My new research article titled “The Social Media Image” was published in the Journal Big Data and Society.
Here is the abstract of the paper:
How do the organization and presentation of large-scale social media images recondition the process by which visual knowledge, value, and meaning are made in contemporary conditions? Analyzing fundamental elements in the changing syntax of existing visual software ontology—the ways current social media platforms and aggregators organize and categorize social media images—this article relates how visual materials created within social media platforms manifest distinct modes of knowledge production and acquisition. First, I analyze the structure of social media images within data streams as opposed to previous information organization in a structured database. While the database has no pre-defined notions of time and thus challenges traditional linear forms, the data stream re-emphasizes the linearity of a particular data sequence and activates a set of new relations to contemporary temporalities. Next, I show how these visual arrangements and temporal principles are manifested and discussed in three artworks: “Untitled” (Perfect Lovers) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1991), The Clock by Christian Marclay (2011), and Last Clock by Jussi Ängeslevä and Ross Cooper (2002). By emphasizing the technical and poetic ways in which social media situate the present as a “thick” historical unit that embodies multiple and synchronous temporalities, this article illuminates some of the conditions, challenges, and tensions between former visual structures and current ones, and unfolds the cultural significations of contemporary big visual data.