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Title: The Crowdsourced Archive: Mobile Media, Photography, and the Local(ized) Frame
Authors: Nunes, Mark
Keywords: crowdsourcing
social media
regional culture
visual imagery
Issue Date: 18-Oct-2017
Abstract: As mobile devices have proliferated, so too have the number of images that attempt to document a sense of place. These images are contributing to a growing visual database of how individuals see a region or a location. In this presentation, I will discuss how mobile devices are transforming our relationship to the archival image. As a case study, I will explore images of Appalachia circulated through social media. The visual encoding of Appalachia has tended to reinforce and recirculate images of a rugged, yet pristine landscape, and a people who are portrayed in equal mixtures of pride and deprivation, perseverance and lack. A simple Google image search of “Appalachian photography” reveals the limited scope of these visual stereotypes. At the same time, the casual data structures for this growing archive (hashtags and key word searches) highlight what Judith Butler has called the “frames of recognition” that have defined the region—what they include as well as what they exclude. In this context, I will discuss Roger May’s Looking at Appalachia, a “crowdsourced image archive” of over four hundred photographs taken by some one hundred professional and amateur photographers that forces its viewers to question what we see when we look at images of the region. I will argue that social media photography, as a highly situated everyday media art practice, provides an opportunity for a range of digital humanities projects that seek to collect, preserve, query, and re-use visual representations of regional culture, local histories, and a sense of place.
Description: Biography: Mark Nunes is Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and Chair for the Department of Cultural, Gender, and Global Studies at Appalachian State University. He is author of Cyberspaces of Everyday Life (Minnesota, 2006) and an edited volume entitled Error: Glitch, Noise, and Jam in New Media Cultures (Bloomsbury, 2010). His current work explores how social media platforms operate as a context for challenging visual frames of reference for the personal, the political, and the historical. Recent publications include “Selfies, Self-Witnessing and the ‘Out-of-Place’ Digital Citizen,” in Selfie Citizenship, Ed. Adi Kuntsman (Palgrave, 2017), “Engaging Appalachia: Digital Literacies, Mobile Media, and a Sense of Place” in Carolinas Communication Annual 31 (2015), and “Ecstatic Updates: Facebook, Identity, and the Fractal Subject” in New Visualities, New Technologies: The New Ecstasy of Communication, Ed. Hille Koskela and J. Macgregor Wise (Ashgate, 2013). Prior to arriving at Appalachian State University in 2014, he was Chair for the Department of English, Technical Communication, and Media Arts at Southern Polytechnic State University. Among his activities there as both chair and Professor of English and Media Studies, he co-led #HighWithoutWalls, a student-driven project in collaboration with the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia that attempted to distribute curatorial function and engage millennials through the use of familiar social media practices.
Appears in Collections:1. Re:Trace Conference - Keynotes, Papers & Posters

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