Lecture by Dr. Jay Bolter at Stedelijk Museum

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On January 18, Dr. Jay Bolter gave a public lecture that accompanied the exhibit On The Move at the Stedelijk museum in Amsterdam where he discussed the relationships between different media in contemporary art. The exhibit’s focus was on photography and the photo book. Dr. Bolter described the exhibit as “a snapshot of the place of photography and the photo book in our media culture,” capturing “a moment of rapid change.”


In his talk, Bolter chose to look closely at three pieces from the exhibit. A series of photographs entitled Between Screens by Olivier van Breugel and Simone Mudde shows the familiar images of hands holding cameras while viewing artwork in a museum. Bolter addressed the relationship between painting and photography in the context of aura—“a quality that derives from being unique (in time and space)”—and the viewer’s desire to create aura. In regard to Thomas Kuijpers’s #IDIDNTJOIN, Bolter considered ideas about the trustworthiness of photography as witness and the processes by which we ascribe authority to images, especially on the internet. Considering the relationship between word and image, Bolter discussed Marc Roig Blesa’s and Rogier Delfos’s Werker 7 The Language of Revolution, a series of framed quotations that “appear to be descriptions of photographs that we do not see: captions without images.”

I asked Dr. Bolter about the discussion following his lecture, to which he replied: “For me the most interesting points in the discussion involved the motivations of the individual artists. All of them were concerned with using their photography to engage questions about how people choose to live in their highly mediated worlds and how photography can continue to play a vital role in understanding these human choices.”

(photo courtesy of the artist)