IMAGES Journal for Visual Studies

events: Visual studies today: The power of images


Magda Szcześniak, Łukasz Zaremba
Iconoclasm and Counterfeit – Polish post-1989 Visual Culture

Almost two decades after the establishment of the first visual culture programs in the United States and Western Europe, visual culture studies are gaining prominence in Eastern and Central European university curricula. Drawing on our experience of working on the Polish reader in visual culture (Antropologia kultury wizualnej, ed. Iwona Kurz, Paulina Kwiatkowska, Łukasz Zaremba, University of Warsaw Press, Warsaw 2012) and first Polish MA program in visual culture (Institute of Polish Culture, University of Warsaw), in the presentation we would like to examine the dynamics of reinterpreting visual culture in the context of Eastern European history. What are the consequences of adapting Western-based curricula in non-Western contexts? What are the dangers and possibilities of national or area studies of visual culture? In our presentation, we'd like to offer two figures of post-1989 Polish visual culture – the act of iconoclasm and the counterfeit – and use them as a lens for a employing a cultural specific analysis of ways of seeing. The two figures will be employed to flesh out the ruptures and changes of ways of seeing and relating to images during the so-called transition period, as well as to reflect on the potentialities of visual culture as a political intervention within the Eastern European academia.