video talk

Art for Machines

[person_by] Martine Stig

July 2021

Art for Machines - artist talk & video essay for ISEA2020 Why Sentience? When celluloid was replaced by sensors twenty years ago, the photographic image became bilingual. The digital image, now being shot, shown, stored and shared by one device, lives up to (and beyond) expectations of analogue mnemonic technologies. Satisfying the human urge for visual traces, the easy-to-use digital apparatus tempt us to produce photographic images. Yet the current ubiquity of images demonstrates not only our ‘analogue’ needs to archive and share memories, it also points towards a ‘digital’ hunger for data.

The photographic image, both data and imagery, speaks to different audiences. The human audience, with its growing need for visual updates of other peoples’ lives and the non-human audience, gathering data to index, recognise and categorise patterns in order to predict future developments. Pointing towards past and future at the same time, in between ‘narrative-based stories’ and ‘data-based story-telling’1 the data-image serves both needs. We, seduced by the digital device, feed the data-hungry and the image-needy more and more. And now “Life is experienced as increasingly documentable, and perhaps, also experienced in the service of its documentation, always with the newly accessible audience in mind,”2 a seemingly irrelevant transition changed the human role in image production forever.

Martine Stig
Martine Stig (b. 1972) is an artist based in Amsterdam. Point of departure in her work is the photographic image; the voyeuristic act: photography (verb) and the autonomic product: photo (noun). Whilst using the medium (and moving away from it) she researches its role in the perception of reality.


Part of Studies

still from Art for Machine (artist talk)Martine Stig2020

still from Art for Machine (artist talk), Martine Stig, 2020

Martine Stig


In this research I focus on the changes the photographic image has undergone in the transition from analog to digital. In fact, the photographic image has become bilingual; it is both image and data and can be read by man and machine.