Plattform fotografi
PLATTFORM FOTOGRAFI SYFTAR TILL ATT GÖRA EN GENOMLYSNING AV DET SVENSKA FOTOGRAFISKA FÄLTET
Plattform fotografi

Ronald Jones

Symposium
Datum: 
Sunday 28 march 2010
Tidpunkt: 
15:30

I SAW IT

While not a victim, Goya witnessed Napoleon’s army persecute Spanish citizens, and with passion titled one etching from his ‘Disasters of War’ series, I Saw It. Goya, the eye-witness, had the same role as Eddie Adams almost one hundred and sixty years later when on 1 February 1968, he photographed Nguyễn Ngọc Loan summarily execute Nguyễn Văn Lém on a street in Saigon. The act of photography substantiates Adams’ first-person account, just as Goya’s title did, and instrumentalized its persuasive soft power. Social media has changed all that; with the combined power of photography, and instantaneous global communication inside our mobile phones everyone can proclaim to the world: I Saw It with the same veracity of photojournalism, the documentary or even the artist. The vast protests and political upheaval following the Iranian election in which Mir Hussein Moussavi lost to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were, in part, mobilized by various streams of social media and not least, Flickr. Contrast this with the 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai. In the initial stages of the attack – which was enabled by social media - the public tried to make sense of the bedlam, and assure one another that they were safe, as social media sites like Twitter and Flickr provided actionable information in real-time through firsthand accounts. On the one hand, photography delivered through social media can instantly distribute life-saving information and reassuring news, but on the other, it enables citizens to unwittingly spread sensitive or compromising information. With this new form of free speech, as end-users hijack social media for their own ends, are ethical boundaries being crossed, not only by terrorists, but photographers, social provocateurs, and sexual libertines?

Ronald Jones, an artist and critic, is the Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Konstfack, University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, Sweden. At Konstfack he leads The Experience Design Group, and he is a guest professor in Experience Design at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India. He is the author of numerous museum catalogs and writes regularly for Artforum and frieze.