important representative of ‹Appropriation Art,› is an example of an artist who reflects this process. In 1981 she emerged with her series «After Walker Evans.» Levine had photographed photographs taken by Walker Evans, which had been commissioned in 1936 by the magazine Fortune, and presented them in the gallery Metro Pictures. [26] He had taken them in cooperation with the writer James Agee in the Southern States and published them in 1939 as «Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.» [27] Levine's duplication of these photographs shifts the archival coordinates into which Evans' pictures had moved up to that point. Although Evans' photographs originally had a documentary function, they were consequently ennobled to art and moved

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into the art historical archive—as early as 1946, Clement Greenberg declared Evans' work to be « modern art photography at its best.» [28] By Levine's decoupling of the image from the author's name—or better: her shifting the author's name into the title of the image—sorting according to author name, which is constitutive for the museal formatting of the archive (compared with, for instance, ordering according to so-called epochs), is destabilized. For a brief moment the art historical positioning in the archive sedimented into the image is rescinded. Yet in the meantime, the archive of art history has neutralized this deviation: the image now summons up not only the name ‹Walker Evans,› but also ‹Sherrie Levine.› The artistic desedimentations of the archive perhaps now discover their limit at the archive of art. The shifting of this archive will then more likely be triggered off by radical techno-discursive changes— such as the transition to so-called post-photography, which I will explain below.

The police archive—Criminal records

The archive and its inscribed order of rule become even more problematic when it does not deal withthings, but with people. In the course of colonialism, the nineteenth century collected an enormous image reservoir of portraits of those who did not fall under the heading of the white, Western, civil subject. [29] However, not only members of foreign ethnic groups were subject to archival classification, but also social others. The bureaucracies of surveillance and control discovered the potentials of photographic recording early on. The idea of the passport photo emerged soon after the invention of photography; portraits were taken of imprisoned persons and collected in so-called criminal albums for the identification of repeat offenders. [30] In his fundamental and influential essay «The Body and the Archive,» Allan Sekula, theorist and conceptual photographic artist, supports the thesis that the institution of the photographic archive as such found one of its earliest forms in the close connection between professionalized police work and the social sciences, which were in the process of emerging. [31] However, the sheer volume of the images stood in the way of the archival promise associated with the systematic photographic recording of persons deemed criminal, namely to be able to

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Bertillonage (Bertillon, Alphonse), 1890

attribute a relative, qualifiable position in a greater ensemble to each criminal body. According to Sekula, in the nineteenth century there were two strategies aimed towards gaining control over this fundamental problem of the archive, each of them associated with the names Alphonse Bertillon or Francis Galton. Alphonse Bertillon developed not only what have since become the prevailing standards for police portrait photography, he also developed a complex classification system that operated with index cards and which was meant to enable picking a particular individual case out of the enormous number of images contained in the archive. In contrast, the anthropologist and eugenicist Francis Galton condensed numerous photographs by superimposing them to create an ‹ideal› composite image, which was meant to cause individual traits to disappear and the characteristics common to the superimposed portraits to manifest. This was to make the ‹typical attributes› of the criminal as well as of various ‹races› visible. While Bertillon was concerned with the unambiguous identification of a person, Galton was occupied with typification intended to help recognize criminalsaccording to physiognomic traits, preferably in the run-up to a crime. Sekula sums it up: «Bertillon sought to embed the photograph in the archive. Galton sought to embed the archive in the photograph.» [32] According to Sekula, these two poles characterize the treatment of the archive, which beyond its police purpose in a stricter sense also soon became the «dominant institutional basis for photographic meaning.» [33]

Walker Evans’ «dialogue with the empirical methods of the detective police»

At the end of «The Body and the Archive,» Sekula asks: «To what degree did selfconscious modern practice accommodate itself to the model of the archive?» [34] He suggests several related possibilities, of which he regards the work by Walker Evans as the most complicated and intellectually sophisticated reaction to the model of the archive. Sekula cites the strategy of the «poetic structure of the sequence,» which Evans used in his book «American Photographs» (1938). [35] Sekula also makes brief mention of Evans' subway photographs from the late

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Subway Portraits (Evans, Walker)Menschen des 20. Jahrhunderts (Sander, August)

1930s and early 1940s, which he describes as «evidence of a sophisticated dialogue with the empirical methods of the detective police.» [36] He is probably making reference to portraits of people riding the subway in New York which Evans took between 1938 and 1941 with a hidden camera and which were not published until 1966 under the title of «Many are Called.» [37] By emphasizing the automatic character of the photographic image, reference is being made to the surveillance techniques used by the police and other apparatuses of the state (such as, for example, the military), who are not interested in a somehow ‹aesthetically› organized picture taken by an author, but in automatically scanning reality by recording it as completely as possible—although Evans intervenes by cutting and selecting the images. [38] Evans seems to be setting up an archive of potentially ‹suspicious› persons. Thus there is an arrangement of «Subway Portraits» (1938–41) which contains the grid structure characteristic for work with the archive and which is definitely reminiscent of wanted persons posters. However, the photographs are divorced from any additional information which would allow assigning aname, a history, a social status to the persons. As in, for instance, contemporaneous archive projects (for example, August Sander's «Menschen des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts»), one may attempt to discern a person's social position based on their appearance, but it is evident how seldom one succeeds in doing so (as is not the case for Sander, whose image titles provide important clues). Thus with this «vast visual archive,» [39] Evans demonstrates that photographs are only operative in specific contexts as an element of the police archive. If one cuts them too much out of their context—both physically and metaphorically—they lose their identificatory function.

The private archive—The family album

A form of the photographic archive whose importance can hardly be overestimated is that of private photography—the greatest part of all of the photographs taken in the second half of the twentieth century belong to this area. With the introduction of the first Kodak box camera in 1889, the production of photographs became possible even for normal citizens without any technical experience—though initially only

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Atlas (Richter, Gerhard)Zeitungsfotos (Ruff, Thomas), 1981

the higher social classes—and in the course of the twentieth century it ultimately became possible for anyone: We all take photographs, but we are also all familiar with the endlessly dreadful evenings looking at slides of someone's vacation, wedding or children. There are detailed analyses of the ways the high points of family life are fixed, how the history of the family is time and again narratively (re)constructed in annotated photo albums, how systems are created to remember the deceased or those who are almost always absent due to capitalist mobility (the famous picture in someone's wallet, almost in the sense of Holmes' banknote), etc. [40] These practices of the photographic archive allow a «narrative stabilization through self-assurance.» [41] Through the isolated or common carrying on one's person or looking at (selected) photographs or photo sequences in ritualized practices, certain historical genealogies and thus implied attributions of one's own social position can time and again be performatively created afresh (refer to the text by Kathrin Peters, «Instant Images»).

Gerhard Richter's «Atlas»

Gerhard Richter's «Atlas[42] in which photographs of the family meet newspaper (Thomas Ruff also examined by in one of his works) or advertising photos, contains an important artistic strategy which starts out from the private family photo archive in order to critically reflect the «reigning social uses of photography and their potential artistic functions.» [43] Richter thus examines the interference of various photographic archives. Artists may have always collected pictures and other materials which might serve as models or ideas, but with Richter (who also uses them as models), this heterogeneous repertoire itself ultimately became an artistic work—in 1997 the exhibition of this repertoire at the Documenta IX (which was also shown, amongst other places, in Krefeld in 1976, in Munich in 1989, and in 1990 in Cologne) again attracted a lot of attention. According to Buchloh, in this monumental collection of photographic images, started by Richter in 1962 after his escape from East Germany, he analyzes photography «as one of the instruments with which collective anomie, amnesia, and repression are socially inscribed.» [44] The images are organized on about 600

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plates according to the—for work on the archive apparently constitutive— «rectangular grid's wholly traditional display system.» [45]

The first plates (album photos 1962–66, compare «Atlas. Tafel 1») contain photographs of the family, which make reference to the past Richter had just left behind in East Germany. For Richter, this recourse serves as the point of departure for his reflection on the relationship between photography and historical remembrance (in this respect, Buchloh sharply distinguishes Richter's approach of an anomic archive from the melancholic archive in the work by Bernd and Hilla Becher.) [46] After fleeing from East Germany, the artist found himself in a culture which due to an accelerated and expanded production apparatus for the arousal of artificial needs and thus a mass of primarily commercial photographs, threatened (and even intended) to suppress the traumatic traces of the Second World War and the division of Germany, which Richter had experienced first hand.

Thus the structure of Richter's «Atlas» is plausible. If one, for instance, compares the first plate with the subsequent plates, it becomes apparent that thegradual infiltration of the pictures of the family with commercial photographs demonstrates the tension between the public identity construction through the media culture and the private identity construction through the family photograph. In the «Atlas,» this «archaeology [in the sense of a de-sedimentation of the archive, J. S.] of pictorial and photographic registers,» each of which «generates its proper psychic register of responses,» [47] ultimately leads to a forcing open of the «apparently empty barrage of photographic imagery and the universal production of sign exchange-value.» [48] Panel 18 («Atlas. Panel 18») shows appalling pictures from National Socialist concentration camps: The private photo archive—the family album—is ruptured by that of history.

The digitalization of the archive

From image telegraphy to the calculable image

The photographic archive has been bound up with the interests of transmission from the very beginning. Even Holmes wrote that «there must be arranged a comprehensive system of exchanges, so that there may

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grow up something like a universal currency of these banknotes, or promises to pay in solid substance, which the sun has engraved for the great Bank of Nature.» [49] The ‹banknotes› are those photographically divorced forms of the objects kept in the ‹great Bank of Nature,› the universal archive. The characteristic comparison of photography with the one and only circulative medium of capitalism, money, shows that the circulation (of the market) is always already taken into account in the archive opened by photography: «Matter in large masses must always be fixed and dear; form is cheap and transportable…. Already a workman has been travelling about the country with stereographic views of furniture, showing his employer's patterns in this way, and taking orders for them.» [50] But the ‹workman› still has to carry the stereographic images around with him; the image information is not yet completely divorced and cannot travel about by itself, something that first becomes possible with the introduction of image telegraphy. This now really divorces form from matter and allows it to travel even without the workman who transports the image carriers. Regarded in this way, thedigitalization of the photographic image is by no means an event that first occurs in the 1990s. [51]

However, the truly new thing about the use of digitalized photographs by computers is the following: Until the image is printed, it is an «array of values» [52] in which the individual values describe the pixels—which enables subjecting the image to mathematical operations. This calculability of the image is the central prerequisite for image processing, those processes at the beginning of the use of digitalized images by the military and in astronomy in order to, for instance, remove noise, errors, etc. from images. [53] However, the mathematical form is above all constitutive for the postphotographic archive.

Data compression/Original and copy

Only data compression allows—if at all—the transferal of the image archive into nonlocal networks, because as two- or three-dimensional matrices, images require a large amount of resources for their archiving and transmission. There is lossless and lossy compression; thus if need be, information may have to be dispensed with. A given original cannot be

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reconstructed in its entirety out of lossy-compressed images—and these include, for example, most customary JPEGs. [54] Thus the supposed absolutely loss-free character of digital reproduction, inasmuch as a given amount of numbers would only have to be rewritten in order to produce the exact same image, breaks on the pragmatics of digital image archives. For commercial image suppliers in the Internet, small, low-resolution images (‹thumbnails›) often serve as a kind of index which refers to the higher-resolution ‹originals,› which can only be obtained for payment and are protected against unauthorized reproduction through digital watermarks. [55] It is obvious that the distinction between original and copy, which is occasionally declared to be obsolete, also turns up again in the realm of digital reproduction—and along with it all of the problems associated with the ownership of images or with copyright (see below).

Intermediality/Rearranging the archive

Due to digitalization, different symbolic material (photographs, paintings, moving images, writing, sounds, measurement data, etc.) exists side by side inthe same archive, which means that there is a trend towards the dissolution of traditional boundaries between the different media and thus of the academic disciplines assigned to them (see below). While a traditional photograph is a relatively isolated object, one has to regard a digitalized photo as one element out of many in an intermedial link context (for example on a Web site). [56] A future archiving of digital information must therefore achieve more than just the adaptation to ever new data formats, etc. Rather, the contexts of specific information also have to be placed into the archive. [57]

New forms of addressing images correspond with this intermediality of the digitalized archive, because «in contrast to analog media, digital media are not only capable of storing, but also sorting and searching.» [58] That means that the arrangement of the image archive according to artist's names, epochs or other forms of assigning keywords could make way for new orders that, for example, are based on a certain similarity of images—beyond the human eye—through automatic image analysis, [59] which is already relevant today for face recognition and thus controlling access to

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buildings. Moreover, with regard to the ability to locate image information in the chaotically rampant Internet, such processes would be important. However, even today there is a lack of automatic search engines for images that operate satisfactorily. It should also not go unmentioned that Hartmut Winkler has pointed out the danger of companies (such as Corbis, see below) possibly one day not only gaining control of just the images, but also the incomparably more important image patterns, which are traceable using corresponding digital analysis methods. [60]

The permanence of the archive as permanent transformation

Finally, the permanence of the archive is changing. Compared with high-quality black-and-white prints, the durability of digitalized photographs, or more precisely: of the data carriers onto which they are stored, is low although the data can be preserved by copying it onto new data carriers. There is the risk that digitally stored image data may relatively suddenly no longer be usable—in contrast to analog media, whose recordings deteriorate slowly and remain readable for a long time.Moreover, in view of frequently changing data and software formats, the rereadability of data carriers is itself a problem. [61] In this respect, preservation in digital(ized) archives relies on permanent transformation—a principal difference to analog archives. While the photographic reproduction of images in photo archives in order to ensure their continued existence is only carried out in exceptional cases, the process of the permanent reformatting of new data and storage formats is normal for digital media. In a strict realization of Holmes' vision, image information can only survive through the permanent migration of form from one matter to the other. One of the ways in which digital(ized) image information continues to exist is precisely its constant (even if poor) reproduction and transmission through networks.

From criminal records to permanent video surveillance

By scrutinizing relevant texts written by Horst Herold, former director of the Bundeskriminalamt (the German equivalent of the FBI), Leander Scholz worked out some of the changes which the introduction of

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Neighborhood Watch (Hall, Doug)

digital information processing methods has meant for police practices: «[T]he so-called dragnet search essentially differs from previous search methods in that it is used in cases in which a known culprit cannot be searched for, but in those cases in which an unknown culprit first has to be identified by sifting through personal data organized according to feature groups.» [62] The «dispositive of the grid» [63] again appears to play a central role—yet apparently in an altered way: «[T]he censorship that accompanies digital data processing [appears] … to consist in the entire future population of a country being left to the discretion of a single dispositive of access.» [64] Herold regards this access as given in the possibility of being able to represent and analyze data through «random linking … in every desired context and combination.» [65] The connections to the shifts of the archive described above are clearly visible here. Not only do connections between very different materials become—intermedially—possible, these links also allow discovering patterns where for humans there are none to find—similar to computerized image recognition processes. However, this means that the individualimage is defined less by its production with the goal of its localization in an archival matrix (such as is the case with Bertillon's mugshots), rather it is a locked-in-place section out of an intermedial data flow, which today is primarily produced through video surveillance.

The installation of such video surveillance systems on all public squares, in shopping centers, in government quarters, etc., began in Great Britain in the late 1980s and early 1990s and has in the meantime become more and more common in Europe—a development which in particular the artist Heith Bunting has made reference to. (see also Neighborhood Watch by Doug Hall) Video cameras first record as much as possible. It is not until something happens that the images are gone through, images retrieved, and then assigned meaning in retrospect: This occurred with the images showing Lady Di leaving her hotel shortly before her fatal accident in the fall of 1997. For this reason Winfried Pauleit speaks of images in the futur antérieur case, which if need be later become police images. [66] Moreover, there appears to be a trend towards the paradigm of video surveillance replacing the photo archive—quite in the spirit of the increasing dominance of transmission over

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History Painting: Shopping Mall (Wagg, Jamie)Composite-Fotografie (Galton, Francis)Big Brother (Stalin, Mussolini, Mao, Hitler, Khomeini) (Burson, Nancy), 1983

storage, a point I made in the introduction. There was an intense examination of this shift in artistic practices. In his work «History Painting: Shopping MallJamie Wagg used an image out of a video surveillance sequence that gained sad notoriety. [67] The digital processing Wagg applies to the image out of the video stream alludes to police image analysis methods. [68] As set out in the section «The police archive—Criminal records,» according to Allan Sekula the sheer «volume of the images» constituted the «fundamental problem of the archive» for the apparatuses of the state. [69] Today, the increasing improvement of image analysis allows a new type of treatment of images, which in a certain way represents a synthesis of Bertillon's process of placing images into an order system and Galton's aim of crystallizing the typical out of the specific. Because only through a process of mathematical ‹crystallizing out› can the placement into an order system be successful; the recognition of the specific individual may continue to be the focus— but on the basis of his typical traits. While Galton, for example, superimposed twenty criminals in a composite photograph in order to findthe typical criminal, the task now facing the relevant image analysis software is to pin down the typical traits of a single criminal, that is, on the other hand to subtract the general average person from the individual. Regarded in this way, it is extraordinarily characteristic that one of the earliest artistic implementations of digital image processing by Nancy Burson directly followed Galton's composite photography. She produced her images as early as the beginning of the 1980s, images in which, for example, portraits of different ‹dictators› (Stalin, Mussolini, Mao Tse-tung, Hitler, Khomeini) are fused together into a composite image of «Big Brother» — to use Sekula's words, she draws the archive together in individual images.

Publication of the private

The tendency towards the expansion of the police archive to potentially include dragnet searches for, and video surveillance of, everyone fits in with the fact that the previously relatively clear boundaries between public and private are being perforated. [70] Nowhere is this more obvious than in the domestic uses of

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Globen/Globes (Binschtok, Viktoria), 2002Transmission Interrupted (Brodsky, Michael), 1995

photography. Digital cameras, even digital video cameras, have smoothly followed the use of photographic and videographic techniques in the recording of high points in the family, the growing up of the children, the vacation, etc. There is no visible change in pragmatics due to the transition to digital media at this level. [71] What is more remarkable is that the way people treat images has changed. The images may still be printed out, pasted into photo albums and provided with brief, personal, selfassuring narratives; however, homepages in the World Wide Web permit the same thing. In this way, private narratives—in principle at least—are made public. [72] In addition, the images can be relatively easily sent via E-mail (in this respect refer to the contribution by Kathrin Peters, «Instant Images»).

One of the most conspicuous forms in which the transition of private image production into the public becomes evident is the inflationary proliferation of amateur pornography. It has now become possible for anyone to pass his or her own sex practices on to the public in an exhibitionistic way—one of the pertinent image archives in the Web in which countlessphotographs of this kind can be found (a total of 1,968,947 in 655 categories on 12/12/04) in categories such as «» is Moreover, there are many Web sites on which private individuals market their individual pornographic image archives in a hyperexhibitionistic way. Capitalist circulation now also includes—in a way Sir Oliver Wendell Holmes would certainly never been able to imagine—private image archives. Likewise, ebay—the world's largest electronic auction house for merchandise that is otherwise only marketable within bounds—has transformed the entire home into a part of the global market (in this respect refer to the work «Globen/Globes» by Viktoria Binschtok and Peter Piller). The tendency is that in the space of post-photographic neoliberalism, private photographs are becoming what they emphatically precisely not were for a long time: commodities.

In his work «Transmission InterruptedMichael Brodsky responded both to the dominance of pornographic images in the Internet as well as the central role of transmission. The more recent works by Thomas Ruff also seem to react to these developments:

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Nudes (Ruff, Thomas), 2002Volume I (Fröhlich, Fred)

His series «Nudes» (begun in 1999) is based on pornographic images from the Net (whether by amateurs or ‹professionals›).

A completely different examination of the private photo archive under digital conditions can be found in work by Jörg Sasse. His work refers less to the contemporary post-photographic private archive, rather it is more a look back at the photographic archive—using digital means. [73] He collects large volumes of discarded private photographs—for example by buying up old photography at flea markets, etc. The images are scanned, looked through, selected—many of them are briefly touched up, a few others are decidedly worked over. Sasse does not try to dissect the image patterns, which strictly regulate the apparently so spontaneous and private family photograph, rather he attempts to remove them from the digitalized photographs or shift them by making a discreet incision. The viewer thus becomes aware of what he or she ‹naturally› saw—that is, did not see. [74]

A further, unfortunately not yet executed project by Sasse is his world image archive in the World WideWeb. His original idea was to allow all users to create connections between photographs randomly selected from Sasse's archive. The users would have been able to indicate whether in their opinion the images went together well or poorly (on five levels). With time, a kind of topography was to develop from which a conventional photographic image awareness would have been able to be gauged (this form of dealing with images was already been achieved, however, in photoblogs such as; refer to the section «cameraphone canada car cat» in Kathrin Peters' contribution «Instant Images.») This ‹set-up for an experiment› could or should have achieved a ‹democratic› [75] reconstruction of the image patterns on which the private photo archive is based—beyond the reconstruction of such patterns using expensive and exclusive image analysis software in the service of military or monopoly-capitalist adjustments of the collective visual memory (the commercial formatting of the archive is the subject of work «Volume I» by Fred Fröhlich.)

Alexandria and the avant-garde

The opportunities provided by digitalization soon

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Culture is our Business (Schaber, Ines)

led to an intense discussion about to what extent cultural—especially artistic—heritage can be digitally archived. This question can be divided up into two issues: Firstly, whether and if so, how the previous heritage of images can be put into digital form, and secondly, how art forms based on digital media can themselves be archived.

These questions are, by the way, not only posed by museums with regard to the problem of what function virtual museums might have, [76] but—because the difference between original and copy has by no means disappeared—these are also issues for commercial image providers. In view of the increasing significance of data networks, the commercial role of digitalized photographs is growing as opposed to their photochemical predecessors: «The assumption is that, in the near future, electronic reproduction is the only kind that is going to matter. The other assumption in play here is that reproduction is already the only aspect of an image worth owning…. He seeks to control, not photography, but the total flow of photo-data.» [77] The ‹he› in Batchen's statement refers to Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, whosecompany Corbis, after acquiring exclusive electronic rights to works by the photographer Ansel Adams and the purchase of the complete Bettmann Archive, ranks amongst the largest providers of digitalized photographs in the Internet. This has problematical consequences: First of all, there is a selection process deciding which images will be digitalized and made available or put up for sale online (because given the resources available in the near future, it will not be possible to digitalize all images). Since it is the Bettmann Archive which contains several of the most well-known press photographs, by carrying out such selection processes Corbis controls visual history itself—an issue which Ines Schaber in «Culture is our Business» examines. And: «Participants who follow the Gates lead can surf an image archive as arbitrarily as people already surf art museums, happily jumping from Rembrandt to ancient Egyptian sculpture to Japanese armor, or from sunsets to stamps to Nobel Prize winners, as the whim takes them. With electronic reproduction, no-one has to care about history as a linear sequence any more.» [78] Batchen is again underscoring the intermedial heterogeneity of the digital archive already described.

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Foster makes reference to this development in his text «The Archive without Museums.» He supports the thesis that the «techniques of information to transform a wide range of mediums into a system of image-text» are the conditions for the emergence of a «database of digital terms, an archive without museums.» According to Foster, this process caused the academic paradigm shift from classic art history (oriented towards the photographic archive) to the discourses on visual culture—that is, those new efforts in ‹visual studies› which tear down the difference between ‹high› art and other ‹lesser› types of images. [79] Following Malraux, he poses an important question: «After photographic reproduction the museum was not so much bound by walls, but it was bordered by style. What is the edge of the archive without museums?» [80] Archive without museums is Foster's expression for the delimited digital ‹anarchive› [81] (in the Internet)—what then could new principles of order be; or do implicit orders already exist which are still too far removed from our sight? Foster endorses Greenberg's entreatment of the avantgarde. However, «the battlefield of Alexandria and avant-garde has changedtoday, and strategic aesthetics must be devised accordingly.» [82] But what could such a strategic aesthetics be? This is a question which (certain) media artistic approaches will have to ask themselves in future—and which they already pose. The connecting element between many of the different artistic examinations of the post-photographic archive seems to be just this—to discover suppressed, oppositional orders and logics in what appears to be such a dispersive material, or to invent new orders and logics that allow structuring the heterogeneous differently. In this, the issue is not a nostalgic return to the safe refuge of the museum—which is impossible as it is— rather, the point is to keep the discussion on the archive of the future in motion, that is, of working on alternative models to the archive. It is a matter of inventing orders which elude the commercial or military opportunities and adjustment (Nietzsche) of the archive.

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