Photo-graphies: memories of the eternal presence in the age of digital mortality

Letizia Bollini


Visual communication has always been one of the primary forms of human expression and the re-evolution of its languages deeply marked and witnessed the world history. Moreover, since the digital era, we are leaving in between two phenomena: the so-called société du spectacle directly relying on images as social representation and the ‘information society’. More than ever, we are living an abundance of mass picture production thanks to mobile devices, and social network devoted to visual storytelling. Nevertheless, this profusion is dramatically changing the nature of images: from timeless memory-machines to ephemeral experiences to be shared and consumed in a sort of streaming ‘synopticon’. Besides, the perishable materiality of digital images, the low-resolution degradation, the absence of an ‘original’ and the technological obsolescence risk to erase original documentary sources forever. The paper presents and discusses the paradox the end of ‘mythography’ –the visual form history storytelling as we know it– and the cultural creation of the ‘eternal present’ due to the mortality of digital images.


graphism; images as memory-machine; photography; visual social media; visual storytelling

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