September 13, 2019 – January 6, 2020
FORUM 050: Der Greif – public/private

Der Greif is a multi-award-winning organization promoting contemporary photography. Since its inception in 2008, the collective has addressed topical issues affecting the production, distribution and reception of photography, and provides a platform for up-and-coming photographers and authors who are active on the world stage. Its projects connect physical and virtual spaces and research the presentation of photography in print, on screen and in exhibitions. Since 2018, Der Greif has invited guests to curate its annual print editions, essentially de- and re-contextualizing photographic images through the prism of their own artistic working methods.

The magazine’s 12th edition, “Blame the Algorithm”, was guest-curated by Broomberg & Chanarin, a British and South African artistic duo. Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin sent out a call for photographic images that might be too private, too quiet, too violent, too political, too subversive or too explicit to share online – images that would never be shown on Facebook, Instagram or other social media. The collective received an avalanche of photographic works from different authors, some explicitly offensive and sexualized, others simply peacefully banal images of everyday life. The artists ceded their role as editors to an anonymous former content moderator with several years’ experience in vetting images for Facebook. Human arbitrators such as these, employed by online platforms in tandem with algorithms to approve or censor uploaded images, are constantly exposed to traumatic media content, and are faced with every imaginable form of physical and psychological violence.

Der Greif #12 Back cover, photograph by Milan Gies, Rover © Der Greif
Der Greif #12 Front cover, photograph by Martha Friedel, Éclat © Der Greif
Team Der Greif © Der Greif
Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, Portrait by Thierry Bal © Thierry Bal

In the print edition of “Blame the Algorithm”, individual images that have been rated as either ”GOOD” or ”BAD” are juxtaposed with each other. Der Greif’s FORUM exhibition features an interactive installation with a specially curated selection of these photographs that addresses these categorizations. Visitors are invited to approach, touch and engage with the images, thus breaking both with conventional ways of viewing photographs and with traditional photographic display formats. The exhibition also explores our reception of pictures and imagery via modern smartphone screens. What do we rate as “good” or “bad”? What is shared online and what isn’t? What makes it into the public domain and what doesn’t? The exhibition interrogates our personal complicity in the commodified images found on social and in the sensationalist media, and our thorny relationship with the “public” and the “private”.

Artists Adam Broomberg (born 1970 in Johannesburg) and Oliver Chanarin (born 1971 in London) live and work in Berlin and London. The duo’s conceptual works adopt a media criticism perspective to explore photographic images and their publication and dissemination, provocatively confronting a facile, passive consumption of images.

In 2016, they were both appointed Professor of Photography at the Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg. They also teach on the “Photography & Society” M.A. program that they co-founded at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. Their works have featured in numerous international solo and group exhibitions and are held in major public and private collections including the Tate, MoMA, Yale, Stedelijk and the Victoria and Albert Museum. They have received a number of major awards including the ICP Infinity Award (2014) for “Holy Bible” and the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize (2013) for “War Primer 2”.

Der Greif exhibitions

Dancing in Peckham,co-curated by Photoworks, Webber Gallery & Der Greif,
Copeland Park, London
TAOTEH, feat. Thomas Albdorf & Benedikt Brachtel, München
Variety Show feat. Jason Fulford, Aperture Foundation, New York City

Variety Show feat. Jason Fulford,
Lothringer13, München

Thread Count, Unseen Amsterdam

(Un)filtered Scenarios, Fotomuseum Winterthur
Remix-Performances, Rencontres d’Arles & C/O Berlin
A Process 2.0, Krakow Photomonth, curated by Lars Willumeit, Krakau

Guest Room, Galerie f5,6, München

Lucy Award, Photography Magazine of the Year, Carnegie Hall, New York City
A Process, Neue Galerie im Höhmannhaus, Augsburg

Selected Adam Broomberg und Oliver Chanarin exhibitions

The Last Image, C/O Berlin

Divine Violence, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
[Control] No Control, The Triennial of Photography Hamburg, Hamburger Kunsthalle

Don't Start With The Good Old Things But The Bad New Ones, The Hasselblad Center, Göteborg
Yokohama Triennial, Yokohama
Documenta 14, Fridericianum, Kassel

Breaking News, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
Bending the Frame, Fotografisk Center, Kopenhagen
Centrum för Fotografi, Stockholm
Preus Museum, Oslo

The British Art Show 8 (2015-2017)
Conflict, Time, Photography, Tate Modern, London; Museum Folkwang, Essen

Shanghai Biennale, Power Station of Art, Shanghai
New Photography 2013, Museum of Modern Art, New York City
Ruin Lust, Tate Britain, London

Gwanju Biennale, Gwanju

Curators of the gallery exhibit
Daria Bona, Stipendiatin der Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung, Essen und
Rudolf Scheutle, Photography Collection