IMAGES Journal for Visual Studies
Published by
cvs_center for visual studies_zagreb
ISSN 1848-9478


Realities in pictures: body, movement, culture


Barbara Baert
Wind—On a Pictorial Quintessence

The wind only allows itself to be seen indirectly: swaying trees, waving grass, fluttering textile. Yet we can feel the wind. And hear it. Wind brings scents. Wind is a cosmic breath. Wind binds and drives apart. Wind nourishes or destroys. For all these reasons and more, wind embodies a hermeneutics of the association between freedom and attachment, between the unexpected and fate. But is there such a thing as an iconography of this caprice? How are we to understand the representation, evocation and suggestion of wind? How does one contain pictorially this natural phenomenon that envelops and penetrates us? And is wind in the visual arts a motif or rather a formal affect? More

Souzana Mizan
The Enemy Renarrated: Beyond Culture Clash

National Geographic magazine’s visual and verbal representations of “exotic” or “Other” cultures have for more than a century formed people’s opinions and knowledge around the world in relation to these people. This article is an attempt to prove that these representations can never be objective or “purified” from the ideological, social, cultural or historical context of the creator of the images and discourse. Through my analysis of National Geographic’s visual representation of Iranian identity, I interrogate representation and the knowledge it produces and I show that the reading it makes of the world one among many possibilities available. More

Marijan Krivak
Against the Media – The Media of Resistance

Contemporary praxis of mediation, and a phenomenon usually known as »media theory«, brings with itself the issue of epochal break with traditional culture of textuality, and all inherited ways of knowledge transmission. This represents conceptual narrowing of media to machines for electronic and digital processing of verbal, visual and sonic information.
McLuhan`s hot media of print and papers were replaced, at the beginning, by cold media of TV and movies, and finally, by even cooler medium, the computer, and »the coolest of all cold beasts« – the mobile phone! This paper is directed against media. But, for critical discourse on media and its manipulative role, it is necessary to know how to use properly – the very same media! Besides this, it is the intention of this strategy to use it as political weapon/toolkit. Only then, we should say that post-ideological ideology of overwhelming domination of culture is deconstructed. »The world after media« (Agentur BILWET) is in fact a political slogan that leads this paper. More

Petra Krpan
The disintegration of body: contemporary fashion and new media

The work, titled The Disintegration of Body: Contemporary Fashion and New Media explores the possibilities of body as a subject of contemporary fashion within new media. Can we still speak of the subject of contemporary fashion in the era of new media? Applying various theoretical frameworks by – respectively – Jean Baudrillard, Roland Barthes, Gilles Lipovetsky, Yuni Kawamura and others, this work aims to demonstrate a manner in which the fragmentation of identity in contemporary fashion arises. Contemporary fashion is revealed as a condition for body’s existence in new media, since it possesses the permanent capacity for revisiting the past. The potentials of bodies in new media within the contemporary fashion’s form lay inside the processes of constant morphing and fragmentation. These processes influence forming the identity of contemporary fashion’s subject. The identity of contemporary fashion’s subject is now destroying the existent whole, in which it was previously acting. The impossibility of finding the identity comes from the fluidity and constant acceleration of new media. In this manner a fluid identity is formed. The impossibility of fixating the identity – and therefore of fixating the body in contemporary fashion within the new media activity – is a consequence of new media’s simulation. Contemporary fashion is being articulated as a new language pertaining to a fashion system. The question of time and space in the context of text, image and body opens up the debate on whether digital technology has changed the traditional manner of understanding the relation between reality and its construction or, rather the contrary, the technology of creating new digital image has influenced the contemporary art’s imagination, by linking the previously separated fields of sensorium. The arising questions touch on possibilities of the originality of body in new media and body’s destiny in contemporary fashion. Which is a role of the subject of contemporary fashion and, moreover, which is a role of the subject of new media in general? Is it the case that today new media are actually the condition for subject’s existence? Despite the peculiar amputation, new media form both the body and the perception of body. What is being demonstrated and shown in new media’s simulation is neither real nor fake body. The result is that the body in contemporary fashion is displaying the visible consequences of morphing, fragmentation and immersion. Can we continue to speak of the subject of contemporary fashion? If we know that the subject is lost in the web through the fragmentation of identity, then we have to emphasize that substance is failing to appear in actual subject’s forming. All the bodies within the system of contemporary fashion become codified. The body disintegrates and breaks the whole, wherein it was active before. The disintegration of the whole leads towards the split of body in new media. New media now define what will the body be like. However, this is not in McLuhan’s anthropological sense, where media are the extensions of senses. The body in contemporary fashion cannot exist without new media, since the latter don’t provide fashion with possibility for adaptation within web, within levitation between no-place and no-time. The body in contemporary fashion and new media is disintegrated, a union between animate and inanimate, a reflection of the world image we are living in today. More

Mirela Ramljak Purgar
The influence of film on the “Brücke” group printmaking

In an attempt to define the directions of mutual influences between the expressionist art media of printmaking and film in early 20th century Germany, this work commences by arguing that expressionist film, made in the time of “mature silent film” (from the end of the World War I to the advent of sound film), arose within the context of influence of “the congenial current” in painting, literature, theatre and music (Peterlić). However, we shall explore the other direction – the influence that the film as new media has exerted on “traditional arts”. In this matter, the crucial shift in exploration seems to be the one where exploration’s gravity centre moves to the benefit of printmaking media. Namely – alongside drawing’s influence – the printmaking’s radical attitude acted as a carrier of “whose significance surpassed that of painting”. (M. Moeller). Also, we start from D. E. Gordon’s theoretical claims arguing that expressionist art emerged as an eclectic product of diverse influences. Employing the selected examples from the printmaking oeuvre of  the “Brücke” group members, we have endeavoured to detect the modes of pictorialization of film language, and we have done so by reviewing film time and film space, montage procedure and narration. In this sense, we can speak of the influence that the early film has exerted on “the first big phase of expressionism”. This work suggests that when it comes to the expressionist “Brücke” group – especially in the medium of printmaking – the concern is the contemporaneity versus the film media, the latter’s expressive means being synchronous to the innovations in the expressive means of printmaking. In other words, the printmaking, on its innovative path from 1904 to the middle of the 1910s, has followed the comparable creative reaches of film. Of course, by saying this we wish to state that these influences came from those expressive means that were characteristic of film as new media, and not necessarily from a connection with expressionist film. We have analysed formal procedures and the gradual inclusion of observer’s position, both of which components are re-examined by modern art. The argumentation leads us towards a conclusion not only that printmaking has influenced film, but that the film in its early phase also essentially influenced printmaking. More

James Elkins: Images as Arguments in Visual Studies

The text presented here is part of the introduction to a book I have edited called Theorizing Visual studies. It is being written entirely by graduate students around the world. The book will be published in 2013, by Routledge (New York and London). The book has two purposes. First, it is an attempt to produce an anthology, or textbook, for the study of the visual, which is not written by middle-aged professors (like me!) but reflects the interests of the current generation of scholars. Second, it is intended to interrogate the role of the visual in visual studies, art history, Bildwissenschaft, iconology, and related fields. Increasingly, visual studies has become a theory-driven enterprise in which images provide only an illustrative function: they illustrate theories that are often taken from philosophic sources. In this book, every image has to do more than just illustrate points made in the text. This excerpt sets out my ideas about how that can be done. More