Talks and Events
Fri 29 Nov 2019

Decoding the Gaze


A one-day symposium exploring the role of images in shaping how social justice movements are represented and understood in today’s digital landscape.

Through a dynamic, interactive series of talks, presentations and debates from a range of experts, artists and advocators, we will look at the ways in which such movements have been both helped and hindered by the rapid flow of iconic imagery on social media, while deep-diving into the political efficacy of social justice movements (from Extinction Rebellion, Black Lives Matter and Gulf Labor, to protests in Hong Kong, Beirut, and Santiago de Chile).

Images have always been crucial in revealing injustice and the advent of social media has only increased the power a single photographed moment has to define and empower causes, movements and justice campaigns. But the very platforms that increase the currency, speed and reach of images, also carry the means to subvert and manipulate their original purpose. Over the course of the day, we will be examining how corporate interest influences the circulation of viral imagery on the channels it controls; interrogating the relationship between user participation and algorithmic distribution, and asking to what extent these algorithms - predicated as they are on historical systems of oppression and inequality - reinforce prejudices and inhibit a genuine democratisation of image making.

Contributors include Omar Al-Ghazzi (Department of Media and Communications, LSE), Clare Farrell (Extinction Rebellion), Alexander Fefegha (Comuzi), Max Ferguson (photographer and photo editor, Financial Times), Mariam Ghani (artist and activist, Gulf Labor), Shahla Ghobadi (University of Leeds),  Jorge Saavedra Utman (Department of Sociology, Cambridge), Funda Üstek-Spilda (Department of Media and Communications, LSE), and artist and activist Sampson Wong.

This event will be moderated by David Birkin and Max Houghton (VISIBLE JUSTICE), and Luisa Ulyett (The Photographers’ Gallery).

In collaboration with VISIBLE JUSTICE, a transdisciplinary research collective based at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London.

£15/£10 members & concessions.

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