Bernd Behr -

The Paranoiac-Critical Method of Reflectance Transformation Imaging

Wednesday 22 March 4pm

This performative lecture explores an associative genealogy for Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), an open source computational photographic process increasingly employed in archaeology and heritage conservation as part of an emerging portfolio of 3D scanning applications that are transforming the visual documentation and study of artefacts. Invented at Hewlett Packard Labs in 2001 and further developed by Cultural Heritage Imaging, RTI has gained widespread adoption in recent years for its ability to interactively re-light objects within a virtual hemisphere of illumination, greatly enhancing the perception of detail such as surface inscriptions and marks over traditional still photography.
The talk addresses the implicit visual regime embedded in RTI and traces its relation to examples across histories of art, cinema and architecture. As an artistic gesture that performs a cultural archaeology on this digital tool, it proposes that we not only narrate the subjects of our study but the very tools of investigation themselves. If the Humanities have taught us that methodologies can be seen to play a significant role in constructing their subjects, then emerging 3D scanning processes such as RTI are no exemption and have their own subjectivities to disclose.

Bernd Behr is a London-based artist and lecturer in photography at Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts London. His interdisciplinary research and visual practice investigates historical junctures of lens-based cultures and the built environment, pursuing horizontal, associative genealogies to unearth latent histories and inscribe new narratives in sites. His work has been exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions at Bloomberg Space, London, The Hepworth Wakefield, High Desert Test Sites, California, and Chisenhale Gallery, London, with selected group exhibitions at Kadist Foundation, San Francisco, Para Site, Hong Kong, Storefront for Art & Architecture, New York, and ICA, London. Behr represented Taiwan at the 55th Venice Biennale, 2013.