An image from Metadata: Rethinking Photography from the 21st Century

An image from Metadata: Rethinking Photography from the 21st Century

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art has been approved for a $30,000 Grants for Arts Projects award to support Metadata: Rethinking Photography from the 21st Century. This project is an exhibition that explores new paradigms for understanding the ecology of the photographic image. The Ringling’s project is among the more than 1,100 projects across America—totaling nearly $27 million—that were selected during this second round of Grants for Arts Projects 2021 funding.

The term “metadata” is used to describe the information that travels with a digital image file but is unseen within the image itself. This data includes the details about the digital photograph’s creation, its ownership, and how it is situated within structures of order. In our networked digital environment, metadata is accessed by both human users and artificial intelligence. Software algorithms orchestrate what images we see and exchange, while collecting the valuable data generated by our interactions.

The exhibition features work from the past decade by an international selection of artists and visual activists. It includes not just the tags or descriptors attached to image files, but the power relationships, biases, and economic interests that are not always visible in the image itself. The exhibition emphasizes an expanded concept of photographic practice that intersects with research-based projects, installation, and social engagement. Curated by Christopher Jones, Stanton B. and Nancy W. Kaplan, curator of photography and media art, it will run March 6 through Aug. 28, 2022.

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