Friday, December 5, 2014

Hito Steyerl

In Defense of the Poor Image

Hito Steyerl presents an argument that poor images, the ones that have been saved and shared via the internet or various digital outlets, should be appreciated as much as modern, high-quality graphics. Steyerl insists that there is a hierarchy assigned to these poor images that is far too similar to a class system and how only the vivid or rich pieces get assigned any credit and value; although, even the high-resolution images will become irrelevant and degraded as technology improves—a nearly inevitable fate.

Steyerl’s argument resonates quite well with the Maria Lind reading, which presents the idea that “minor” artists have more original ideas than those closely tied to the traditional art world. In both situations, value is simply assigned to this imagined standard and those in the lesser category are ignored or not qualified as artwork. Steyerl’s overall argument was really eye-opening, since images are shared through social media at such an astonishing rate and popular/poor formats for many of these graphics, such as GIFs, don’t necessarily have to be the most high-quality.

There continues to be a natural and historical pull towards the poor image, which creates a “visual bond” amongst people, calling into question the importance, if any, of the distinction between high and low quality graphics.

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