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In an image-saturated society, methods for visual analysis gain urgency. This special issue explores visual ways to study online images, focusing on their collection and circulation. The proposition we make is to stay as close to the material as possible. How to approach the visual with the visual? What type of images may one design to make sense of, reshape, and reanimate online image collections? How may arrangements of online images promote various analytical procedures, participatory actions, and design interventions? Furthermore, we focus on the role that algorithmic tools, including machine vision, can play in such research efforts while being sensitive to their flaws and shortcomings. Which kinds of collaborations between humans and machines can we envision to better grasp and critically interrogate the dynamics of today’s digital visual culture? The different practices and formats discussed in this special issue (including data feminism, visual scores, machine vision, image networks, field guides) offer a range of approaches that seek to understand, reanimate, and change perspectives on our digital visual culture.
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