Accept Terms and Conditions, 2018Kuckei + Kuckei, Berlin
Accept Terms and Conditions
The exhibition Accept Terms and Conditions explores the changing functions of photography that have evolved through the smartphone. The two series: Digital Dust and Our Writing Tools Take Part in the Forming of Our Thoughts investigate how this photographic tool and its apps change the ways photographs are produced, stored and shared but also how image contents are automatically analyzed and called to mind. Lulay is particularly interested in the smartphone as a „frame“. She examines how layouts, icons and algorithms provide specific possibilities to interact or remember and thus how apps and the way they are programmed shapes our perception, memory and behaviour. Photographs that are shot with a smartphone, sent via WhatsApp, or uploaded to social media platforms are not only means of communicating with “friends”—they also reveal locations, interests, and behavioural patterns to the companies that make these apps available. With every step we take with our mobile phone in the pocket, with every liked, shared or even deleted picture, our data-based, digital self-portrait becomes more accurate and distilled.
Larissa Fischer, Kuckei + Kuckei
Digital Dust, OKT2017
detail: Digital Dust, OKT2017
Digital Dust, AUG2017, OKT2017, DEZ2017
detail B: collage from icons (toast bread, paint, coat..)
Our Writing Tools Take Part in The Forming of Our Thoughts B
detail C: collage from icons (lightbulb, clock, speech bulb, microphone..)
Our Writing Tools Take Part in The Forming of Our Thoughts C
Our Writing Tools Take Part in The Forming of Our Thoughts
Our Writing Tools Take Part in The Forming of Our Thoughts F, back and front side
Our Writing Tools Take Part in The Forming of Our Thoughts A
detail A: collage from icons (telephone call, glasses, ID, brush, dollar note...)
about the works:
The work Digital Dust can be understood as a data-based, digital self-portrait. At first glance, the several metre-long stripes of fabric are reminiscent of analogue film rolls or contact prints, only at second glance they reveal themselves to be timelines. More precisely, they are screenshots from the free cloud service Google Photo, where Lulay’s smartphone automatically stores all images it produces or receives. Lulay’s bubble-shaped private image contents dance across the geometric architecture of this online archive. Their organic shapes are inspired by Google’s sophisticated algorithms, which can recognize outlines of objects or colour combinations and thereby manage to arrange images not only by date and location but also in terms of content. Every stripe gives an overview of all the “digital dust” Lulay has produced within one month - images that presumably would not exist without the technical possibilities of immediate sharing, unlimited recording and free storage. With Digital Dust, Lulay is alluding to the short life and exploding amount of images we produce via our smartphones, but also to the problematic nature of the fact that we make ourselves transparent to players like Google. Neoliberal companies who pretend to keep our anonymity but who in fact know much more about us then any institution in all previous history. Only slowly do we begin to wonder what will happen to all these bits of private information left online and what power is associated with Google’s knowledge about us.
Visibility and transparency also play a role in the laser cuts from the series Our Writing Tools Take Part in the Forming of Our Thoughts. The work examines how the smartphone has changed the way friends communicate and what role photography plays in this. As with Digital Dust, this series also confronts the viewer with an overabundance of information. Only on closer inspection it is possible to recognize in the delicate networks of ornamentation photographs of an apartment superimposed with numerous icons. In an image of a home office, for instance, the computer screen is superimposed with the icon of a globe, a cursor, and file folders. Thus, Lulay creates a classic image description that no longer works with words but uses a system of signs that is currently taking root in the digital space of smartphones and online media worldwide. The permeable surface of the laser cuts points to the fact that we, as smartphone users, are trackable, i.e. “transparent.” Like the laser cuts themselves, our online interactions also cast shadows. Our casually left footprints are condensed into data portraits that tell more about us than any detailed photo does. At the same time, the work also reflects on the question of how our digital interactions are framed; photos on the smartphone, Instagram, or Facebook always appear in combination with icons that suggest taking a particular action. Similar to how architectural space shapes our analog encounters, the configuration of the digital spaces where we meet our friends also informs how we move around within them.
Lulay’s works stirs up ideas in a wide range of directions, addressing issues of (in) visibility and privacy, transparency and censorship, memory and modes of perception. With her prints on fabric and her laser-cut photographic networks, Lilly questions the visual surfaces to which photographs, screens, and social media confront us daily. The works are an invitation to question our own use of the smartphone and to draw attention to how this ubiquitous new writing tool informs our behavior.
Larissa Fischer, Accept Terms and Conditions, Kuckei+Kuckei