Expert-Readable Images – international conference

29 November 2019, FAMU in Prague

While machine-readable images have by now become a constant reference point for photographic theory and contemporary visual media studies, our event turns to the question: what are the specialised expert-readable image practices that cater to the technical specificities, institutional demands, and particular knowledge-roles of visual culture. Recent discussions of operational images as well as media and visual cultures more generally often invoke the distinction between human and machine vision. Automated visual systems are claimed to produce images by and for machines, pictures that are unreadable or even invisible to human eyes. Our conference seeks to complicate this dichotomy by addressing the field of professional perceptual skills, trained judgment, and expert practices of observation and instruction. Can we (borrowing the phrase from Ludwik Fleck) think of specific thought styles and thought collectives that develop simultaneously with the technologies of instrumental imaging and visualising? What does a doctor see in a CT scan? What does a drone operator see on a monitor? What does a statistician see in a graph? What does a forensic analyst see in a digital model? What does a content moderator see in our holiday memories? What are the particular cultural techniques of practice, of training, and operation that govern these relations to images?

Jussi Parikka (Winchester School of Art & FAMU in Prague): Machine Readable, Expert Readable
Tomáš Dvořák (FAMU in Prague): Pictures and Plans

Susan Schuppli (Goldsmith University of London): Frozen Ground Truths
Birgit Schneider (University of Potsdam): Machine-Reading the Forest from Above
Michaela Fišerová (Metropolitan University Prague): Visual Knowledge in Medicine: Schema and Dispositive

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