Metadata: How We Relate To Images

Lethaby Gallery | Central Saint Martins | Granary Square | London
10 January 2018 – 3 February 2018

An exhibition presented by the international research project Bilderfahrzeuge. Aby Warburg’s Legacy and the Future of Iconology and Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London.

We encounter the world through metadata – data that provides information about other data. Maps, calendars, the location and time of a text message, all describe and classify information. Images carry their own metadata that affects how we relate to them, whether engaging with history and the passage of time or as beholders curating our own visual experience.

The exhibition gathers contemporary reflections on the status of data but also extends it beyond the digital. Works range from interventions, such as Nora Al-Badri and Nikolai Nelles’ Nefertiti Hack Project, to the Arts & Crafts movement’s engagement with medieval ornament. Where there is information there is metadata.

This exhibition arises out of a longstanding collaboration between artists and academics from Central Saint Martins and the research project Bilderfahrzeuge (a phrase coined by art historian Aby Warburg that translates as ‘image vehicles’). Focusing on the role of metadata in art and art history, the exhibition includes work by established and emerging artists as well as loans by the British Museum and private collections. These will stand alongside an imaginative reinvestigation of objects from Central Saint Martins’ own Museum and Study Collection.

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication that invites the visitor to map their own path through the display, adding their own voice to the accumulation of metadata.

Featuring works by:

Nora Al-Badri and Nikolai Nelles | Alexander Burgess | Hussein Chalayan | Matthew Clarke | Joyce Clissold | Carole Collet | Sarah Craske, Dr Simon Park and Dr Charlotte Sleigh | Matthew Darbyshire | Rosemary House | Lauren Jetty | Edward Johnston and Violet E. Hawkes | Owen Jones | Lottin de Laval | Richard Long | Nicola Lorini | Alfred Maudslay | Louisa Minkin | William Morris and John Henry Dearle | Noel Rooke | Henrietta Simson | Jeremy Wood.


The exhibition is accompanied by a series of panel discussions and a workshop in which curators, artists and academics will discuss some of the overarching themes of Metadata: how we relate to images.

Panel discussions:

Technologies of Recording
Thursday 11th January 2018, 5pm in the Lethaby Gallery.

Metadata is stored in different media through various technologies of recording. These have, however, changed radically over the last century, from casting and photography to scanning and 3D printing. What does this development mean and how does it affect the working practices of both artists and researchers?

Free: Click here to register your place

Methodologies of Description
Thursday 18th January 2018, 5pm in the Lethaby Gallery.

How is data affected by the categories that are created to structure it? What agency does, for example, a catalogue have? And how do acts of systematization of information determine perceptions of reality? These questions will be addressed by scholars and museum professionals working on encyclopaedism, histories of knowledge and the curation of objects.

Free: Click here to register your place

Practices of Production
Thursday 25th January 2018, 5pm in the Lethaby Gallery.

The acts of copying, commenting and reproducing have always been central to artistic practice. It has long been established that there is ‘nothing original under the sun’: metadata and its manipulation is at the core of how we relate to images and how images relate to us. But what does that mean in the everyday practice of artistic production? This panel discussion will bring together a selection of artists and curators to think about how these issues inform their work today.

Free: Click here to register your place

Policies of Ownership
Saturday 3rd February 2018, 2pm in the Lethaby Gallery.

The rapid expansion and proliferation of digital technologies have led to a vast increase in the amount of data being recorded, stored and broadcast. Inevitably, control and ownership of this data – and its metadata – has become a much-debated topic in political and economic, but also cultural arenas, raising questions concerning the status of cultural goods and museum collections. This workshop brings together artists commenting on these issues in their practice as well as museum professionals whose collections are the object of these discussions.

Free: Click here to register your place

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