IMAGES Journal for Visual Studies


Visual Construction of Culture

The Croatian Writers' Society, the theory, culture and visual arts journal Tvrđa, and the Zagreb Centre for Visual Studies organized an international interdisciplinary symposium entitled Visual Construction of Culture, held at the Mimara Museum in Zagreb on 26 and 27 October 2007. Over the past ten-odd years, the interest for the establishment of Visual Culture/Visual Studies as a new interdisciplinary field of scientific study has surpassed the boundaries of contemporary visual arts. As W. J. T. Mitchell, one of the leading theoreticians of visuality and the image in the media age, puts it, the new way in which images are created in the digital age requires a paradigm shift.

This visual, pictorial and cultural turn marks the liberation of the image from the dominant paradigms in language philosophy and from the prevalent iconology interpretations in art history. Today, the picture is understood as a medium of communication and as a contextual field of autoreferential denotation. It is no longer a "holy" picture or a picture of High Art, but a multiplied and networked world of visuality which demands its own new grammar, syntax, semiotics and hermeneutics.

Culture can no longer be explained by social identity theories. Visual culture is constructed autonomously and in the media age it is a prerequisite for the cognition of reality and its various interpretations. The Symposium will therefore focus especially on the need for a new approach to the concepts of picture, visuality and media in our time.

How do pictures function in the culturally pluralistic and ideologically hybrid postmodern societies? Why can the new picture only be understood in its (cultural policy-, society- and ideology-related) context?

Symposium Programme and Abstracts

Call for Participation

We cordially invite you to participate in the Symposium and contribute to the articulation of Visual Culture as a new scientific discipline dealing with the visual in the media age in Croatia and its wider European environment. During the two working days, discussions will focus on the possibilities of co-operation between the fields of art history, semiotics, philosophy, sociology, cultural and visual studies in the research of the:

  1. concept and phenomenon of the picture in the age of the iconic turn,
  2. mediological aspects of contemporary visual communication (e.g. the impact of new media art, as well as the mass media abolition of the borders dividing "high" from "low" art, popular from elite art production),
  3. representation of visual cultural identities (of pictures—icons—ideology).

Presentations by symposium participants, divided into three subject areas, will be limited to 20 minutes each, followed by a discussion. We are looking forward to welcoming you to Zagreb. All information concerning the Symposium organization, the participation fee, sojourn costs, accompanying events, and presentations of books and periodicals related to the Symposium topics are available at the Web site of the Centre for Visual Studies.

Working languages are Croatian and English.

Papers presented at the Symposium will be published in a special 2008 issue of the journal Tvrđa. You are kindly requested to confirm your participation by 20 August 2007. Please send your presentation title and summary (up to 200 words) by 15 September 2007 to, with the words "Symposium presentation" in the subject line.


Mr. Žarko Paić, PhD, Lecturer at the Faculty for Textile Technology and at the Academy of Fine Arts, University of Zagreb, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Tvrđa (

Mr. Krešimir Purgar, Senior Researcher at the Centre for Visual Studies, Zagreb (

Croatian Writers' Society
Tvrđa, Journal for Theory, Culture and Visual Arts
Basaričekova 24
10000 Zagreb

Centre for Visual Studies
Prisavlje 8
10000 Zagreb