CONVERSATIONS | Exposure Award

Conversations is a series of talks—online and on-site—between artists, curators, gallerists, and arts professionals that brings an in-depth dimension to the key themes and ideas shaping photography today.

In this latest edition, judges Isabella Tam and Lisa Springer unpack 2021 Exposure Award recipient Cao Shu’s award-winning Roam Simulator, using the series as a springboard to look at the future of visual culture and photography’s role within it. Cao Shu’s work will be on show at PHOTOFAIRS Shanghai, September 23 to 26, 2021 at the Shanghai Exhibition Center. Buy your tickets here

The video chapters below outline what you can expect to see and when. If you would like to see the running dialogue, turn on closed captioning by clicking on the “CC” button at the lower-right corner of the video.


0:06 – Isabella Tam introduces the talk

0:43 – Isabella introduces this year’s Exposure Award recipient, Cao Shu (Hive Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing) for his work Roam Simulator

1:25 – Lisa Springer introduces herself and shares her thoughts on Cao Shu’s work

3:50 – Isabella looks at Shu’s work and discusses the role of video games in today’s art scene

5:08 – Lisa questions what photography is today and interesting challenge of categorising contemporary photography

6:50 – Isabella discusses her understanding of visual culture and the role of photography

9:06 – Lisa discusses the photographic artist the restructuring of departments at V&A and the future of photography

12:30 – Isabelle reflects on the fundamental nature of the image and shares the exciting challenges of curating artists using the video game as a medium

14:35 – Lisa reveals the questions raised as a curator when acquiring video game art

16:51 – Isabella shares similar challenges, such as the built-in obsolete quality of certain electrical devices

18:20 – Lisa on the importance of involving and collaborating artists during curatorial processes

20:05 – Isabella introduces the conservator’s perspective on video game art and joys of working with living artists

22:36 – Isabella discusses the physicality of photography and the rise in popularity of the disposable film camera

23:13 – Isabella introduces the work of Sharon Lee

28:15 – Lisa discusses the V&A photography centre and current work that excites her

31:49 – Isabella reflects on the rapid changes of photography

32:46 – Lisa on the resurgence of film and the draw of the craft side of photography

37:02 – Isabella rounds off the conversation

Read more about the Exposure Award here