This project is part of the Picturing the Social research.Unremarkable images is a project that focuses on studying visual content mundanely shared on social media. Contrary to images that stand out due to the relations they establish with major socio-political and cultural events or other forces that bestow increased visibility, such mundane images ordinarily do not rise above the threshold of noticeability.
Unremarkable images lurk beneath the surface of observation formed by methods (aggregation and classification of data), platforms’ metrics (most shared, liked or pinned) or habits (most celebrated, effectual or picked by media). There is a sense, on the one hand, that generic imagery forms the majority of visual content, but it is, on the other hand, hard to get hold of. How does one construct a dataset of mundane images? Even to query the API for such images renders them thematic and hence farmable for insights, and undoes their mundaneness. Ordinary images are something we are immersed in and yet they leak from our classifications, existing as inordinately repeatable, but singular instances.
This driver project aims to critically address the conceptual and methodological challenges that unremarkable images on social media present and offer a range of ways to understand how the interrelations of images, meaning, data, algorithms, social media, singularity and multiplicity play out.