IMAGES Journal for Visual Studies


Visual Studies Today – The Power of Images

The past two decades have witnessed a large increase in academic interest in all visual phenomena, including those strictly visual – from painting and film to experimental video and multimedia installations – as well as all forms of applied arts: graphic and industrial design, fashion and advertising. In many countries, this interest in visual practice is accompanied by the interest in visual theories, primarily in the new disciplines of visual studies that have been gaining academic legitimacy at universities worldwide.

Visual studies has emerged as the result of a parallel expansion that occurred respectively in the fields of art history and film studies, whose radical members have converged particular theories of still and moving images towards an integral science of images. After W.J.T. Mitchell and Gottfried Boehm have sanctioned the pictorial turn as the basic interest of hypermedialized society, it became clear that various visual phenomena demanded a much wider theoretical platform, one which would take into consideration the definitive erasure of borders between high and low art, between elite and popular culture, as well as between creators and consumers of visual messages.

For the first time in history, the users of images became their creators, as part of  an unrestrained circular process, wherein images yield new insights, and insights demand their instantaneous pictorial foundation. The development and expansion of telecommunication technologies have transformed the traditional technical images into a new communication code accessible to everyone. However, does this accessibility at the same time imply that the new communication code is intelligible to everyone using it? Do we really know what the images are telling us, what they want from us or what it is that we want from them? Do we know in which way the most recent research in technoscience proves, through visualization, its radical tenets on complex biocybernetic systems, and how the notion of image gets inscribed into the performative bodies of art and fashion today?

The international scholarly conference Visual Studies as Academic Discipline has gathered a wide circle of university-oriented theorists, so that they can jointly consider the ways in which they deliberate and teach about images, primarily about their overlapping meanings that arise through the intermedia networking of various visual practices, as well as through the interdisciplinary analyses of contemporary theories. The conference aims at examination of the theoretical legitimacy of a wide field of visual representations – art, film, photography, design, fashion and performance. It also wishes to consider the disciplinary status of actual visual studies as an (established) scientific paradigm.

Subversive Art & Theory is a series of public lectures, presentations and round-tables aiming at approaching a wider audience and involving it in a discussion with both our local and international speakers around topics that concern everyone of us.

Our four-day programme brings into focus the central issues of contemporary theory and art practice:

  1. The theoretical and disciplinary status of visual studies – two decades after the pictorial turn
  2. Visual studies as a “radical” version of art history or a critical detour
  3. The epistemological aspects of visual studies in university curricula
  4. The potentials of the applied science of images: theoretical interactions between art, film, design, fashion and performance
  5. "Non-disciplinarity" as an approach to the multimedia image of the world
  6. Fashion studies today: from the theory of fashion to the design of body
  7. Performance at the crossroads: between artistic practice and politically

The conference is organized within the activities of the workgroup Visual Culture in Europe, and is the fourth such event, following those held in London (2010), Barcelona (2011) and Trondheim (2012).

The Conference will take place at the Faculty of Textile Technology in Zagreb, from 7th to 8th November 2013.

Keynote speaker:

Plenary speakers:

Members of the workgroup Visual Culture in Europe:

Scientific and organisational board:


Center for Visual Studies, Zagreb; Tvrđa – Magazine for theory, culture and visual arts; Croatian Writers’ Society; Faculty of Textile Technology, University of Zagreb; Association “White Wave”, Zagreb          

The Conference Visual Studies as Academic Discipline is endorsed by The International Association for Visual Culture.