Saturday 8 June, 3pm-5pm
Clore Creative Studio, Whitechapel Gallery, London E1 7QX
The Whitechapel Salon: Between Philosophy and Practice
From the classroom to the studio, what is the status of philosophy in contemporary art teaching and practice? With guests Elie During, Stewart Martin and Jean-Marie Schaeffer, a one-off Whitechapel Salon organised by the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture at Westmister in collaboration with the Whitechapel Gallery and the Institut Français, London. Hosted by David Cunningham and Marquard Smith.
Elie During is Maître de Conférences in the Department of Philosophy at the Université de Paris Ouest – Nanterre La Défense. His publications include La Science et l’Hypothèse: Poincaré (2001), Faux raccords: la coexistence des images (2010), Bergson et Einstein: la querelle du temps (2013), and, in collaboration with Dominique Gonzales-Foerster, Donatien Grau and Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Qu’est-ce que le curating? (2011). He is on the editorial board of the journal Critique.
Stewart Martin is Senior Lecturer in Modern European Philosophy, Aesthetics and Art Theory at Middlesex University. He has published widely on Critical Theory, capitalism and philosophy, and contemporary art in journals including Mute, Oxford Art Journal and Third Text. He is a member of the editorial collective of the journal Radical Philosophy.
Jean-Marie Schaeffer is Directeur d’études at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales and Directeur de recherche at the Centre International d’Etude de la Philosophie Française Contemporaine. His publications include Petite écologie des études littéraires (2010), La fin de l’exception humaine (2007), Why Fiction? (2011; originally in French, 1999), Art of the Modern Age (2000; French, 1992), and, in collaboration with Nathalie Heinich, Art, création, fiction. Entre philosophie et création (2004).
Tickets £8/6 concessions (£4 Members).
Call for Papers: ‘Visual Studies as Academic Discipline’ conference, Centre for Visual Studies, Zagreb, Croatia, November 2013
The past two decades have witnessed a large increase in academic interest in all visual phenomena, including those strictly visual – from painting and film to experimental video and multimedia installations – as well as all the forms of applied arts: graphic and industrial design, fashion and advertising. In many countries, this interest in visual practice is accompanied by the interest in visual theories, primarily in the new discipline of visual studies that keep acquiring academic legitimacy at universities worldwide.
Visual studies have emerged as a result of parallel expansion that occurred respectively in the fields of art history and film studies, whose radical members have converged particular theories of still and moving images, towards an integral science of images. After W.J.T. Mitchell and Gottfried Boehm have sanctioned the pictorial turn as the basic interest of hyper-mediatized society, it became clear that various visual phenomena demand a much wider theoretical platform, one which would take into consideration the definitive erasure of borders between high and low art, between elite and popular culture, as well as between creators and consumers of visual messages.
For the first time in history, the users of images became the producers of images, within an unrestrained circular process, wherein images yield new insights, while insights demand their instantaneous pictorial foundation. The development and expansion of telecommunication technologies have transformed the traditionally understood technical images into a new communication code that is accessible to everyone. However, does this accessibility simultaneously presume that the new communication code is intelligible to everyone using it? Do we really know what are the images telling us, what do they want from us or what is it that we want from them? Do we know in which manner the most recent researches in technosciences prove, by the way of visualization, their radical tenets on biocybernetic complex systems, and how is the notion of image inscribed into the performative bodies of art and fashion today?
The International Scientific Conference Visual Studies as Academic Discipline aims to gather a wide circle of university oriented theorists, so that they can jointly consider the ways in which they deliberate and teach about images, primarily about their overlapping meanings, that arise through the intermedia networking of various visual practices, as well as through the transdisciplinary analyses of contemporary theories. This symposium wishes to examine the theoretical legitimacy of a wide field of visual representations: art, film, photography, design, fashion and performance. It also wishes to consider the disciplinary status of actual visual studies as an (established) scientific paradigm.
We invite all the concerned colleagues to submit their presentations on one of the proposed subjects:
1. The theoretical and disciplinary status of visual studies – two decades after the pictorial turn
2. Visual studies as a “radical” version of art history or a critical detour?
3. The epistemological aspects of visual studies in university curricula
4. The potentials of the applied science of images: interactions between art, film, design, fashion and performance
5. “Non-disciplinarity” as an approach to the multimedia image of the world
6. Fashion studies today: from the theory of fashion to the design of body
Presentations are limited to 20 minutes. In order to participate at the Conference, please send abstract of your paper (150 words) together with short CV to email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com until 21st of July 2013. The scientific board will notify you of the status of your proposal until 25th of July 2013.
W.J.T. Mitchell, University of Chicago, USA
Michele Cometa, University of Palermo, Italy
Marquard Smith, University of Westminster, London, GB
Members of the workgroup Visual Culture in Europe:
Nina Lager Vestberg, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
Øyvind Vågnes, The Bergen Center for Visual Culture, Norway
Joaquín Barriendos, Columbia University, New York, USA
Ana Maria Guasch, University of Barcelona, Spain
Safet Ahmeti, Center for Visual Studies, Skopje, Macedonia
Max Liljefors, Lund University, Sweden
Almira Ousmanova, European Humanities University, Vilnius, Lithuania
Scientific and organisational board:
Žarko Paić, PhD, Associate Professor, Faculty of Textile Technology, University of Zagreb
Krešimir Purgar, PhD, Center for Visual Studies, Zagreb
Sandra Bischof, PhD, Dean of Faculty of Textile Technology, University of Zagreb
Katarina Nina Simončič, PhD, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Textile Technology, University of Zagreb
Nikola Petković, PhD, Professor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Rijeka
Leonida Kovač, PhD, Assistant Professor, Academy of Fine Arts, University of Zagreb
Suzana Marjanić, PhD, Senior Research Associate, Institute of Ethnology and Folklore, Zagreb
Goran Sergej Pristaš, Associate Professor, Academy of Dramatic Art, University of Zagreb
Silva Kalčić, Lecturer, Faculty of Textile Technology, University of Zagreb
Petra Krpan, MSc, Faculty of Textile Technology, University of Zagreb
Laura Potrović, MSc, Academy of Dramatic Art, University of Zagreb
Nikola Devčić, Director of the Association “White Wave”, Zagreb
Center for Visual Studies, Zagreb; Tvrđa – Magazine for theory, culture and visual arts; Croatian Writers’ Society; Faculty of Textile Technology, University of Zagreb; Association “White Wave”, Zagreb
The Conference will take place at the Faculty of Textile Technology in Zagreb, from 7th to 9th November 2013. Details will be regularly updated on the web site www.visual-studies.com.
The Conference is organized within the activities of the workgroup Visual Culture in Europe, and is the fourth such event, following previous ones held in London (2010), Barcelona (2011) and Trondheim (2012).
The Conference Visual Studies as Academic Discipline is endorsed by The International Association for Visual Culture.
The Museum of Contemporary Cuts (MoCC) is developing a research project, under the directorship of Lanfranco Aceti, to assess and map the impact of the arts funding reductions in several European Countries and North America, and would like to invite individuals and funded organizations to contribute their data.
This is a form that will provide us with the data regarding art organizations that have closed as a consequence of the current economic crisis or that have had their funding cut.
The research project will analyze the impact of the current economic crisis on the arts throughout the following countries (Austria, Canada, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States) comparing official data with data provided on each specific territory.
The project aims to create a repository of data that can be accessed and poured through to gain a clear impression of the affected organizations and the current state of the arts from 2007 to present.
MoCC will create, using the information gathered, a series of data visualizations, as well as art commissions, curatorial projects, exhibitions, research analyses and publications. It will promote initiatives that will be showcased and presented at international events and biennials.
At the end of 2012, one such organization effected, was the NIMk. The activities of the Netherlands Media Art Institute ceased as of 31 December, 2012.
To assist us with this task, we are asking individuals and arts organizations to send us the following information on the art organizations that have closed or have received funding cuts in the period 2007 – present.
You can provide this information by using our online web form available at this link: http://museumofcontemporarycuts.org/deadly-cuts-form/
Also, we would like to display, online, the Letter of Funding Cuts that art institutions received during the period 2007 – present.
These Letter of Funding Cuts can be scanned at 300dpi resolution and emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org or posted, as a physical copy to be archived by MoCC.
Postal address: Ref. Letter of Funding Cuts To: Lanfranco Aceti, MoCC Director, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Sabanci University, Orhanli/Tuzla, 34956 Istanbul, Turkey
Letters should be sent ideally by December 31, 2013 – but we will continue to accept them throughout the life of the Museum of Contemporary Cuts.
Enquires about this particular project, collaborations for exhibitions and research with MoCC should be sent to: email@example.com
To stay informed please subscribe to our newsletters:http://www.lanfrancoaceti.com/newsletters
Follow MoCC on Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/MuseumOfContemporaryCuts
Follow MoCC on Twitter:
We acknowledge the support of Operational and Curatorial Research (OCR), International Association for Visual Culture, Kasa Gallery, Sabanci University, Chelsea College, Westminster University and Goldsmiths College.
Image credit: Jonathan Munro, Vacant, 2013. Digital image.
We Have Come to Shack Up with You is a new art project by Lanfranco Aceti.
Lanfranco Aceti Inc. sponsors 10 return train trips from London to Wendover, to the country home of the current Prime Minister. In the spirit of sacrifice and in order to share the costs of the current debt, perhaps the Prime Minister may consider providing accommodation in the extra number of rooms of his country home.
This rambling performance that sees an idyllic journey in the English countryside as well as a walk up to the country house of the PM will provide an artistic and aesthetic moment to reflect on the philosophical implications of a growing divide between the haves and have nots, between petty crimes by the lower classes heavily punished and global criminal activities by the higher classes that go unpunished.
On the 1st April, 2013 (as a bad April Fools’ joke) a set of new stringent changes have been made to the United Kingdom’s welfare system. One of the most controversial changes by the current government is to penalize those living in social housing; the disadvantaged and out of work. Find out more about the bedroom tax.
When: 13th April 2013
Time: 10am – 5pm
Where: Leaving from London Marylebone to Wendover
To apply for this trip and be one of the lucky 10 to participate in the artwork please get in touch with the Museum of Contemporary Cuts by accessing the link to the form and provide your name, email, telephone number and a short text explaining the reason why you should join the trip.
Additional to the cost of train travel the 10 attendees will receive lunch and a pint in one of the local pubs.
If you have any queries about this event, please contact Jonathan Munro and Ozden Sahin:
About Chequers the residency of the current Prime Minister
Chequers is the official country home of the Prime Minister of the UK. It is an Elizabethan mansion in the Chiltern hills near Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, and was given to the nation by Lord Lee of Fareham under the Chequers Estate Act 1917, which came into effect in 1921. Its estate contains about 500 ha/1235 acres of farmlands and woods.
We Have Come to Shack Up with You is realized by Lanfranco Aceti Inc. with the collaboration of MoCC (Museum of Contemporary Cuts).
Artworks by Lanfranco Aceti.
Senior Curators: Joasia Krysa and Marquard Smith.
Curators: Jonathan Munro and Ozden Sahin.
The International Association for Visual Culture is thrilled to be collaborating with the Museum of Contemporary Cuts (http://
An International Research Symposium on the Visual Culture/Art/History/Design of Childbirth in the 21st century
University College Dublin, 2-3 July 2013
Developed and hosted by UCD PhD Candidates Doreen Balabanoff and Martina Hynan
This interdisciplinary research symposium will provide an opportunity for contemporary critical debates into the visual culture of childbirth and consider how our cultural representations of birth influence our approaches to childbirth itself.
The event will draw on visual theorisations of women’s birthing bodies from the eighteenth century on; investigate visual readings of maternal identity in local and global cultures, and consider images and texts representing birth events and birth environments. This emerging research area focuses on perspectives from the lived experience of women and diverse practitioners, and seeks to bring together historical, contemporary and futuristic understandings of individual and societal portrayals and manifestations of birth experience and environment. This interdisciplinary forum will consider how our cultural representations of the subject influence our approach to childbirth itself. The event will draw on visual theorisations of women’s birthing bodies from the eighteenth century on; investigate visual readings of maternal identity in local and global cultures, and consider images and texts representing birth events and birth environments.
This will be a unique opportunity for researchers and practitioners to explore/discuss the visual and sensorial culture of birth, and to contribute to our re-imagining of this fundamental personal life experience for mother and child. Central to the vision of this project is the ambition to build connections between interested parties, providing a forum for transcending current knowledge silos and contributing to innovative change in this important personal/cultural domain of human experience.
To this end, we call for papers, presentations and also welcome workshop proposals that focus on interaction among delegates. Our invitation is open to visual cultural theorists, historians, feminists, midwives, medical practitioners, social scientists, writers, artists, designers, architects, etc. We hope this project stimulates the sharing of papers that explore perceptions of birth experience, culture and environment – how birth has been seen in the past, how it has come to be seen contemporaneously through diverse perspectives and how the future of childbirth might be imagined/re-imagined, through visual forms of representation and expression.
While we welcome traditional academic papers, we also encourage creative methods of delivery that may include performance and visual arts approaches. There will be two ‘panels’ initiated by the convenors, with the invited participants. Each panel will focus the discussion of the day around one of two large ‘arenas’ of interest:
- Birth: Visual Image/Visual CultureThis panel will consider representations/perceptions of the lived experience of childbirth in visual culture from 18th century onwards and contemplate the ways birth was/is portrayed in art historical, non-medical contexts, and the contribution that medical professionals have brought to an evolving visual culture of childbirth and the birthing body. Topics may include but are not limited to:
representations of birth in art; image and body politics of childbirth; birth and feminist art practice; visualizing birth in medicine; birth as liminal experience; censored/censoring images of birth; visual readings of birth in Ireland; portrayals of birth interventions; maternal visions; images of the Maternal; imagining/re-imagining the Maternal Taboo; symbolic/images of the reproductive cycle; images of fertility and reproduction; folk customs, cultural rituals of fertility and reproduction locally and globally; mythologies of the birthing body; religious representations/discourse of reproduction; imagining gender and biomedicine of childbirth; visual technologies of/for the birthing body; imagery of the “changing” body: rebirth and metamorphosis; obstetric museums – focus and design; birth anatomy – anatomical representations of childbirth.
Submissions for Birth: Visual Image/Visual Culture should be sent to Martina Hynan. Please use Reimagining Birth as the subject line.
- Birth: Visual/Sensory EnvironmentThis panel will address the potency of the visual and sensory environment and its affect/effect on the birth process, considering phenomenological aspects of physical and ephemeral architecture as mind/body experience in space/form/time. The evolution of the birth environment: home to hospital to birth centre; ‘labour ward’ to ‘private labour and delivery room’; ‘natural’ to ‘industrial’; ‘homely’, ‘fashion-conscious’ or ‘five star’. The focus is not limited to the labour room – consideration of birth environment includes a more comprehensive set of spaces.
Presentation, papers and proposals might include (but are not limited to) the following topics:
representations/visualisations of imagined or actual historic, contemporary or future birth spaces/places/architectures; planning, systems and political stances that impact birthspace design; philosophical/theoretical approaches to re-imagining future birth environments; focus on the newborn and psychophysiological experience; natural and artificial lighting: physical and psychophysiological implications for birth processes and experiences of mother and newborns; environmental colour relevant to birth spaces; visual, olfactory, auditory and other sensory/multi-sensory or cross-modal factors relevant to birth experience; materiality and tactility studies on birth experience/environment; design and use of furnishings for birth environment; temporality of birth experience and spatial attributes; narratives from participants, whether mothers, partners, midwives, nurses, doctors related to environment; poetic evocations – literary writings about birth which evoke images of birth environment; feminist approaches to architecture as space/form/time relevant to birthspace; medical and social sciences studies of birth experience/space; consciousness studies related to birth and labour; accommodating diversity in multicutural settings; respecting indigenous and local cultures and ‘genius loci’; biophilic and salutogenic approaches to birthplace architecture
Submissions for Birth: Visual/Sensory Environment should be sent to Doreen Balabanoff. Please use Reimagining Birth as the subject line.
Abstracts should be 500 words or less, together with a short bio of 250 words or less. Please include a cover sheet with name, institution, department, and contact information. Documents should be submitted as a PDF.
Deadline: Abstracts and bios should reach us on or before 5pm, Friday 12th April, 2013. Notification will be on Friday 10th May 2013.
Austerity Bites: Disability and the Summer of 2012
Through the summer of 2012, two opposing sets of images, bound for collision, dominated the British press. Welfare benefits reform met the Paralympic Games, each with consequences for the public’s perception of disability and the lives of disabled people. This article explores their influence, their real-world impact, and the deeper values that underpin them.
Contrasting sets of images
The two image sets could scarcely contrast more. Widespread images of disabled people as welfare benefits claimants, reveal two interwoven themes: the fraudster, claiming benefits for non-existent impairment, and the “workshy” scrounger, “languishing” in preference to work. Against a context of comprehensive benefits reform and a massive 30% cut from the national disability benefits budget (Edwards, 2012), they drive a hardening of public attitudes towards claimants.
The second set, in the run up to the Paralympic Games, is a torrent of images portraying disabled athletes as superhuman, celebrating their endurance and athleticism. Paralympics reporting is the light to the dark of benefits. The Games closing ceremony, trumpets that they have ‘lifted the cloud of limitation’ (Coe, 2012 in Collins, 2012: para 1), the press pondering how extraordinary it is what, with determination, disabled people can do (Phillips, 2012).
Pictures in the Mind
The two image sets – heroic Paralympian and immoral claimant – could hardly be more different, yet have much in common. Replicating ancient binaries of disability: overcoming and inspiring versus flawed, burdensome and tragic, their coexistence takes them to new levels of influence.
Despite their polarisation, both sets remove disabled people from their social context: whether Paralympian or claimant, the individual soars or plummets solely through intrinsic will, with discrimination and poverty to elite training and sustained investment made invisible.
In its absence, the images provide each other’s context, the claimants’ reflected shame raising the athletes’ pedestal still higher. Against pervasive tensions of austerity, the scrounger rhetoric meets approval from a population that fears benefits fraud as a danger to national interests but for those at risk of false accusation it presents a threat. For many, the Paralympics is a positive new viewing of disability, yet it undermines disabled people who cannot fulfil its exacting standards.
The images do not merely reflect the world, but shape the ways in which we see and understand it (McQuire, 1998). Unambiguity and over-simplification convert readily to a symbolic shorthand of what it is to be disabled (Ross, 2003), entering the public imagination as a collective “picture in the mind” of what a disabled person might be (Mitchell, 2005), and against which flesh-and-blood disabled people are measured.
Real-life Impact: a system flawed
As welfare reform pushes forward, this collective picture, with its most serious flaws, is incorporated into the new system of benefits, impacting in the most literal terms on how disabled people are perceived and measured.
The benefits classification system that assesses entitlement to assistance regards disabled people apart from their social context. Employability is judged on the basis of impairment, without reference to discrimination, support or job availability. Whereas classification has always been integral to the welfare state, this new shift isolates claimants fully from their social context.
Paralympics classification, whilst administratively separate, overlaps in philosophy. Both systems are built upon an image that accords with Paralympic representation. Quantifiable biomechanical descriptors, such as strength, flexibility and balance, are measured to allocate athletes fairly to competition, and to determine claimants’ eligibility for financial assistance (Tweedy & Burke, 2009; Department for Work and Pensions, 2012b).
For Paralympians, these measures broadly fit, with their impairments (amputations, visual impairment, restricted growth, etc) and athletic activity (power, endurance, etc) both quantifiable. Claimants, with typically more complex, hard-to-quantify impairments (chronic, fluctuating and life-limiting conditions) (Department for Work and Pensions, 2012a), struggle to fit these mechanistic criteria, which also fail to accommodate the broad range of employment activity. Built upon an erroneous image of disability, benefits classification is made unfit for purpose.
If those who are assessed fail to match the auditor’s “picture in the mind” of what it is to be disabled, then they fall through the net. Classification influences athletes’ medal chances; for the claimant, it determines their chances in life. Not only do they risk being found inappropriately “fit for work”, as is happening in large numbers, but in turn become subjected to the press charge of scrounger.
It is a cruel conundrum that in misrepresenting ordinary disability benefits claimants as scroungers, the same images also very often render them ineligible for the benefits that they are entitled to claim. The narrative of fraudster/scrounger, through representation and real-world application, becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The deeper values that underpin
The fraudster/scrounger imagery has been nourished and reinforced by a ‘long campaign of misinformation’, uncorrected and indeed, fed, by government briefings (Quarmby, 2012: para 7). In playing upon widespread public fears in a time of austerity (Chong & Druckman, 2007), these briefings and their consequent images have fuelled a rise in hostility towards disabled people, with figures for hate crime against disabled people soaring over four years of financial crisis (Riley-Smith, 2012). The fraudster/scrounger rhetoric is a key player (Briant et al, 2011).
Hate crime researcher, Katharine Quarmby, writes: ‘If you have a group that is blamed for economic downturn, terrible things can happen to them’ (2012, in Riley-Smith, 2012: para 5). For immersed within the name-calling of superhuman/fraudster/scrounger/ victim, lies an unease of greater magnitude, a deeper message of the social value placed upon disabled people and the function that disability can serve within a society. The images are symbols not only of mythic disability but of what we as a society value and abhor. Against a backdrop of austerity, they combine in a metaphor for hope and warning: the Paralympian’s “triumph of the will” over harsh times, the claimant as scapegoat and a rung on the ladder lower yet than our own. The converse of the Paralympic superhuman is the disabled person as subhuman.
In a new benefits system that has been charged with contributing to the deaths of 32 people each week (Sommerlad, 2012), these values underpin public support for reform. They are the same values that underpin the rise in hate crime, and lie behind a raft of other justifications: segregated education and threats to independent living, selective foetal screening for impairment and the rush to legal rights for assisted suicide. They are values rooted in history, yet experienced by contemporary disabled people as a daily threat.
The summer of 2012 provided a collision of images. A small glimmer for those who can match the abiding images of the Games, they carry a heavy backlash for the majority of disabled people who cannot comply.
A more sustained engagement with this material will be appearing in the August 2014 issue of Journal of Visual Culture.
Liz Crow (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an artist-activist working in film, performance and text, using the power of creative work as a tool for change. She is founder of Roaring Girl Productions (www.roaring-girl.com) and a doctoral candidate at the University of Bristol’s Graduate School of Education.
Briant E, Watson N & Philo G (2011) Bad News for Disabled People: How the newspapers are reporting disability. Glasgow: Strathclyde Centre for Disability Research and Glasgow Media Unit, University of Glasgow
Chong D & Druckman JN (2007) Framing Theory. Annual Review of Political
Science 10: 103–26.
Collins N (2012) Made in Britain – stamped with pride on 2012. The Telegraph, 9 September,12.
Department for Work & Pensions (2012a) Analysis of Incapacity Benefits: detailed medical condition and duration – update. Leeds: DWP.
Department for Work & Pensions (2012b) Training and Development: Revised WCA Handbook, ESA (LCW/LCWRA) Amendment Regulations 2011. Leeds: DWP.
Edwards C (2012) The austerity war and the impoverishment of disabled people. Norwich: University of East Anglia/Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People
Mitchell WJT (2005) What Do Pictures Want? The lives and loves of images. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Phillips, M (2012) Incredible Ellie and a triumph over the culture of victimhood. Mail Online, 2 September, 12.
Quarmby K (2012) Leveson is showing wilful blindness towards disabled people. The Guardian, 8 May,12.
Riley-Smith, B (2012) Hate crimes against disabled people soar to a record level. The Guardian, 19 June, 12.
Ross SD (2003) Unconscious, Ubiquitous Frames. In: Lester PM & Ross SD (eds) Images That Injure: Pictorial Stereotypes in the Media. (2nd ed.) Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, pp. 29-34.
Sommerlad N (2012) 32 die a week after failing test for new incapacity benefit. In: Penman and Sommerlad Investigate (blog). Available at: http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/investigations/2012/04/32-die-a-week-after-failing-in.html (accessed 18th November 2012).
Tweedy SM & Bourke J (2009) IPC Athletics Classification Project for Physical Impairments: Final Report – Stage 1. Bonn, Germany: IPC Athletics.
‘The Right to Look from the South’, 28-29 May 2013, Invitation to Participate, University of Pretoria
THE RIGHT TO LOOK
FROM THE SOUTH
KEYNOTE: NICHOLAS MIRZOEFF
28 – 29 MAY 2013
VISUAL CULTURE STUDIES, DEPARTMENT OF VISUAL ARTS, UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA
In The Right to Look: A Counterhistory of Visuality (2011) Mirzoeff provides a framework for decolonising the genealogy of visuality by highlighting the ways in which countervisuality ruptures its hegemony. Modern visuality – “a discursive practice that has material effects” (3) – aligns itself in a naturalised manner with power and authority. By identifying three “complexes of visuality”, namely plantation slavery, imperialism and the present-day military-industrial complex, Mirzoeff is able to show how these complexes are uncritically associated with power through techniques of classification, separation and aestheticisation. Mirzoeff challenges this coerced relationship by claiming “the right to look” as a countervisuality. For him the “right to look” is to democratise democracy. In other words, rather than following the customary route of „looking away‟ in order to become invisible to the controlling politics of visuality, the right to look intersects with the right to be seen and provides a key to democratic politics. By utilising the framework of claiming “the right to look” within contemporary South African visual culture a productive platform is created for scholars to engage with and generate a democratic politics of countervisuality, hence the title of the colloquium: THE RIGHT TO LOOK FROM THE SOUTH.
INVITION TO PARTICIPATE
You are invited to submit an abstract before 2 April of no more than 500 words to contribute a (30 min) response. Please provide clear outlines of how your intended contribution is linked to the basic premises of Mirzoeff‟s text. Participation in the colloquium is limited to individual‟s presenting a paper. This is in order to ensure sufficient time for feedback and responses. The intention is to seek a reputable avenue for publishing selected contributions afterwards.
Amanda du Preez Rory du Plessis Visual Culture Studies Department of Visual Arts University of Pretoria email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Future Publishing: Visual culture in the age of possibility
This is Project 5 of the International Association for Visual Culture (IAVC). This project is constituted as a collaborative and Open Access forum on the possible futures of publishing. The project is published on-line and simultaneously across a number of distinct scholarly, creative, and critical research platforms: the College Art Association’s Art Journal website, the open-access journal Culture Machine, The Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture (IMCC, University of Westminster), the IAVC, the journal of visual culture’s satellite website, Vectors: Journal of Culture and Technology in a Dynamic Vernacular, and the Modern Language Association Commons.
Project 5’s origins are in a panel we organised in New York City in June 2012 for Nicholas Mirzoeff’s ‘Now! Visual Culture’ event, the Association’s second biennial conference. In this event’s network of relations and expectations – in the places between NYC, this non-conference, and Occupy – we watched the fermentation of something that felt new and offered new ways forward in our understanding of visual culture, and also in the ways in which it is distributed, accessed, engaged with and acted upon.
The ‘future publishing’ that we discussed coalesces around the emerging moment in the history of technologies and the adaptive strategies deployed by the disseminators of information to accommodate them. The opportunities and challenges that they seed have extraordinary implications for the distribution and consumption of information; perhaps the most radical since the development of moveable type and its consequent market in reading.
The release of easy to utilise, freely available publishing software presents both challenges and possibilities for publishing as a practice and an industry. The ability to develop and distribute multi-touch interactive ‘text books’ at no cost through iTunes, for example, at once supports and restricts ‘open source’ publishing projects and is symptomatic of developments across the sector. The development of new technologies and new platforms for dissemination like the Kindle/tablets means that both traditional formats and networks require rethinking.
Some of the questions we consider include:
- How will changes in format impact on content – the medium is the message?
- What are the challenges for the publishing industry in generating sustainable business models that support author activity?
- How will these new market conditions impact and inflect ‘open source’ publishing models?
- What are the consequences for the distribution of research and how will it maintain or re-imagine its integrity across and through less formalised, deregulated networks?
- How will authors generate income?
The panellist’s engagement with these and other questions are appended here, and we extend a huge debt of gratitude to Katherine Behar, Gary Hall, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, and Tara McPherson for their insights, as well as their willingness to formulate and realise Project 5 as a model of a paradigm for future publishing.
On 11th January 2013, Aaron Swartz was found dead in his New York apartment, having apparently taken his own life. He was 26. A web programmer, co-founder of Reddit, and advocate of free-data, Swartz had been arrested in July 2011, and was being sued for downloading and attempting to release 4.8 million academic articles from the digital library JSTOR. He was arrested in July 2011, charged with data theft-related crimes, and was due to stand trail in April 2013. If convicted he faced over 30 years in prison. On January 9th 2013, JSTOR announced that the archives of more than 1,200 journals were now available for, as Library Journal puts it, ‘limited free reading by the public’. Such free reading amounts to three articles every two weeks. We have a long way to go.
Mark Little and Marquard Smith