Virtual Research Fellows 2023

Residency, March 2023 to April 2023

Embodied Visions: Photography Beyond the Technical Image

The 2023 edition of the Virtual Fellowship Program invited new directions, readings, and interactions with the photographic works held in our Collection with a view to charting how broader understandings of ‘vision’ may exceed what Vilém Flusser names the ‘technical image.’ The program sought to position vision and its diverse practices, media, and archives as an open terrain for investigation that can exceed human proprioception and move towards expanded modes of embodiment (algorithmic, land-based, and more). Vision and image-making are intertwined ways of perceiving, experiencing, and capturing the world.

The selected 2023 Virtual Fellows undertook research that puts the CCA Collection into conversation with material held elsewhere in order to explore how the contemporary built environment engenders practices of documentation that emerge from human and non-human agents. These ways of looking, sensing, feeling, and experiencing the conditions of architecture may become a form of mediation that in the next decade will become as consequential as physical architectures in the world (e.g. the current trend towards ‘digital twins’ in urban planning). Fellows worked through the CCA Collection to situate how architecture has historically been documented, visualized, and witnessed by an array of human and non-human actors (whether sentient and/or elemental that can collectively redefine the fundamental premises of architecture and its forms of representation). Fellows could also identify materials in the existing Collection documenting more diverse worlding practices, for instance informal/Indigenous architectures that were marginalized, deemed ‘irrational’ or devoid of agency, exoticized and/or transformed by colonial ‘development.’

Through these lines of inquiry, Virtual Fellows could address a range of topics that probe embodied visions and agents, particularly when it comes to documenting the accelerating changes of the built environment under the conditions of global warming and broader climate change phenomena. These topics could include:

• Redefinitions of architectural agency and representational practices, including the non-human and the non-technical image
• Understandings of ’vision’ as embodied, land-based, collective and non-representational
• Notions of architectural photography that are premised on active use, age, decay, and sociality
• Explorations of diverse (analog) lineages in relation to digital rendering and machine vision
• Detangling and revisiting of imperialist encounters recorded in photographs as a method of repair

Emily Cheng
Independent architect/artist

“See Here: Interrogating the Photographs of Felice Beato”


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