The Image Bank is a characterization of a certain condition that defines image culture today - when the image of the thing is often more consumed than the thing itself. This condition has great implications on how we engage with the institution of art. Artie Vierkant defines this condition as part of a greater contemporary movement, the post-internet. Defined by, "ubiquitous authorship, development of attention as currency, the collapse of physical space in networked culture, and the infinite reproducibility and mutability of digital materials."
Mira Henry characterizes this in regard to the art institution in a statement she made at the 2017 Syracuse School of Architecture Boghosian Fellow Symposium: Ishness & Counter Absolutes, "High culture used to float above and be appropriated down," but now, "the digital has made high culture more accessible and common, everything is up for grabs." Through increased access to art, people are now able to publish their very own images to the network, and when published through social media platforms, the subject becomes the object. In response to the critical investigation of how contemporary image culture affects the way we consume art in the museum, The Image Bank finds potential in creating a space that focuses our attention and heightens our engagement with art today. Rather than proposing an impossible return to an idealized intimacy and isolation between art object and viewer, The Image Bank creates an art environment that lives amongst the impact of image culture on this growing audience of art consumers.
During one’s time at the DMV, the patron will engage with one piece of art and its associated digital media. The Image Bank will randomly generate one piece of art per patron, sourcing from all art museum digital archives that are currently available online. Simultaneously, a seemingly endless flood of digital media linked to the archived piece will overwhelm the viewer’s vision. When they are done engaging with the art, The Image Bank will print a receipt of that piece, and some associated media, while the art object gets deaccessioned from The Image Bank forever.
The Image Bank will provide custom doppelgängers of elements consistently found in the DMV, such as the waiting bench, the self service check-in units, or the mobile wall dividers. These elements will be hybridized through techniques found in museum storage and display; consistently mediating between opposites: storage and display, displacement and placement, clutter and isolation, dark and light etc. etc.