Tuesday, January 26, 2010


In the analogue world artists had to schlep their slides around dealers if they wanted to pitch for a show or a place in the line-up. Was there ever anything more dispiriting than a dealer holding up a sheet of slides in one hand and turning to talk to someone more interesting at the same time? Slides sold art history and played their clickety-clack music on the carousel projector. But no longer: enter the JPEG. Blessed with an acronym that sounds like an institutional curatorial selection team (Joint Photographic Experts Group), the JPEG saves artists from full-frontal humiliation. Sure the dealer or the curator might be reading amusing extracts from Jacques Derrida at the same time as mousing through the images, but who’s to know? The dark side of JPEGs is their assault on copyright and loss of control. While this skirmish is still in its infancy, over-exposure or inappropriate use via JPEGs is still a luxury problem.
Illustration: Pippin Barr (step back to view)