Paul Frosh:
Screenshots: Cultural Memory and Photography’s Expanded Field

The screenshot is the workhorse of contemporary digital culture. Utterly ubiquitous as a method of quoting from digital media, usually within digital media, the screenshot continually escapes our attention as the focus and product of cultural practices. In this talk I will argue that the screenshot is not only among the most commonplace and overlooked of digital objects, but that it confounds prevalent theories digital images as computational performances in perpetual flux. Investigating the screenshot as a vehicle of communicative fixity, I will analyze it as a product of the cultural memory of photography, delineating the epistemological assumptions that accompany its expansion as a digital document into new interactive arenas. I will then examine the screenshot as a digital spectacle, and foreground how it implicates its displayed reference worlds (such as social media interfaces and game scenarios) as spectacular and enduring. Just as the photograph implies the plenitude and mutability of physical existence beyond the image of the scene it depicts, so the screenshot implies the plenitude and mutability of a digital lifeworld beyond the image of the screen it preserves. 

Paul Frosh is a Professor in the Department of Communication and Journalism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His published research spans visual culture, photography theory, the aesthetics of television and digital media, cultural production and consumer culture, cultural memory, and media witnessing. His most recent book isThe Poetics of Digital Media. Paul’s current research project, funded by the Israel Science Foundation, explores how the cultural memory of photography has enabled the medium to survive and expand despite the almost complete transformation of its core technologies, and what this persistence means for the societies in which it occurs.

24 November 2022

This event will take place in a hybrid format.

Palazzo Grifoni Budini Gattai
Via dei Servi 51
50122 Firenze, Italia

To participate in person please email
julia.biel@khi.fi.it to reserve a seat.

To participate online please register in advance via Zoom:
https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwoce2rrTMrHNJdpfmXNdKzzPxu8EDEE6YcAfter registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


This event will be documented photographically and/or recorded on video. Please let us know if you do not agree with the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz using images in which you might be recognizable for event documentation and public relation purposes (e.g. social media).


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