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Human(istic inter)faces

Isabel Mullarney


When images are used as a method of transferring knowledge between people, they typically are designed to have multiple entry points. These start people on different pathways to information, catching their attention. The route depends on what path they took from their starting point. This is not unlike using Google, for example, and the scale of the access its search engine has to huge amounts of information and databases made visible to Google. Our screens are constantly being filled with more and more information of a wide variety of topics and depending on what is typed into the search bar is what effects the results the user sees on their screens.

Sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have a constant feed built into the website constantly refreshing and pushing new information into the sight of the viewer and can be a mix of video, image or text. Looking into the philosophy of humanism, it writes about how what people do and how people work has an effect on the world. I can see that it has been documented and highlighted and used for different reasons like showing the effects of global warming and photography aided it and the pieces shown in galleries and online to provoke viewers into noticing. I think it is engaging when Scott (2012) writes about judging the photography of others photography. When writing critically he also aims to be encouraging to the photographer. Humanism in photography is about the emotions shown in the subjects of the image and we accept that emotion affects how the image is viewed.

Friedensreich Hundertwasser’s Irinaland over the Balkans (1969). Copyright Kunst Haus Vienna.

Bettina Leidl, director of Kunsthaus Vienna.

Facade of the Kunst Haus Vienna, which was designed by the celebrated artist and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Photo by Thomas Meyer.

The text begins by describing the museum and what surrounds it. The museum was built to be just that and not like a house or home that was later made into a museum space. In recent years she says that the program has focused on nature, ecology and photography and then talks about how multiple biologists and photographers have dealt with the topic of nature and photography by working together. The research in projects is very important, and that is something I’m learning through my photography studies education.

The work we do in our research books help us throughout the project when it comes to stepping forward without work and making it to a higher standard. The three levels she talks about are all factors to take into consideration when setting up an exhibition and deciding on how to show the pieces so that the audience understands and can take it in and make it memorable and engaging. At the end of the section, she asks the question if art “can have a real effect” on things like environmental decisions made by the government, and I think yes. If there are hard facts photographed proof makes it easier for people to understand and fully comprehend the point being made. The more people who understand the problems, the more attention it will get and the government will have to pay attention when there are hundreds of people pushing it. I

Leidl speaks about how museums may host environment-themed exhibitions but they dont highlight topics such as 'sustainability and ecology in order to achieve an effect with the visitor'. It goes on to look at the lighting used that could be changed to help our atmosphere like LED lights. The phrase ‘practise what you preach’ comes to mind after reading this article. If all museums made small changes, it could, in the long run, make a difference. These should include changes in museums' restaurants and gift shops that re-consider what is sustainable to sell and what is not. Leidl practices what she preaches and advocates for the importance of the environment and sustainability on her own website and in museum forums.


Mullarney, I. (2020) 'The human(istic inter)face' in Curating Photography: Poolside. TU Dublin: BA Photography [Online]. Available at


Brown, K., (2019). ‘How Can Museums Become More Green? One Art Institution In Vienna Is Leading The Charge By Taking These Simple Steps | Artnet News’. [online] Artnet News. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 April 2020].

Dean, G., Dartford, R., Graham, A., writers, m., McCaffrey, E. and Wilson, S., (2019). ‘Museums: More Than Just A Cultural Environment?’. [online] The Courier Online. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 April 2020].

Drucker, J. (2014). ‘Interface and interpretation’ in Graphesis: visual forms of knowledge production. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Gabriel, M.,( 2019). ‘Humanism In Photography: Its Meaning & Importance | Contrastly’. [online] Contrastly. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 April 2020].

Rastenberger, A-K. (2018). ‘In conversation with Bettina Leidl on photography institutions and sustainability’, in Rastenberger, A.K. and Sikking, I. (eds.) Why Exhibit? Positions on exhibiting photographies. Amsterdam: Fw Books.

Scott, K., (2012). ‘Judging Photography - A Humanistic Approach - Touching The Light - Ken Scott Photography’. [online] Touching the Light - Ken Scott Photography. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 April 2020].

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