Split, 27th – 29th October 2022
Formats of (Non)Seeing
[Photographic] “Images are significant surfaces. Images signify – mainly – something “out there” in space and time that they have to make comprehensible to us as abstractions (as reductions of the four dimensions of space and time to the two surface dimensions).”
V. Flusser, 2007
After its appearance in 1839, photography quickly became a participant, witness and chronicler of social and technological changes that would permanently transform the development of humanity, while the machine that writes in light and almost magically singles out moments from the space-time continuum, forever altered the way we remember, learn, share, receive and adopt information, seeping into every pore of the world we construct, reconfigure, and attempt to describe and understand. Therefore, it is no wonder that the question of what photography is – what makes it unique and exceptional is a central one if we want to understand the modern and contemporary images of the world. And we cannot answer this question without understanding the complexities of its history and theory, if not of photography itself, then of our own views and deliberations about it and the roles that have been assigned to it.
Therefore, this three-day international conference, organized as part of the scientific research project Exposition – Themes and Aspects of Croatian Photography from the 19th Century until Today, invites scientists in the field of humanities, social studies, technical and natural sciences, as well as artists, to submit their proposals, in the hope of gaining new insights into the multifaceted and multi-layered aspects of this medium and the changes of its performative aspects in the context of the transition from analogue into the digital age. The conference takes into consideration the possibilities and combinations of research, analytical, interpretative and performative approaches, reiterating the question of what photography is, what it does – yesterday and today, and what it may become tomorrow. Given the wide range of manifestations and the heterogeneity of photographic images, we strive to highlight the contexts within which these images are created and the realities they generate.
We invite you to submit your proposals related, but not limited, to the following topics:
Secondary knowledge/secondary authorship: what do we learn from photographic albums, found and “appropriated” photographs and portraits of anonymous witnesses?
Found photographs, that reach us from the periods of “unstable memories”, often point to the “insignificance” and banality of everyday life. They were mostly taken by people unknown to us, in whose hands the camera often exhibits its “unpredictability”. Benjamin’s well-known idea about the optical unconscious is one of the interpretative starting points in the encounter with amateur photography, thus far mostly neglected by critical consideration.
Photography as a “pedagogical tool” – towards a curriculum on photography
Perceiving photography as a framework, mechanism and/or strategy of creating, transferring, (re)evaluating and (re)articulating knowledge about culture, art, politics, daily life, natural phenomena, technology, economy and medicine, the conference aims to encourage discussion about the practices and possibilities of photography in classroom processes and teaching, as well as to initiate the envisioning and formulation of a multi-, inter- and/or trans-disciplinary curriculum on photography, by which we also “dare” to envision the future of this medium.
Photography – cause or consequence of discursive shifts?
We encourage proposals that consider photography as a strategy, practice and direction of anticipative thinking about society, community and the world. We are interested in the procedures of attributing meaning, as well as their deconstruction and semantic reattribution by means of photographic images. Furthermore, we are interested in the effect of indexing, i.e. including images of people in the form of museum inventory in the sense of “prey” to the camera and the voyeurism of the researcher.
Photography in sciences
Photography itself is a scientific invention. Therefore the multitude of its usages in different sciences, to which it serves not only for documenting and presenting discoveries, but also as a means of arriving at these discoveries is not surprising. The documentational aspect of photography, for instance in ethnology, forensics or psychiatry, very often reveals deeper epistemological concepts on which certain sciences are based in a given period, as well as the underlying relations of power.
Photographic criticism – written sources as the foundation of the history of photography
Photographic criticism as a discursive framework of circumstances on the photographic scene played a decisive role in establishing photography as an artistic mode, as well as in shaping the consciousness of the audience and the forming of principal stylistic periods and presentational strategies. Therefore, we would like to contribute to the discussion around historical and contemporary criticism of photography in a broad framework of its manifestations and aspects, to view criticism as an important factor in establishing the historical artistic canon, and to problematize historical and contemporary methodological approaches in writing the history of photography.
Constructing and deconstructing knowledge through photography
By introducing this topic we wish to focus on the processes of forming a contemporary photographic archive and beyond, and to consider the subsequent handling of photography, since the process of archiving is not a neutral endeavour. This topic wishes to encourage considerations about the processes of constructing and deconstructing knowledge through photography and about the transformation of photography into a research tool.
Photography, geopolitics, necropolitics
We wish to explore the historical aspect of the inventions and applications of certain recording devices aimed at advancing the technologies of warring, that is, their applications in the military industry. It is a well-known fact that, after a certain period, special cameras and recording devices invented for military purposes become available for civilian usage, therefore, we wish to highlight artistic practices that employ such highly sophisticated and exceedingly expensive technologies.
Submission of proposals (max. 250 words), along with a short resume (max. 100 words) in English, should be sent as a pdf file bearing the name of the presenter.
The proposal should contain:
– name and surname
– e-mail and postal address
– title of the presentation
– 3-5 keywords
– 1-2 visual examples in low resolution or a website link
– biography and affiliation (if applicable).
Application deadline: 1st May 2022
Applications should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Application deadline: 1st May 2022
- Notification on proposal acceptance: 1st June 2022
- Start of conference: 27th October 2022