1 The Base, the Bedy and Sexuality. Taken as a whele, these ee essays ereeide a cemerehensiue reseense in the Elie-Er- sity ef centemeerary Ii'isuial culture. File:Mirzoeff Nicholas ed Visual Culture Reader 2nd mtn-i.info mtn-i.info (file size: MB, . The Visual Culture Reader brings together the key writings in the exciting new The Reader covers a wealth of visual forms including photography, painting.
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this thoroughly revised and updated second edition of The Visual Culture Reader brings together key writings as well as specially commissioned articles. Visual. Culture. Reader. Second edition. Edited by. Nicholas Mirzoeff. R Routledge. Taylor & Francis Group. LONDON AND NEW YORK. Ten years after the last edition, this thoroughly revised and updated third edition of The Visual Culture Reader highlights the transformed and expanded nature.
In the English context, it is often said that the first avowedly visual culture journal is Block, fifteen issues of which were produced by academics based at Middlesex University - then Middlesex Polytechnic - between and The diversity of books addressing visual culture is certainly testament to the potential historical range and geographical diversity of the study of visual culture, the array of themes Visual Culture Studies is willing to address, that comprise it even, and the multiple methodological practices it is able to put forward in order to engage with the objects and subjects and media and environments included in and thus composing its purview.
It is also worth pointing out that these books consider all manner of visual culture - from high culture to popular, mass, and sub culture; from the elite to the everyday and the vernacular; from the marginal to the mainstream; from the ordinary to the extraordinary - and that the objects and subjects and media and environments embraced by Visual Culture Studies can include anything from painting, sculpture, installation and video art, to photography, film, terrestrial, cable, satellite television, the internet, and mobile screenic devices; fashion; to medical and scientific imaging; to the graphic and print culture of newspapers, magazines, and advertising; to the architectural and social spaces of museums, galleries, exhibitions, and other private and public environments of the everyday.
Interestingly, these books recognise most acutely the points where images and objects and subjects and environments overlap, blur, converge, and mediate one another. See Rogoff , In addition, as I have already mentioned, these books present us with an almost inexhaustible diversity of critical tools, models and methods, and mechanisms and techniques, as well as tropes, figures, modalities, and morphologies. And they do so both to engage with the objects and subjects and media and environments of visual culture themselves and to facilitate our doing so by providing us with the meanings by which to grasp, understand, and navigate the numerous historical, conceptual, and contemporary ways of seeing, practices of looking, scopic regimes, and visual metaphors that are crucial to our encounters with visual culture and our studies of it.
It seems that visual culture is everywhere, and thus nowhere, wholly over-determined and almost meaningless simultaneously. What is astonishing about 7. On mobile screenic devices see Cooley On scopic regimes see Jay There is a concern, of course, within discussions of Visual Culture Studies that the phrase can be applied in such undifferentiated and homogenising ways.
The answers to this question very much depend on the specific nature of the inquiry undertaken in each book. Alpers , See also Alpers and Jay Is it a sub-discipline, a component or an off-shoot of a more established discipline such as Art History or Anthropology - or even of a newer discipline such as Film Studies or Media Studies? Is it, like Cultural Studies, what we might call an inter-discipline-something that exists between disciplines and emerges from within this grey area so that Visual Culture Studies operates between visual cultural practices and ways of thinking?
Is it indeed the spark itself created by either the sympathetic or the hostile friction of disciplines rubbing together? Or is it something else altogether? Entertaining these questions of disciplinarity reveals that there are a number of interwoven accounts of the genealogy or the emergence of Visual Culture Studies as a discursive formation.
The two often cited winners of this contest are Michael Baxandall for his Painting and Experience in Fifteenth- Century Italy, a social history of style and the period eye, and Svetlana Alpers for The Art of Describing: Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century, a study of 17th century Dutch description, representation, images, appearance, cartography, and visuality.
Crimp , See Jones , 2. It is worth noting that those mentioned are firmly established within the discipline of Art History. Incidentally, for all the emphasis that Visual Culture Studies is said by its detractors to place on analyses of the contemporary, it is well worth noting that these so called earliest instances of visual culture analysis are of fifteenth-century Italian and seventeenth-century Dutch culture.
The practices of pedagogy: One more useful account of the emergence of Visual Culture Studies as a field of inquiry charts its historical development back to the s and s in the university, former polytechnic, adult education, and art and design school sector of the British education system. In conversation. As a history of Visual Culture Studies that emerges specifically from pedagogical and practice-based imperatives, in the main this is a push to encourage students to think outside of or past the tenets of formalism within the discourse of Modernism.
The limits of disciplinarity: Concomitant with this account, another suggests that Visual Culture Studies as a reasonably distinct series of interdisciplinary intellectual practices surfaces around the same time, and that it is brought on by feelings of discontent experience by academics struggling within Art History, Design History, Comparative Literature, and other disciplines in the Humanities to become more self-reflexive about their own disciplinary practices.
Individuals, clusters of academics, and in some cases whole departments are frustrated by what they feel are the limitations of their own discipline: what subjects and objects can they include in their purview? What range of critical tools do they have at their disposal, and do they have the wherewithal to wield them?
How best to motivate their students in a critical analysis of the historical, conceptual, and aesthetic nature of an ever-changing visual culture? Needing to converse with new visual, tactile, sonic objects of convergence, as well as other spaces and environments-how, for instance, would the discipline of Art History deal fully with the intricate and inter- sensory multivalences of performance art or video art or installation art or site- specific art?
Clark, Linda Nochlin, and Baxandall, scholars began to pay close attention to allied developments in Film Studies, in particular For more on issues raised in points 3 and 4 see Walker and Chaplin At the same time, they began to integrate the interests of Cultural Studies-just as Cultural Studies had drawn on Anthropology.
For while questions of class and gender and race had already been integral to the development of the New Art History, Cultural Studies offered a means to address analogous concerns focusing more on the ordinary, the everyday, and the popular and on the politics of representation, difference, and power in ways that reminded us how cultural practices themselves do make a difference.
Here Visual Culture Studies, like Cultural Studies before it, begins to function as an inter-discipline, drawing from existing disciplines and ways of thought, and because of it finding techniques to articulate the objects of visual culture differently. Conferences and programmes: Still another flashpoint in the development of Visual Culture Studies is the period in which two events took place.
The first was a conference on vision and visuality held in at the Dia Art Foundation in New York. The proceeds of this event went on to appear as the influential collection Vision and Visuality, edited by Foster.
This programme, which had graduated many students that have gone on to transform scholarship in the arts and humanities in the last two decades, celebrated its 20th anniversary with a conference at the end of September ; just last month. Firstly, because introducing such accounts of the emergence of Visual Culture Studies as a potentially legitimate discipline makes us aware of the fact that it does have its own distinct, albeit interwoven, histories that need to be acknowledged and articulated.
For a field of inquiry that is so often accused of ahistoricism, it is imperative to recognise that Visual Culture Studies did not simply appear from nowhere, as if by magic, at some point in, say, the late s but does in fact have a series of much longer divergent and interconnecting genealogies.
The status of Visual Culture Studies continues to be hotly contested, and everyone has a different story to tell about the origins of Visual Culture Studies. As Martin Jay points out, Visual Culture Studies did become an academic, intellectual, and publishing juggernaut in the s-the number and range of books I listed above testifies to this. From their inception, such questions necessarily plague, challenge, and offer ways forward for disciplines themselves.
October is well aware of this. In working with and against other disciplines and between fields of inquiry, following its counter- or anti-disciplinary impetus it has led to disciplines questioning their own foundations and imperatives, even as it has also displayed outward hostility towards the prospect of its own conditions of possibility. Perhaps even more importantly, it has found its own methodologies and its own objects of study.
In so doing, it can all too easily lose sight of its drive to worry or problematise other disciplines. It must remember to continue plotting a fractious course between disciplines, learning from them and teaching them lessons in return; and to continue engendering new objects or mobilising more established things in new ways, by carrying on doing the work that it does. Bal This conception of Visual Culture Studies as an indiscipline is very appealing.
Likewise in suggesting that this field of inquiry has the potential to be an example of interdisciplinarity in an Rogoff , What does this actually mean?
Bal , 23; Elkins , 30 In order to confront these challenges, this project cut across and between fields of inquiry such as art and architectural history, fine art practice, cultural geography, postcolonial studies, critical theory, anthropology, and philosophy.
Because of this dual focus, in putting the project together, it soon became apparent that no one person was capable of doing this on her or his own, and that conversation or discourse between individuals-whether they agree with one another or not-was the most productive way to proceed. To this end, I decided to assemble a group of individuals who, together, could realise such a project: the Italian academic Giuliana Bruno from the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University, whose writings cut across the fields of geography, art, architecture, design, cartography, and film, and whose thought is both materialist in its attention to history and rhythmic in its rhetoric; the Each of these individuals was asked to participate in this research project because the character of her or his practice-as writers, curators, and makers - emerges out of a sensitivity to the complex nature of our visual culture.
As such, each of them offered a chance to inscribe the possibility of a nuanced encounter with visual culture itself, and with each other, which is not determined in advance.
In order to carry out its task of thinking the general and the particular at the same time, the project had to do two things simultaneously. On the one hand, it should be self-reflexive; on the other hand, it needs to be attentive to detail. That is to say, on the one hand, it should be speculative and curious about its own practices, its own conduct, its own mechanisms.
To this end, it drew on and engaged critically with visual and textual archives engravings, illustrations, paintings, and photographs, postcards, documents, and texts-images, objects, artefacts, and items that are all simultaneously both visual and textual relating to forced migration to Kingston-upon-Thames and its environs.
In so doing the project was to generate debate on the themes of nation, exile, belonging, slavery, cultural memory, and geographies or topographies of travel, making use of various local archives and museums, including the Kingston Museum and the Kingson Local History Centre, and interrogate these and other unique archives as well as the local census, Parish records, and cemetery records. The research was to begin in the middle of the eighteenth century, the first point at which tangible records are made of a black presence in Kingston and its neighbouring districts.
These records show the arrival in Kingston from Senegal of the five year old Caesar Picton, who was presented by Captain Parr to St.
John Philipps of Norbiton, for whom he began working. Picton was later made a free man and set himself up as a successful coal merchant and gentleman.
His former residence, Picton House, where he lived from until , is a site of local interest and its former resident has been commemorated with a plaque. This biographical narrative would have formed a starting point for the research project.
In what ways do history, cultural memory, museology, and heritage contribute to the facts and fantasies of nation, landscape, and geographies, cartographies, and visual iconographies of travel? And what can these visual and textual archives, these histories and biographies, tell us about the experience of new ways of living in exile as a member of a migrant population?
See Figures 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. As I pointed out at the beginning of this article, there are always more questions than there are answers, and learning how to ask the right questions is key to the study of visual culture, as it is to any critical study. In this instance, asking these F i g u re They are made, constituted, by way of the project, by way of the encounters between individuals thinking through a specific topic, and between the historical, conceptual, and material specificity of that topic.
Research itself, then, becomes determined by the interdisciplinary nature of the material gathered for the project, in the project, that comes together as the project. It is through debate, collaboration, self-reflexive practices, and convergences between methodologies, archives, encounters, objects, subjects, media, environments, and ways of seeing and doing that a visual culture study takes shape.
And it is only in this taking shape, through such contingencies, that pressing questions are asked, uncertainties, understanding, and knowledge is generated, unexpected insights come to the fore, and new objects of visual culture become known to us.
Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Alpers, Svetlana Write a review Rate this item: Preview this item Preview this item. The visual culture reader Author: Nicholas Mirzoeff Publisher: London ; New York: Routledge, Print book: The diverse essays collected here constitute an exploration of the emerging interdisciplinary field of visual culture, and examine why modern and postmodern culture place such a premium on rendering experience in visual form. Allow this favorite library to be seen by others Keep this favorite library private.
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