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Armin Linke, Kunsthistorisches Instituti n Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, Photothek, Florence, Italy, 2018. Courtesy: the artist and Vistamare Milano/ Pescara


Fondazione Mast: Image Capital –  Photography as information technology

Location: Bologna, Italy

Dates: 22 September 2022  – 08 January 2023

Curator: Francesco Zanot

The IMAGE CAPITAL exhibition, curated by Francesco Zanot, exhibited at the MAST exhibition spaces, is the collaborative result of the great photographer Armin Linke and photography historian Estelle Blaschke, researcher at the University of Basel.

Fondazione MAST presents the IMAGE CAPITAL exhibition, curated by Francesco Zanot, a visual and research project that tells a different story of photography, focusing on its countless practical uses, its high scientific value, and its function as information technology.

Photographer Armin Linke and photography historian Estelle Blaschke, researcher at the University of Basel, explore through images, texts and other materials the different ways in which photography is used within different types of production processes, in particular in scientific, cultural and industrial fields: thanks to photography, in fact, the communication and access systems to information have improved exponentially allowing the development of global industries and vast governmental apparatuses. Images become a true form of capital.

The exhibition, the result of more than four years of work, includes a wide selection of interviews, videos, archival images, publications, and other original objects. Despite their diversity, all these materials are arranged in the MAST exhibition spaces on the same level, without hierarchies or priorities, with the aim of offering viewers a narrative-experience that is as immersive as it is layered.

The path is divided into six sections that unfold in the exhibition spaces of the MAST.Photogallery and the Foyer.


MEMORY: on the ability of photographs to collect and store information.
Starting from the idea of mechanical reproducibility, the intrinsic nature of photography as a recording tool is investigated here, the potential of which is expressed at ever higher levels with the advent of digital technology.

ACCESS: on how to archive and index images.
The association between photography and text is the basis of the success of this medium as an information technology. Metadata are not only useful for organizing images in ordered systems, but also for being able to find and use them.

PROTECTION: on strategies for the long-term preservation of images and the information they contain.
If images can be considered as deposits of potentially perishable information, they in turn must be protected so as not to be dispersed. Here we investigate the strategies for the protection of images, from archives, which can reach monumental dimensions, to back-up systems.


MINING: on image analysis and their use in automatic recognition technologies.
If it is true that photographs contain a large amount of information, in the same way systems are needed to be able to extract them. This section is dedicated to these processes and the consequent possibility of using large quantities of similar images for the development of automatic recognition technologies, whose applications are fundamental today, particularly in the fields of industry and security.

IMAGING: on photography as a visualization system for the existing or one of its projects.
Photography is observed here as a visualization system, starting from its ability to go beyond the limits of the human eye to its use for the development of rendering and digital modeling techniques. After having long been considered a proof of reality, photography constitutes in this sense the starting point from which reality is designed and built.

CURRENCY: on the value of the images.
From the association between photography and currency to computer capitalism, here we observe the processes of attributing value to images, today particularly linked to the ability to accumulate large quantities and, above all, to associate broad sets of information to each.

IMAGE CAPITAL is the result of an international collaboration between Fondazione MAST in Bologna, Folkwang Museum in Essen, Centre Pompidou in Paris and Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation in Frankfurt/Eschborn.

Fondazione MAST

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