Posts tagged Europe

Call for Papers: ‘Visual Studies as Academic Discipline’ conference, Centre for Visual Studies, Zagreb, Croatia, November 2013

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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: and until 21st of July 2013. The scientific board will notify you of the status of your proposal until 25th of July 2013.

Keynote speaker:

W.J.T. Mitchell, University of Chicago, USA

Plenary speakers:

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

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.

Nuclear Criticism

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Great piece by Chris Daley in the new online journal Alluvium about nuclear criticism. Here’s the first paragraph:

In 1984, the journal Diacritics set out to define what it labelled as the developing academic terrain of ‘nuclear criticism’. The opening section of the journal entitled ‘Proposal for a Diacritics Colloquium on Nuclear Criticism’ established that ‘critical theory ought to be making a more important contribution to the public discussion of nuclear issues’ and proceeded to list a series of nuclear themes that required immediate consideration. Among these were an examination of the nuclear arms race and the ‘dialectic of mimetic rivalry’ it provoked, ‘the power of horror’ and most pertinently ‘the representation of nuclear war in the media as well as in the literary canon’. This last topic was all the more powerful for a mid-eighties audience as the early years of the decade had seen a re-emergence of nuclear anxieties that were reminiscent of the fears twenty years earlier during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 and his subsequent verbal assaults on the ‘evil empire’ of the Soviet Union, energised the ferocious ideological divide between the two superpowers that had ebbed and flowed in intensity throughout the Cold War. Meanwhile, in both the United States and Britain a variety of cultural and media productions speculated on the consequences of such intense political rhetoric. While these texts were predominantly non-canonical and therefore often overlooked by the nuclear critics, they nonetheless question and evaluate the purpose of the nuclear referent in the political power struggle of the Cold War.

Read further at:

Thomson & Craighead in Brussels

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A new solo exhibition of the work of Thomson and Craighead has just opened in South East of Brussels (Watermael/Boisfort), where they are showing six artworks/installations at the same time across two sites, Watermael Station and Vénerie Stables, from 26th October to 18th December 2011. Alison and John will also be giving gallery talks at each site on Saturday 19th November from 15.30pm. Further info at:

Thomson & Craighead this summer

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Thomson & Craighead are showing three pieces of template cinema called, ‘Somewhere in Sweden’, ‘A short film about nothing’ and ‘Five Ghosts’ as part of the online component of this years Biennale de Montreal, curated by Paule Mackrous. The exhibit is published by the Centre International d’Art Contemporain de Montreal’s electronic magazine, issue 39/2011. Other artists include: Mark Amerika, Grégory Chatonsky, Jhave and Mouchette (aka Martine Neddam). More about template cinema here.

In other news, the duo are showing ‘Tallinn Wall’ (a re-working of their installation ‘London Wall’) and ‘BEACON’ as part of Gateways:  Art and Network Culture at the Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn, Estonia: the museum’s keynote exhibition for Tallinn’s year as European Cultural capital in 2011. Also, a solo presentation of ‘Flipped Clock’, curated by Richard Rinehart, will run from June 1st – August 31st 2011 at the Berkeley Art Museum, California.

Visualizing Europe, Barcelona

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Visualizing Europe
The Geopolitical and Intercultural Boundaries of Visual Culture
Second Conference of Visual Culture in Europe
University of Barcelona, April 11-12 2011

Following its successful launch at the Institute, with a conference at Westminster in February last year, the 2nd Conference of Visual Culture in Europe will be hosted by our partners at the University of Barcelona, Spain on April 11-12, 2011. The conference elaborates on the interplay between the geopolitical designs of the European Union and transnational visual cultures in the region. Taking as a point of departure the strategic expansion and uneven porosity of Europe’s political and cultural boundaries, this conference will explore the role that visuality has played in the process of reinvention and postcolonial relocation of the cultural image of the EU.
Further details and programme here.

As the academy turns

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For our Spanish friends: this coming Saturday 4th December, IMCC Director Marq Smith will be one of those contributing to As the Academy Turns, a three-day symposium organised as part of Manifesta 8 at CENDEAC, Centro Parraga, Murcia.

As the Academy Turns is a multilayered project exploring the potentials and the tensions in the growth of artistic research and the current academization of art education. The ‘academicisation’ of art is increasingly marked by the strong expectation of research trajectories and how these will be shaped within the changing institutional framework of art education. In that context, the present possibilities of PhD research within visual art are particularly at the centre of attention and debate. What do those challenges mean for the art academy as such? Will novel forms of academic elitism pop up or will research induce a novel form of intellectual conscience in the art academy? How will research and artistic practice be intertwined? Will they produce redefinitions in both domains or is research rather doomed to be a fringe phenomenon at the art academy? And the ultimate question, how will research be conducted within art academies?

The programme is here.

CRMEP Seminars

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Our friends at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, now safely relocated at Kingston University, have announced their list of seminars for the coming term.

7 October 2010             
Hegel, Kierkegaard and Mediation
Jon Stewart (Kierkegaard Research Centre, Copenhagen University)
Venue: Swedenborg Hall, 20-21 Bloomsbury Way WC1A

21 October 2010           
Philosophy, Capitalism and the Novel
David Cunningham (IMCC, Westminster)
Venue: Ramsay Lecture Theatre, UCL, 20 Gordon Street WC1H

26 October 2010           
Title ‘What is a Psychic Event? Freud and Contemporary Neurology on Trauma’
Catherine Malabou (University of Paris, Ouest-Nanterre)
Venue: The Churchill Room, Goodenough College, Mecklenburgh Square, London, WC1N

11 November 2010        
Between Sharing and Antagonism: The Invention of Communism in Marx’s 1844 Manuscripts
Antonia Birnbaum (Philosophy, University of Paris 8)
Venue: Swedenborg Hall

Hole in Time workshop: speakers announced

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The Hole in Time: German-Jewish Political Philosophy and the Archive
Date: Wednesday 23rd June – Thursday 24th June 2010, 9.30-6.00 

Venue: Portland Hall, University of Westminster, 4-16 Little Titchfield Street, London W1W 7UW

Left discussions of politics and history owe much to German-Jewish theories of temporality that emerged in response to the political crises of twentieth-century Europe; such theories helped to problematize both the life of the individual and how the state perceived it. The workshop ‘German-Jewish Political Philosophy and the Archive’ brings together interested parties to engage with the data collection and archival dimensions of German-Jewish conceptions of temporality, history and crisis, as well as the German-French dialogue in critical philosophy.

Speakers: Howard Caygill (Goldsmiths, London); Matthew Charles (Middlesex); David Cunningham (IMCC, Westminster); Rebecca Dolgoy (Montreal/ FU Berlin); Andrew Fisher (Goldsmiths, London); Sami Khatib (FU Berlin); Veronika Koever (Queen Mary, London); Nicholas Lambrianou (Birkbeck, London); Nitzan Lebovic (Tel Aviv/Sussex); Birte Loeschenkohl (Frankfurt); Manu Luksch (London); Andrew McGettigan (University of the Arts, London); Reut Yael Paz (RishonLeZion); Silvia Richter (Heidelberg); Shela Sheikh (Goldsmiths, London); Tommaso Speccher (FU Berlin); Elina Staikou (Goldsmiths, London)
Chairs: Paul Betts, Christian Wiese, Esther Leslie, Sas Mays, Leena Petersen, Keston Sutherland

Co-organised by the IMCC and Centre for German-Jewish Studies, University of Sussex

Visual Culture Studies in Europe: An Update

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Visual Culture Studies in Europe

Friday’s international conference entitled ‘Visual Culture Studies in Europe’, hosted by the Institute, was a huge success. A stella cast of leading academics, curators, and editors from Austria, Spain, Croatia, Norway, Belarus, Italy, England, and France including Iain Chambers, Oliver Grau, and Adrian Rifkin came together to discuss the study of visual culture within the context of European universities, art colleagues, and cultural institutions. The audience, a talkative mix of staff and students from Westminster as well as welcome guests from elsewhere in London, Brighton, and as far away as Lithuania, had a day to remember. The conference speakers, members of the Visual Culture Studies in Europe Network, plan to meet again next year, this time in Barca!

Visual Culture Studies in Europe Programme Announced

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Friday 5 February 2010

Room 2.05c, 4-12 Little Titchfield Street, University of Westminster, London W1W 7UW

Cost: £20/£10 concs.
Download a booking form here

10:00 Introduction

10:15-12:30 Session 1: Cartographies of Power
Iain Chambers, University of Naples, Italy
Joachin Barriendos, Curator, Santa Monica Art Centre, Barcelona, and Professor Anna Maria Guasch, University of Barcelona, Spain
Dr Almira Ousmanova, European Humanities University, Belarus/Lithuania

12:30-1:30 Lunch

1:30-3:45: Session 2: Education, Education, Education
Dr Joanne Morra, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, England
Lorraine Audric and Professor Andre Gunthert, Laboratoire d’histoire visuelle contemporaine, L’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales
Dr Nina Lager Vestberg, Norwegian, University of Science and Technology Trondheim, Norway

3:45-4:15 Break

4:15-6:30: Session 3: Projects
Dr Oyvind Vagnes, University of Bergen, Norway
Kresimir Purgar, Center for Visual Studies Zagreb, Croatia
Professor Oliver Grau, Danube University, Krems, Austria

Visual Culture Studies in Europe

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Friday 5 February 2010, 10am
Room 2.05c, 4-12 Little Titchfield Street, University of Westminster, London W1W 7UW
Cost: £20/£10 concs.
Download a booking form here

Featuring Joachin Barriendos (Curator, Santa Monica Art Centre, Barcelona, Spain), Jose Luis Brea (Editor of Estudios Visuales, Madrid, Spain), Iain Chambers (University of Naples, Italy), Anna Maria Guasch (University of Barcelona, Spain), Oliver Grau (Danube University Krems, Austria), Joanne Morra (Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, England), Almira Ousmanova (European Humanities University Belarus/Lithuania), Kresimir Purgar (Center for Visual Studies Zagreb, Croatia), Vivian Rehberg (Parsons Paris School of Art + Design, France), Marquard Smith (University of Westminster, England), Oyvind Varges (University of Bergen, Norway), and Nina Lager Vestberg (Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim, Norway). 

This conference is a collaboration between established and emerging scholars, curators, educators, and editors from across a number of European universities and cultural institutions with a commitment to Visual Culture Studies in Europe, and the study of visual culture. The event aims to:

•  Track the ongoing, uneven emergence in Europe of Visual Culture Studies as a field of inquiry across the Arts and Humanities.

•  Explore the ways in which these diverse trajectories in the emergence of the study of visual culture are historically and theoretically distinctive because of the unique characteristics of a specific country, location, language, peoples, their histories of migration, governmental policies, and the contexts within which universities function as sites for interdisciplinary learning.

• Interrogate some of the hazards of this distinctiveness – around, for instance, the hegemony of the Anglo-American, English as the lingua franca of the academic humanities, and questions of publishing and dissemination.

• Discuss how the advent of Visual Culture Studies, with its new ways of seeing, knowing, understanding, and participating might (1) extend our studies beyond the university (2) generate particular kinds of cultural practices, and (3) be itself responding to activities in anything from art and curating to policy making and industry initiatives.