Deadline: March 1, 2022
Whatever we call image today has for sure a different definition than that of its previous definitions suggested in a number of study areas such as history of art, aesthetics, critical theory, media, and cultural studies. As a matter of fact, W.J.T. Mitchell presents us a quite broad perspective with his categorical distinctions about what we should understand by graphic, optical, perceptual, mental, and verbal images, and how we should connect the images in our minds with words and pictures. Moreover, with his conceptualization “pictorial turn”, Mitchell states that visual studies in this era have a different and special status in comparison to the past. Today, we live in a culture pretty much formed by a universe of images that goes far beyond the paintings of Giorgio Vasari in the 16th century.
In light of the technological developments of the last four decades, visual culture comes into prominence more than before. It is an interdisciplinary study area that considers both traditional images and new technological appearances of images. As is very well known, the 1980s were the years of a paradigmatic change in social sciences and art studies in terms of methodology and perspective. In the same way, also the history of art has undergone a paradigmatic change. Accordingly, unlike the art historians of the Renaissance, the art historians such as Svetlana Alpers and Michael Baxandall argued that representations did not originate solely from a one-way relationship between the artist and the art. The common ground of both of these art historians was that productions of art were the consequences of the cultural features of their time. They argued that the Renaissance periods in the Netherlands and in Italy were stylistically and contextually sui generis experiences due to the cultural periods they were passing through. In view of this approach, pursuing the social life of images turned out to be more attractive than the images themselves. In other words, rather than centering the image as artwork and focusing on the production processes, how the images are looked at and perceived is questioned.
We can definitely claim that the suggestions of Alpers and Baxandall are still relevant in this century. However, the greatest difference is that the image they focused on is still the object of the history of art. Whereas today we know by experience that our knowledge of seeing is not only limited to the universe of visual arts like the Dutch bourgeois of the 17th century. Then, we have been long ahead of the limited universe of images constituting the visual culture of the Dutch bourgeoisie, which is mostly comprised of oil paintings.
Here we talk particularly about a visual life world that originated along with the modernization period, proceeded by means of the voyeuristic/scopic regime in the 19th and 20th century, and reached its peak in the era of converging communication and media technologies that juxtapose different images ranging from ultrasound to the images taken by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
As Nicholas Mirzoeff points out, the period we live in has changed the spatio-temporal conditions where visual culture dwells, and transformed the production, distribution, and consumption practices of image making. According to him, the specificity of the field we call visual culture today should be elaborated even further. In the visual culture of the 1990s images were positioned within some specific spatio-temporal settings such as movie theatres, museums, galleries or even the living rooms of homes through television. Whereas today, images are limitless and everywhere. To put it explicitly, today there are more than 50 billion images shared only on Instagram, and 5 billion videos watched in 3.25 billion hours on YouTube. Comparing this visual flow to the golden age of the Netherlands between the years 1640-1659 in which almost 1.4 million paintings were produced, it is possible to claim that today the image has not only risen in quantity but also become highly varied, and has become an inseparable part of our personal and collective lives. In line with all these, we can also say that images alone constitute a visual culture that, alongside new media opportunities, rearranges our relationship to images. Not only do we go toward the images, but the images also come to us. Not only do we look at them, but they also look at us. As average people, we go beyond being only the consumers of images and become producers as well. Moreover, digital technologies have considerably destabilized the defining characters of the image. The issues of image authenticity and uniqueness, as well as ownership and copyright processes in digital media, are becoming increasingly complicated. Along with them, also the theoretical discussions regarding these issues flourish.
In the same line, the questions regarding the power of ‘the gaze’ are constantly being reformulated as well. For instance, feminist and postcolonial approaches attempt to decode the asymmetry in the relationship between the ones that look and others that are being looked at. In coherence with this critical intervention, there are also certain approaches that read the current regime of the image with a critical point of view and call us to see the Eurocentric ‘gaze’ buried in images by exemplifying the fugitive colours and figures of the Eastern painting. They provide a never-ending discussion around visual culture and ideology with a new context and perspective.
With this call for papers, we want to question the visual culture that completely inhabits and surrounds our lives. Below you can find the suggested topics for the Visual Culture issue. However, you may submit your papers on other topics provided that they are included within the theme of the issue.
- Defining Visual Culture
- Visual Culture and Ideology
- Visual Culture and Gender
- Visual Culture and Photography
- Visual Culture and Cinema
- Visual Culture and Art
- Journalism and Photography
- Television Narratives and Popular Culture
- Visual Culture and Video Games
- States of the Image
- Photography and Digitalization
- Digital Culture and Imagery
- Social Media and Visual Contents
- Relationship between Representation and the Other
- Discipline, Surveillance and Panopticon
- Western and Eastern Images
- Visual Culture and the Body
- Visual Sociology
- Visual Anthropology
- Visual Culture and (Post-Neo) Colonialism
- Visual Culture and Memory
- Technology and New Images
- Relationship between the Image and Emotion
- Imagery and Methodology
- From Iconography to Iconology
- Media Archaeology and Images
You can submit your papers until March 1st, 2022:
Unfortunately, we do not accept papers out of the theme.
Gülsüm Depeli Sevinç & Tolga Hepdinçler