This Design Dialogue brought together a group of practitioners whose practices engage creatively or critically with Instagram. With Steyn Bergs, Floriane Misslin and Michel Poldervaart.
Social media platforms, especially Instagram, have fundamentally changed the way designers and artists disseminate their works to an audience and altered the terms on which viewers encounter objects and images through a digital screen. Yet the aesthetic protocols of these platforms — on the conspicuous level of user-empowering editing tools and filters, on the hidden level of algorithmic visual processing, and on the economic level of data collection and commodification — are in turn shaping the cultures of artistic creation in the material world that they merely claim to represent. How do creative agency, materiality, framing, and the politics and economics of the consumption of art and design translate to networked digital platforms, and do they offer the possibility for embedded critique?
Designer Floriane Misslin will begin the evening with a live demonstration of Instagram and elaborate on the semiotics and methods of representation of Instagram’s communities. In his presentation, art critic Steyn Bergs will critically assess Instagram as a site and tool for the (re)production and distribution of artistic and cultural practices. Focusing on the forms of temporality and (non)visuality inherent to the platform as well as on its (intellectual) property regime, he will argue that the medium of Instagram concerns the commodification of human attention more than the image itself. Yet interdisciplinary practitioners like Michel Poldervaart embody the complex and irreversible interlacing of creative output and self-representation within a single profile, revealing new pressures on (and new possibilities for) the role of the designer or artist as a contemporary cultural agent. Moderator is Tamar Shafrir (Het Nieuwe Instituut).
Steyn Bergs is an art critic and a researcher. Currently, he is conducting his PhD research on commodification, value and reproduction in digital artworks at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He is co-editor-in-chief of Kunstlicht, Journal for Visual Art, Visual Culture, and Architecture.
Following an education in fashion design, Floriane Misslin attended the Design Academy Eindhoven to develop her own practice. She explores identity matters through the social theory lens by binding empirical research and visual strategies. Starting a master of Visual Sociology in Goldsmiths University of London in Fall 2017, she expands her studies on the body's portrayal in media and distillation of the language of images.
Michel Poldervaart is a Rotterdam-based creative in the field of fashion and installation art. He is the creative director at retail space ANSH46 and does consulting on a project basis for designers and artists.
A diverse series of dialogues with makers, designers, journalists and critics on design. The discussions take a close look at the designer’s process from raw material to final object, exploring issues of aesthetic and technological change, ethical positions, sustainable cycles, and innovation in how objects perform and interact. In a culture saturated with design and mediated by digital technologies, these dialogues explore how the traditional sense of meaning, value, and materiality are being reinvented.