Walking and photography: SALA Festival, August 2020
Eye on the Mallee
Encounters Gallery is an online gallery that promotes, exhibits and supports new photography online within a network culture with its massive flood of photographic images, the increasing computation of photography, and traditional galleries becoming ever more like lifestyle brands in the fight for the public’s attention.
The latter institutions are advised to ‘dig into their data’ in order to become more market-driven and responsive to customer needs. With Flickr's algorithm evaluating likes, comments and other metadata to ensure the most thrilling images are prioritised in its web interface we are in a world of automating ‘aesthetic judgement and value'. With EyeEm's algorithmic curation aesthetics becomes discursively conflated with style or taste rather than value or quality.
Encounters Gallery is part of the increasing shift to the digital image and to an online experience of viewing photos. The lockdown, which was a governmental response to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, has seen an increasing digitalisation in response to the closing down of the spaces of physical art galleries. Our movements and interactions will be limited with social distancing and limited social gatherings for some time.
What can be done with photography under such restrictions? Moving online is the first step. It is a step from isolation to communication.