Behind The Image was the 7th-semester pre-thesis project that my colleague, printmaker Jayasimha C and I taught in the odd semester of the academic year 2022-23. This was offered to students of the 4-year BDes programme, majoring in Visual Communication and Strategic Branding.
Images are constructed representations that reflect current events yet simultaneously shape ways of imagining the world and political possibilities within it. As formative fictions, images have consequences and play a role in world making. For the large numbers who see them, images are part of how we construct not just our points of view, but our very understanding of the world at large in which we formulate our points of view. They influence us today and have an impact on the way we will assimilate that which we have not yet seen but might see tomorrow.
(Image Brokers by Zeynep Devrim Gursel)
Images are ubiquitous, increasingly becoming volatile, critical components of contemporary visual culture and complex cultural products. In these times with oversaturated imagery, questions such as,
What is behind the image?
How do you read an image?
What is the politics of the image?
What are the lenses one uses to ‘see’ images?
become pertinent to visual professionals. Artificial Intelligence aided deep fakes, and the ability of commonly available image editing tools to create or change photo-realistic imagery can be used positively or to propagate fake news.
There are several categories of imagery.
Archival, Documentary, Cartographic, Medical, Propaganda, Advertising &Promotional, Dream, Narrative, Evidence, Space, and Thermal are some of them.
The project will look at some of these categories in depth under the overarching umbrella – of ‘City ’
The project is focused on understanding the dynamics of ‘Fixed Image’.
The outcomes can be in the form of artist books, print-based paraphernalia, Zines etc. This can be achieved both by conventional and Digital forms of printing – inkjet digital, analogue photographic, or analogue processes such as tintype, salt prints or cyanotypes.
Following are few works from the cohort of 27 students.
Documentation of the project by Tanishi Jain. She produced a handmade artist book.
Shubhi Agarwal’s response to the project – an installation on Turbulence.
Ved Kulkarni’s documentation book. He looked at the transition of the ‘image’ of Vidhana Soudha, the state capitol building of Karnataka.
Manasvini’s Library of Questions.