On possibilities of frictions
: an exhibition and quest for curating critical circulation of images

  • Ilaria Sponda (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Images circulate globally, either through market logic, nation states’ cultural diplomacies or through online exhibitions and exchange platforms, such as PHROOM, an international research platform for visual culture. The surplus of images consequent to digitalisation, social media, and the capitalist fast consumption of information, has been causing numbness and indifference, affecting the way art photography is perceived by people, both globally and locally. Over the last years of the Covid-19 pandemic, the online dimension has increasingly substituted the offline, physical world, resulting in an opportunity for artists and institutions to engage with wider audiences. As the pandemic-related restrictions are leasing the online still offers interesting alternatives in order to tackle sustainability issues in regards to people national or transnational movements and artworks production,transportation and disposal.This research analyses how curating plays a key role in activating critical circulations of images. Central to the research is the concept of “friction” (Tsing 2004), understood here as a form of performative imagination able to transform difference in a collective counter-narrative. Indeed, as circulations are regulated globally by mainstream and hegemonic logic, rendering alternative narratives through curating both online and off linesites of exchange is important to activate critical interconnections between differently situated photographic art practices. As an example of this, I present and examine On Possibilities of Frictions, the exhibition I produced and curated with the support of PHROOM in Dublin and on the platform to test how a glocal curatorial approach and counter-narratives could be fundamental tools to disrupt the anaesthetisation of the contemporary subject who perceives images, and thus art photography, in the fast-paced global flows and circulations.
Date of Award9 Feb 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorPeter Hanenberg (Supervisor)


  • Glocal curatorial practices
  • Counter-narratives
  • Friction
  • Images circulations
  • 21st century photography


  • Mestrado em Estudos de Cultura

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