Call for Papers

ECREA TWG Visual Cultures Conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Visual Cultures and Communication: Images and Practices on the Move

In visual studies, the question of how to apprehend images has been contested at least since WJT Mitchell’s call for a pictorial turn, defined ‘ex negativo’. While books on visual cultures, visual analysis and visual research abound, the kind of consideration that we should give single images is discussed from very different kinds of perspectives. While some suggest paying careful attention to visual detail, form, and motif, others call for a turn away from representations, suggesting that main attention should be given to the practices within which images become meaningful. While the latter approaches may question the usefulness of ‘representation’ per se, the former explicitly prioritize that which is made visible.

While the positions of how to approach images diverge, images as phenomena to be studied are themselves increasingly ‘on the move’. Operational images, part of complex logistical chains, are just one example of images on the move, that a human being might never get to see. But also photos used for phatic communication might be less important for what they show, in contrast to the social connections that they allow for. On the other hand, public and private environments are increasingly filled with screens that display images to be seen. Images travel between contexts, in time and space, asking us to constantly question who is looking and at what, and in what ways acts of looking play a role in this constellation. In short, both our understandings of how to approach images, and images themselves, are ‘on the move’.

This conference, organized by the ECREA TWG Visual Cultures, discusses the roles of images for visual analysis by focusing on images on the move. This entails work on images capturing movement of unfolding events, images themselves moving in time, space, and across media, as well as the theoretical and analytical approaches that are on the move. How should we work with images and practices on the move?

We welcome papers on topics including, but not limited to:

  • methodological approaches that focus on representational features of images and/or the flows, contexts and practices around images
  • researching the visual: new methodological approaches and challenges
  • visual ethics / ethics in visual research
  • studies or reflections on how to handle image flows and large (moving) sets of visual data
  • theoretical approaches on representational vs non-representational approaches
  • entanglements between the material aspect of images and visual practices
  • images and infrastructures
  • ‘fake news’ and the visual: verification of images
  • generic images, stock photos and images banks: modes of production, distribution and effects
  • digitally mediated visual communication in everyday life
  • images and popular culture
  • images and developers
  • phatic communication and the question of representation

Abstracts of up to 750 words, including a motivation for the study, information on theory/concepts used, data/phenomena analyzed and methods used, should be sent by 15 May 2019 with an electronic form HERE.

There will be a conference fee of ca. 120-140 Euros, and slightly reduced rates to PhD students and ECREA members.