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Research Cooperation

Digital Images: Visual Cultures, Algorithms, and Ethical Challenges


In 2022 and 2023 Artificial Intelligence (AI) reached the public: ChatGPT and Midjourney became well-known for AI-generated texts and images. To create images, AI draws from existing digital and digitalized images. Ethical question concerning visual culture appear more pressing than ever. Research investigates image sharing online, permeations of digital real life, multilayered breaches of consent, in copyright, law and on individual level, and the societal responsibility for click workers who try to clean social media from visual gore. We also envision to think about solutions and problem solving, for example artistic counter images, artistic interventions to circumvent censorship online, innovative methods to combine theory and practice such as artistic research and participatory practices in media ethnography.

Nausikaä El-Mecky is tenure track professor in History of Art & Visual Culture at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona. Her publications include the monograph The Creation of Dangerous Images in Iconoclasm, Censorship and Vandalism (forthcoming). Evelyn Runge is Principal Investigator at the Institute of Media Culture and Theatre at the University of Cologne. Her research on digital images is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation). Both are members of the working group Taste of the Algorithm Working Group, founded by El-Mecky in 2023 to uncover and mitigate online censorship of images.

Dr. Evelyn Runge (Cologne),  Prof. Nausikaä El-Mecky (Barcelona)


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