Response to – In Defense of the Poor Image & Dispersion
First, we need to define what is a poor image.
In the article In Defense of the Poor Image written by Hito Steyerl, she thinks that “the poor image is a copy in motion.” Steyerl also stated the two sides of the poor image: on one side, the poor images are substandard-qualified may be disturbing. They maybe steal from the famous work or movie without copyright. Those low-quality photos spread on the internet, and they being re-edit and recreate continuously. They just like the ghost of the internet that land on nowhere.
On the other side, the presence of these photos shows the “visual idea in its very becoming.” The images are shared and re-edited due to the various need of people, and from the recreation, we can see the diverse culture and differences between populations, and they transform from art to the presentation of reality. The relationship between supply and demand and the global circulation of images mentioned by Steyerl also described by Seth Price in his article Dispersion.
Then, we need to discuss how the dispersion benefits the poor image or other forms of the visual idea.
Just like I mentioned above. The need for dispersion of image or video is responding to the demand of the market. The internet and the digital technology that awakes the old stuff are the primary media to let this dynamic dispersion and market flow. The commercial market and the mainstream needs the “standard art” to appreciate and enjoy such thoughtful painting in a gallery and the well-done movie in the theater. Therefore, talented artists create those brilliant work to fulfill the market and themselves.
Moreover, people also want to explore the space outside the mainstream and uncover the old. The poor re-edition photos give new life for the old that gradually fades away from us. The early works were disappeared due to the expensive cost of saving or low acceptance of the public, but the internet waked them up and gave the power for people to re-create them as they wanted freely. Hence, the “poor image” own their unique value in this way. The creative degradation of the image just like the revolt of technologies but in the even poor resolution.
Most importantly, in my opinion, since the work being done by the creator, the work or the meaning of the work is no longer belong to him/her, (not in the copyright level), whatever the original artist wanted or not. The global circulation of the digital image actually catalyst this second-hand production and extends the life of artworks, which also show the charm of art that beyond the time.