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Visual prediction and depiction - working life in digital age imagined in AGFA product images of the 1990s

Pictures are a central part of daily communication on all levels. The processes of imagination involved while creating pictures – the reading processes involved while looking at pictures – are highly shaped by (and are an expression of) a consensus present in (the surrounding) society at a certain point of time.

Since the 1970s, AGFA funded extensive research on digital processes centering on imaging and image processing for the purpose of product development, both in the professional and private market. In this framework, various in-house and external teams created advertisement images in a photo studio or on-location to visualize mature products on the basis of the company’s internal guidelines. The company’s goal in terms of marketing was to visualize a global idea of ‘labour in the digital age’ realized with analogue material and seen from a perspective of the 1980s and 1990s.

Katrin Kamrau will conduct interviews with (formal) AGFA employees and/or external partners involved, to examine archival image footage originating from the Lieven-Gevaertarchief, AGFA-Gevaert N.V.’s historical archive in Mortsel. This research will serve as a basis to formulate an artistic research proposal dedicated to both the potential fields and boundaries of up-front imagination and visualization as well as to thinking and working processes leading to visual prediction and depiction within the process of image-making.

Image (c) Rronny Smedts

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