Whether it is to inform us, to work, to communicate with our loved ones, to take care of our bodies or our affects, audiovisual media are now omnipresent in every aspect of our lives, shaping and producing our identities to the same extent that we produce them. At a time when images are no longer so much characterized by their technical reproducibility as by their “digital appropriability” (Gunthert, 2011), it is more urgent than ever to “build with them[new] relationships[s]” (Hansen 2014: 37). Critical and reflective relationships, developed through patient reflection, that allow us to navigate these new media environments without being overwhelmed by the feeling of constantly circulating in a “supermarket of the visible” (Szendy, 2017).

 

We propose to conduct this reflection based on the study of artistic objects that shed light on the ideologies, discourses, imaginaries and forms of governmentality that we encounter on a daily basis in the context of our contemporary “mediarchies” (Citton, 2017). Indeed, in response to the massification of text and image production, linked in particular to the participatory web and the rise of online social networks, more and more artists are borrowing, citing and reinventing User-Generated Content (UGC) in their works. The rise of these appropriation and diversion practices seems to confirm the observation of the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben, who wrote in 1995 about Guy Debord’s films: “There’s no need to shoot film anymore, just to repeat and stop” (Agamben, 1995).

 

Recycling or an ecological gesture? The term “recycling” seems to identify UGCs with digital rubbish that the artist’s creativity would elevate to the rank of art by adding symbolic and cultural credit. On the other hand, the more humanistic notion of “ecology” invites us to consider reuse as a change of environment, providing the appropriate object with new functionalities and meanings while it was condemned to oblivion by contemporary digital hyperproduction. Thinking these artistic practices in terms of media ecology allows us to consider their productions as privileged objects for the study of the media, social and political ecosystem of digital social networks. Taken as a whole, these works question us on the future of the CGUs, whose status is still largely undetermined, both documents and creations in their own right. They also invite us to question the editorialization devices of the social networks themselves, whose mechanisms are reproduced, mocked or subverted by artists.

 

It is around these questions, and in an interdisciplinary spirit combining artistic practice and theoretical reflection, that the research project After Social Networks is developing. The purpose and methodology of the project is research-creation in arts. Its main modalities of action are the organization of scientific and artistic events, the establishment of a participatory and freely accessible database of artistic works online, and the publication of texts, videos, interviews and other scientific resources also freely accessible online.

Gala Hernández

Gala Hernández is a filmmaker and PhD Candidate at Paris 8 University under the supervision of Cécile Sorin (ESTCA, EDESTA), in co-direction with Sergi Sánchez from Pompeu Fabra University. Graduated in Filmmaking from the Superior School of Cinema and Audiovisuals of Catalonia in Barcelona, with a Master in Contemporary Cinema and Audiovisual Studies  (Pompeu Fabra) and after graduating from the International Master in Audiovisual and Cinema Studies (IMACS) at Paris 3 University and Paris 10 University, she is currently doing a research-creation PhD about films recycling vernacular videos in the post-Internet era. She is now preparing a film about UFO’s sightings amateur videos. She teaches film studies methodology and amateur film practices at Paris 8 University. She has presented at conferences and workshops at Goldsmiths (University of London), University of British Columbia (Vancouver), Silent Green Kulturquartier (Berlin), University of Chicago in Paris and the University of Copenhagen. She is the editor of the next issue of the media and communication journal Contratexto, published by the University of Lima. She has published video essays in the journals Cinema Comparat/ive Cinema and Transit: cine y otros desvíos.

Allan Deneuville

Allan Deneuville holds a bachelor in philosophy from the University of Panthéon-Sorbonne. He is also graduated from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris and holds a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Vincennes-Saint-Denis. He is currently PhD candidate under the supervision of Yves Citton at the Graduate School of Reasearch ArTeC, in codirection with Bertrand Gervais at University of Québec A Montréal. His doctoral thesis focuses, through the figure of “copy and paste”, on the appropriation and circulation of text in the digital age.

Chloé Galibert-Laîné

I am a French researcher and filmmaker. I am currently preparing a PhD at the research-creation program SACRe at the Ecole normale supérieure de Paris (PSL University). I also teach film studies at Université Paris 8.

My research takes different forms (texts, films, video installations and live performances) and explores the intersections between cinema and online media. I am particularly interested in questions related to modes of spectatorship, gestures of appropriation and mediated memory.

My short film The Burrow (2015) has shown at over fifteen international film festivals and won six awards. More recent works include They Eye was in the Tomb and stared at Daney (2017), My Crush was a Superstar (2017), READING//BINGING//BENNING (2018), Flânerie 2.0 (2019) and Watching the Pain of Others (2019). They have shown at festivals and venues such as the Rotterdam International Film Festival (NL), the Festival Premiers Plans d’Angers (FR), the Ars Electronica Festival (AT), the London Essay Film Festival (UK), IMPAKT Festival (NL), the Belfast Film Festival (IE), the Austrian Film Museum (AT) and the Museum of the Moving Image (US). Since 2018 I was awarded a residency at m-cult (FI) through the European Media Art Platform (EMAP), an ‘Art of Nonfiction’ Grant from the Sundance Institute (US), a Research Grant from the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz (DE) and the Eurimages Lab Project Award at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival (CZ).

The team of the research project After Social Networks would like to thank: