During the “Visual Culture” seminar the MA Visual Communication students explored the concept of hyper in relation to current visual phenomena: the excessive, heightened, multidimensional nature of how images are often produced, consumed or displayed today. Through discussions, readings, museum visits and visual analysis around the idea of the hyperimages, we aimed essentially at touching some of the following questions: can we see something anew about the relationship between us and the visual, between the visual and reality, between reality and us?
Throughout the discussions a special focus crystallized on the phenomenon of the image assemblages within the cyberspace. We observed how some of such image groupings exist in the same digital plane (like the carefully curated Instagram feeds), but some have their elements distributed across planes and dimensions, like the visual identities and personas emanating from intricate hyperlinking across platforms and channels. Some are more static and linear, but some are in a permanent dynamic of ungraspable change. Just like in an oversaturated heraclitian reality of ever-transforming visual content.
One of these latter digital polyptychs was also chosen as subject for a case study. Under the guidance of Offshore Studio (Isabel Seiffert and Christoph Miler) the students deconstructed one of the iconic – and essentially (hyper-)visual – media personas of our time: the media celebrity Kim Kardashian. In this hands-on way of looking at the hyperimage, the students investigated how the existence and characteristics of an actual person become irrelevant (or can even disappear) under the gigantic visual assemblage that represents her.