Send me an Image

From Postcards to Social Media
From March 27 until September 2
Anonym, A Parody of the Iconic 1989 Tiananmen Square Photo of a Chinese Protester Confronting Government Tanks, 2013, Tank-Man-Meme
Erik Kessels, 24HRS in Photos, 2013/2021 © Erik Kessels

An immense wave of images crashes against the exhibition wall in C/O Berlin. In his installation 24HRS in Photos, Dutch artist Erik Kessels forces viewers to wade through a sea of 350,000 standard photo prints wildly thrown onto each other. They depict the mass of images uploaded onto the image sharing site Flickr in one day fifteen years ago. Yet despite their sheer mass, the number now appears comically small. Now, the digital mountain of images on Instagram and Facebook grows by many millions of snapshots each day, images that have long ceased to be developed and printed in photo labs and instead circulate from one screen to the next via colorful ethernet cables and wireless connections.

Photography has always been a social medium that has been shared with others. But why do people communicate with each other using images? And how do the “virtual distillates” of photographs change society? The thematic exhibition Send me an Image . From Postcards to Social Media outlines the development of photography from a means of communication in the nineteenth century to its current digital representation online. The focus is on the dialogue between historical forms of traveling images from photography over the past 150 years and contemporary artists from the 1970s onwards who work with both traditional and modern photographic techniques, uses, and means of communication.

Theresa Martinat, Collage I, Jennifer, 2011–2013 © Theresa Martinat . Courtesy Investitionsbank Berlin
Marc Lee, Corona TV Bot, 2020/2021 . Courtesy Marc Lee 06 Anonym, A Parody of the Iconic 1989 Tiananmen Square Photo of a Chinese Protester Confronting Government Tanks, 2013, Tank-Man- Meme 07 Globus Verlag, Brandenburger Thor, Postkarte, Berlin, 1898–18

The exhibition considers the transformation of photography from an illustrative medium to one of society’s most significant means of communicating today. At the same time, the works shown illuminate phenomena such as censorship, surveillance, and the algorithmic regulation that affect many activities in a data-driven era. Today, images shared via social media not only spread rapidly but can also take on an independent newsworthiness and as “pure” messages can even spark different kinds of protests. The social dimensions of image communication is a second area of focus in Send me an Image . From Postcards to Social Media at C/O Berlin, curated by Felix Hoffmann and Dr. Kathrin Schönegg. A publication by Steidl Verlag appears on the occasion of the exhibition.

Participating artists: ABC Artists' Books Cooperative, Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin with Der Greif, David Campany & Anastasia Samoylova, Fredi Casco, Moyra Davey, Themistokles von Eckenbrecher, Martin Fengel & Jörg Koopmann, Stuart Franklin, Gilbert & George, Dieter Hacker, Tomas van Houtryve, Philippe Kahn, On Kawara, Erik Kessels, Marc Lee, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Mike Mandel, Theresa Martinat, Eva & Franco Mattes, Jonas Meyer & Christin Müller, Peter Miller, Romain Roucoules, Thomas Ruff, Taryn Simon & Aaron Swartz, Andreas Slominski, Clare Strand, Corinne Vionnet.

On Kawara, Postcard to Albin Uldry, August 24, 1976, From I Got Up, 1968–79, © One Million Years Foundation . Photo: Axel Schneider
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Publication: Send me an Image . From Postcards to Social Media

A publication is accompanying the exhibition, published by Steidl Verlag and edited by Felix Hoffmann and Dr. Kathrin Schönegg on behalf of the C/O Berlin Foundation.

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Poster: Send me an Image . From Postcards to Social Media
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