Theorizing Visual Studies: Writing Through the Discipline

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Airborne Horses Mike Gibisser 2. Anaesthetics Kristi McGuire 3. Animal Michelle Lindenblatt 4. Animations Nea Ehrlich 5. Arial Arden Stern 6.

Ars Oblivionalis Thomas Stubblefield 7. Artifact Lucian Gomoll 8. Augmented Reality Horea Avram 9. Breathing Vivian Li Collecting Josephine Landback Decolonial Lara Haworth and Nicole Cormaci Diaspora W. Ian Bourland Double-Consciousness Cara Caddoo Eleventh Prismatic Samantha Topol Ephemeral Cecilia Aldarondo Experimental Geography Andrew Wasserman Fetish Johannes Bruder Filiation Simon Ferdinando Frame R. Gordon Iconoclash Julia Sonnevend Imaginary W.

Keith Brown Imaginary Twin Kristi McGuire Intertitles Jana Zilova Invisibility Maureen Burns It is also abstract in two other salient senses. The book is abstract in the sense that it is a redescription of the sort that might be, effectively, a different discourse or language from the one it addresses. I have already made several remarks on that, regarding visual studies.

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And third, the book is abstract in that its argument relies on the stability of terms that are newly minted, or redefined from their vernacular usages. These newly minted terms do several specifiably different kinds of work, and have specifiably different relations to the art-historical and philosophic discourses that inspired them.

I want to close with an abstract meditation on this third sense of abstraction. The word is signaled as a technical term by the fact that it is set in italics. More on them in a moment. Davis also means succession to denote a complex process, including recursions, although sometimes recursions and successions are presented separately. Recursion, the sometime synonym for succession, is also subject to some latitude. It transmutes their like-lookingness into looking-likeness. More exactly, it replicates. Here recursion is inversion, not repetition.

The difference matters, for example, when recursion is listed alongside reversion.

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Stan Allen. However, for several decades now, a wide range of scholars and critics have begun to ask questions about the ways the particular physical embodiments of a book affect the way readers experience the text it conveys to them. She is interested in: politics of technology, artificial intelligence, the future of work, and uncertainty. Everything about the graph can be controlled with the programming language. In some respects this book is a new world, and the first introduction is therefore a guide to some book other than this one: it would fit a more historically oriented anthology of visual studies, of the kind more likely to be written by established scholars. Terra Infirma.

The great virtues of this are the crystalline clarity it produces and the open-endedness it permits him. Image copyright and courtesy of: the artist. Reprinted with permission of the Claude Cahun Estate. Gordon Matta-Clark , Copyright and image courtesy of: Adagp, Paris, Copyright: Jacques Lacan. Copyright: Matthew Barney, Photo by: Chris Winget. Faile, Photograph by and permission courtesy of: the artist. Photograph by: Alicia Chester, Pepper under a Creative Commons license. Image courtesy: project website. Photograph by and image courtesy of: the author.

It is a collection of brief essays and images that can be used to think about visual studies and its neighboring fields such as art history, visual communication, and visual anthropology. It is not a reader or an anthology, and it does not rehearse the accepted concepts and methods of visual stud- ies or other fields.

With the exception of this Preface and two of the Introductions that immediately follow, it was written entirely by graduate students around the world. It began in in Chicago, at the School of the Art Institute, as an idea to write a next-generation reader for visual studies. I thought it might be interesting to avoid the usual anthology, and instead let graduate students write about their own concerns.

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In fall , about ten graduate students devised a set of concepts that would organize the book. We held a call for entries; students were invited to choose their own topics, concepts, and images. In that way we gathered over 60 more contributors, and we put the results on a publicly accessible wiki. At that point about 10 graduate students at the School of the Art Institute were contributing and also managing the call for papers.

Things evolved: we had the wiki, and soon we also had a Ning social networking and blogging site , a Facebook page, a Google docs site, and a site called EditMe.

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It was a complicated project! In there was a second international call for papers. During this entire period the group in Chicago was editing the submis- sions, and the authors who had been accepted were revising their papers. Other people involved at the beginning were J. Eduardo Vivanco participated in spring We even- tually settled on about fifty essays.

In the end it took over four years to assemble this book. The content and arrangement of the book are entirely student-driven and collabora- tive. I have read all the texts in the book, and in most cases I have suggested multiple revisions. My own position in relation to visual studies is only reflected in the two Introductions I contributed. If I had assembled this book as an ordinary edited volume, it would have been completely different.

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This forward-thinking collection brings together over sixty essays that invoke images to summon, interpret, and argue with visual studies and its neighboring. Theorizing Visual Studies: Writing Through the Discipline: Media Studies Books @

The student group at the School of the Art Institute is responsible for the bulk of the substantive editing. The result is a truly international, interdisciplinary look at what counts as interesting research on vision and visuality in the second decade of the century. The book is fluid in relation to disciplines; it is frequently inventive in relation to guiding theories; it is unpredictable in its allegiance and interest in the past of the discipline.

In all those ways, it reflects the ongoing growth of visual studies. The Topics in this book are intentionally brief. Most focus on just a few lines or para- graphs of a text and just one or two visual objects. So instead of trying to do justice to authors or artists by taking large sections of their work, as in ordinary readers and anthologies, we focus on passages and images that we feel are crucial.

If you are new to visual studies, this will provide a succinct summary of the history of the field. We were surprised, when we assembled this book, that so few of the graduate student authors engaged that history. In some respects this book is a new world, and the first introduction is therefore a guide to some book other than this one: it would fit a more historically oriented anthology of visual studies, of the kind more likely to be written by established scholars. I decided to include it here to indicate some of the distance between the concerns of this book and the picture of visual studies that might emerge from the existing literature.

Some of those reasons were practical, but others were structural, in the sense that they are built into the field. Its subject is the place of the visual in visual studies, and specifically the possibility that images might lead the argument—that they might provide their own theories, have their own power, their own say in the structure of visual studies.

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So far that idea has been mainly rhetorical; this introduction attempts to provide a theory of how images might become more than illustrations of textual arguments. It is an introduction, or a proposal, for a form of visual studies that is still being conceptualized.

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But we think that suits visual studies. In the fall of , when this book was substantially complete, I taught a course at the graduate program at Williams College; one of my students, Carolyn Geller, assembled an internet survey and sent it to the authors of this book. We asked them a number of questions about what journals they read, what art they studied, and whether they had tried mak- ing art.

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The results were often surprising. The Text Boxes are therefore intended as a fourth way—after the three introductions—to think about what kind of visual studies is represented in this book. This is to save space; the internet obviates the neces- sity for full printed references. For beginning students, a selection of Topics might be helpful to give a flavor of the field.

In the early s, it was a new subject, and it seemed fairly straightforward. To do that, visual studies called on a group of theorists that had sometimes been overlooked by art history, including Michel Foucault, Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, and Jacques Lacan.

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Since then, studies has become remarkably complex. Historically, visual studies used to be understood as an outgrowth of British cultural studies in the s. Stuart Hall, Raymond Williams, and others were its touchstones. Recently, writers have become more attentive to the multiple histories of the field. A third history begins with Aby Warburg or Alois Riegl, and leads through German-lan- guage art history to what is currently called Bildwissenschaft. A fourth history, pursued mainly in the U. A fifth comes through deconstruction and literary criticism, by way of Marshall McLuhan and Fredric Jameson.

These and several others are now recognized as the multiple par- ents of practices that might very well not be a coherent whole. That book grew out of a week of seminars held in Chicago in summer ; it contains extensive documentation for the subjects mentioned in this introduction. It would probably be possible make an alphabet of places visual studies is taught.