FAH/DPHIL Lecture Series – “VisonBytes – Seeing in the age of intercultural digitality” by Prof. Holger Briel, Beijing Normal University-Hong Kong Baptist University-United International College
2021-10-13 @ 5:30 pm ~ 7:00 pm
From Emojis to Manga, from Western adverts to “foreign” brand consciousness, visual products are continuing their near instantaneous circulation around the globe. Especially their apparent ‘naturalness’ and freedom from translation is appealing. But here also lies the problem: these materials have been constructed by social actors with specific agendas in mind; and especially their ‘foreign’ receptions create challenges, including ethical ones.
In order to properly study these fairly new phenomena, a different kind of terminology is needed, not one that relies on older media concepts, but one that does them justice in terms of their contextual and technological complexity, multivalence and mobility. In my research presentation, I will propose to introduce the term ‘VisionBytes’ for these phenomena. These are complex visual arrays, oftentimes of foreign cultural origin and consist of still or moving images. They circulate within a system of non-photography as sketched by François Laruelle (2013) and are akin to the ‘objects’ described in Quentin Meillassoux’ Beyond Finitude (2008). Invariably, they touch on issues of belonging, identity, exclusion, human rights and globalisation, issues I will foreground in my presentation. Even more recently, they have also begun participating in the preparations for the imminent gaze of the (technological) Other, of a possible singularity which for the first time will allow humans to re-view themselves and thus be judged by alien means.