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The University of Southampton
Computationally Intensive Imaging

Ms Jane Birkin 

Postgraduate Research Student

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Ms Jane Birkin is Postgraduate Research Student within Winchester School of Art at the University of Southampton.

I am an artist and designer based in Southampton, UK. Initially training and working as a painter, I moved through jobs involving technical and archival photography before working more creatively within photography and design. I went on to complete an MA in Communication Design in 2010. In October 2011 I began a full-time practice-based PhD to research into image description: the writing and the reading of the photographic image.

Research interests

The roots of my research lie in a curiosity around the functions of descriptive metadata in relation to the image: object-level descriptions and also the structures and levels of description and the structures of collections (whether physical or digitally managed) that they emulate and control. These are structures that provide vital contextual information, so informing and altering the reading of the discrete object / image.

My practice is currently constructed around the content-based, object-level description, a descriptive technique borrowed from archival practices. This is the zenith of archival description, the top of the ‘levels of description’ tree, but one whose use is diminishing due to the high volume of incoming images. I take this descriptive mode out of the constraints of the institution and into visual practice, where issues of time and labour are of a different nature altogether. It is used to expose the image, forcing a consideration of the authority of the single image outside of its own context and the contexts of its presentation — its caption, its tags, its surrounding objects and its viewer interface — whilst simultaneously inviting debate as to its functions within these contexts.

Ms Jane Birkin
Building 27, Room 2029, University of Southampton Highfield Southampton SO17 1BJ

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