Photography in Virtual Culture

09:00am, Mon 13 May 2024 - 06:00pm, Tue 14 May 2024

Join us for a two day conference to develop a communal discussion, and inform critiques and thinking on the making of ‘virtual photography’.

Colour computer-generated image of a pixelated person on an orange background

Photography in Virtual Culture


Join us for a two day conference to develop a communal discussion, and inform critiques and thinking on the making of ‘virtual photography’.

In person tickets are now fully booked. We have opened up a waiting list for in person tickets. We'll be in touch if a space becomes free. Online tickets are still available to purchase.

The last decade has seen a clear shift in the operational frameworks for the production, dissemination and consumption of photographs in contemporary computerised societies. The representational apparatus of photography is being progressively converted into algorithmic and generative processes through computer automation, connectivity and algorithmic control.

Recent developments of AI systems and expanded technologies exponentially transform the possibilities for image making and the ways in which photographic images might be created and used within and beyond virtual space. While this might be exciting times for creators, thinkers and developers, it is also a pivotal moment in the history of photography, with debates taking place about its materiality, social function and essence. Through this conference, we aim to develop a communal discussion, inform critiques and thinking on the making of ‘virtual photography’.

Practical Information


This conference is convened by David Bate, Professor of Photography, University of Westminster, UK, Dr Paula Gortázar, Senior Lecturer in Photography, University of Westminster, UK and The Photographers' Gallery digital programme.


The conference takes place over two days across two venues: University of Westminsters' Little Titchfield Street Campus and The Photographers' Gallery. They are a short distance apart.

Ticket types

The event can be attended in person or watched online via live stream, with tickets available to purchase for both. In person tickets include lunch on both days at University of Westminster.

The ticket price is for both days.

Book here for tickets to attend in person, and book here for tickets to watch online.

By booking for this event, you agree to our Terms & Conditions.

Day One - Morning at University of Westminster, Little Titchfield Street Campus

9.00 Registration


9.30 Introduction

Dr. Paula Gortázar and Prof. David Bate, University of Westminster

10.00 Virtuality and the Still Image

Peter Ainsworth and Sam Plagerson, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK
The Fractional Space of 3D Computational Images and Ruptures in Visuality

Liat Lavi, Bezalel Academy for Arts and Design, Israel
Ethical Imaginariums and Grassroots Metaphysics   

Ziggy Kolker, University of Portsmouth, UK
Chasing the Trace      

Panel Discussion and Q&A

11.40 Liquid Identities

Gemma Marmalade, University of Derby, UK
V is for Virtual: ‘Thirst Trap’ Lesbians and Masculine Performativity of TikTok Visual Content

Chu Yinhua, National Taipei University of Education, Taiwan
Beyond the Mirror: Selfie Expression in the Age of Virtual Imaging

Stephanie Hartle, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
‘To Weave the Mirror's Magic Sights’: Mimesis and Posthumanism in the Virtual Selfie

Panel Discussion and Q&A

Day One - Afternoon at The Photographers' Gallery

14.00 New Practices in Visual and Computational Art

Roc Herms, Visual Artist, Spain
This is Real, Man!       

Juanrie Strydom, Solent University, UK
Disability as a Visual Language: Technology and Accessibility         

George Legrady, University of California, USA
Creative Continuity in MidJourney and Stable Diffusion

Simone Santilli, Visual Artist, Independent Researcher and Educator, Italy
Galactic Mine. Photography and Extractivism in the Procedural Universe of No Man's Sky

Panel Discussion and Q&A

16.10 Performing Networked Archives

Anshul Roy, Syracuse University, USA
Rage Against the Archive: Institutional Critique through New Media Art     

Livia Foldes, Rhode Island School of Design, USA
NSFW Venus: On Classifying Bodies, from Colonial Archives to Machine Learning Datasets

Ochi Reyes, University of Westminster, UK
She Dreamt... 

Panel Discussion and Q&A

17.30 Plenary Session

Plenary session followed by social drinks

Day Two - Morning at University of Westminster, Little Titchfield Street Campus

9.00 Registration


9.30 Generative Politics and Activism

Lee Wing Ki, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong
Disobedient Imageries: Netizens and their Critical-political Practices in Hong Kong

Nina Mangalanayagam, HDK-Valand, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Generating the Past

Megan Williams, Journalist, Creative Review, UK
Visualising Unrest in the Age of Generative AI

Basil Al-Rawi, Visual Artist, Independent Researcher and Educator, Ireland
Building a House of Memory: Expanding Iraqi Archive Photos with Oral History and VR

Panel Discussion and Q&A

11.40 The Machine as Co-Curator

Nicolas Malevé, Aarhus University, Denmark
The Exhibitionary Complex of Image Generation      

Nathalie Dietschy, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
Towards Techno-Worlds: Photography in the Hands of AI Systems 

Catherine Troiano, V&A Museum, London
Distilling the Dataset: Ethics and Artistic Practice in Generative Image Cultures     

Panel Discussion and Q&A

Day Two - Afternoon at The Photographers' Gallery

14.00 Rebel Environmental Practices

Catherine M. Weir, Glasgow School of Art, UK
Frankenstein’s Camera: Reflections on Practice Between Photography and AI        

Benjamin Mehigan, Royal College of Art, UK
Light Without Heat: The Virtual Reproduction of Wildfire    

Adam Brown, London South Bank University, UK
Images in Advance of the State: Photorealistic Architectures after the Blockchain.

Panel Discussion and Q&A

15.40 Expanded Vision and Hyperspace

Alison Bennett, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
The Desire of a Third Dimension in Photography       

Jack Lander, Visual Artist, UK
Indexical Encroachment in Semi-Synthetic Landscapes         

Giles Price, Visual Artist, UK
Remote Documentary: What is it to Document Virtually?                

Panel Discussion and Q&A

17.00 Closing Remarks

Closing Remarks