With his installation 24HRS in Photos, Dutch artist Erik Kessels forces visitors to wade through a sea of 350,000 standard photo prints thrown wildly on top of each other. It depicts the mass of images that were uploaded daily to the image-sharing site Flickr 15 years ago and that seem laughably small to us today despite their enormous number.
In the meantime, the digital mountain of images on Instagram and Facebook grows by many millions of snapshots every day, which are no longer developed and printed out in a photo lab, but circulate from one screen to another through colorful Ethernet cables or Wifi connections.
Photography has always been a social medium that was shared and distributed. But why do people communicate with each other through images? And what does dealing with virtual distillates, which are also photographs, do to a society?
The thematic exhibition Send me an Image . From Postcards to Social Media traces the development of photography as a means of communication from the 19th century to its current digital representatives on the World Wide Web. The focus is on a dialogue between historical forms of traveling images from the history of photography over the last 150 years and contemporary artistic positions from the 1970s onwards, which deal with traditional and modern techniques, modes of use and communication channels of photography.
The exhibition addresses the transformation of photography from a medium of depiction to one of the most important means of social communication of our time. At the same time, the works on display illuminate phenomena such as censorship, surveillance, and algorithmic regulation on which many activities in the data age are based.
Today, images shared on social media not only spread at breakneck speed, but also develop their own news value and, as 'pure' messages, even spark protests of all stripes. This social dimension of image communication forms the second thematic focus of the exhibition.