Accepted paper:

Social Network Site Photography as technical semiotic self-mediation. Going beyond the frame with Gilbert Simondon


Julius Erdmann (University of Potsdam)

Paper short abstract:

The paper will show how Simondon's and Stiegler's notion of individual, collective and technical individuation could be used to study Social Network Photography beyond the limits of semiotic representation. Individuation becomes only visible as trace in visual and textual communication.

Paper long abstract:

The publishing, sharing and reception of photography on Social Network Sites is a process that could not be studied without taking into account the technical levels of those symbolic practices. In computer mediated environments as the Social Web, the analysis of interaction between human subject and technical device creating new techno-symbolic forms becomes crucial.

Gilbert Simondon (19893; 20132) and Bernard Stiegler (2003) are using the notion of technical and psycho-social individuation to illustrate the complex entanglement between the constant formation of human subjects, the creation and shaping of symbolic and technical objects, the formation of a collective and the socio-cultural or physical milieu. Following this framework the paper will extend the usual reflection of SNS photography to questions of technical code, socio-cultural conventions and constraints of images as symbolic technical objects.

It will subsequently demonstrate a visual and textual analysis of photographies from Tunisian SNS-users in order to show that the different of levels of psychological, collective (or cultural) and technical individuation are mostly inscribed as traces in the photographic sign and its contextual communication.

panel P25
Photography, new technologies and the predicament of the frame: theoretical and methodological reflections