IMAGES Journal for Visual Studies

events: Visual studies today: The power of images


Silva Kalčić
Neo-Orientalism in Visual Culture – Fashion in the Contemporary Photographic and Video Image

The presentation focuses on the subject of communicational and identification-related dimension of clothing and its semiotics, which has often been used as a subject and a medium in the context of the critique of neo-colonialism and in Edward Said’s concept of orientalization mechanisms (as in the work of Kader Attia). The photograph by O. Orsala for Reuters shows a girl in a red dress (denoting the anti-traditional milieu of its wearer), standing all upright and elegant in the Gezi Park, exposed to the water canon in the hands of a policeman from the security forces. The image of female martyrdom, the so-called “female piety”, has become a symbol of the Taksim revolution. This newspaper photograph may easily be thought to come close to Mayakovski’s definition of art from 1926, which claims it to be not a mirror to reflect the world, but a hammer with which to shape it. A contemporary version of the pietà theme can be found in the Gaza Funeral – November 20, 2012. Its author, Paul Hansen, has been deprived of a distinguished award because he had corrected the tones, brightness, and contrast in some segments of the wartime image by using computer software. However, the enhanced reality of the image has actually made it more fervent and more truthful. Today’s life consists of many different vernacular layers, as well as the layer of globalization: visual culture indicates the tensions between the coexisting worlds, while creating them at the same time.