A Study on Photobooks as a Medium from the Perspective of Vilém Flusser’s Theory of Technical Images

Conference: The European Conference on Media, Communication & Film (EuroMedia2022)
Title: A Study on Photobooks as a Medium from the Perspective of Vilém Flusser’s Theory of Technical Images
Stream: Communication Theory and Methodology
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
YinHua Chu, National Taipei University of Education, Taiwan


Based on the theory of technical images constructed by philosopher Vilém Flusser in the 1980s, this study adopts a three-pronged strategy (viz., technical image and meta-picture, homo ludens and mechanical automatism, as well as photobook communication and human body) to investigate the essence and physical constitutions of "photography" and "book", so as to develop a possible photographic theory of the 21st century. Throughout 2020, the catastrophic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has left the global cultural scene with no choice but to organise cultural and artistic events in alternative fashions. For instance, the "Tokyo Art Book Fair" was virtualized online with the technological assistance of 3D interaction, real-time communication, and audiovisual data integration, which was nothing short of an experimental attempt at a new style of art book fair. In terms of "photobooks", conventional emphases on them may include printing quality and the editing sequence of images and narratives, whereas those in "Virtual Art Book Fair" not only set great store by new types of reading interface, but also respond to the imbricated, ambiguous concepts like “image,” “picture” and “post-photography” in the contemporary photographic culture. Even though “books” have been one of the major vehicles for photography since its invention, the international art scene has in recent years attached greater significance to photobooks and foregrounded different interpretations of photographic practice in the contemporary context, particularly the influence of new media technologies on “photography” and “book” per se.

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