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


Visual studies: Critical and historical assessments


Krešimir Purgar
Visual Studies and the Pictorial Turn: Twenty Years Later

In this paper I will try to emphasize some key points in the conversation that has started two decades ago, after Thomas Mitchell and Gottfried Boehm had proclaimed the advent of the so called pictorial and/or iconic turn. During the last twenty years discussion on visual studies has been to a large extent metatheoretical in nature, aimed at a disciplinary framing of the new intellectual endeavor. But over years, as a parallel process, the disciplinary discussion started to dissolve into a much more nuanced approaches regarding particular topics in art, film and popular culture that themselves subsequently started to feel more comfortable and less “framed” in the evolving area of visual studies. Nevertheless, the discussion still doesn't seem to be over and values and goals of visual studies still don't seem to be defined.More

Marko Stamenković
Trans-Modern Perspectives: On Imperialist and Anti-Imperialist Epistemological Visions

This paper assumes that a critical visual theory and, accordingly, the critical perception of the world at large, make part of the critical theory of society. In what follows, I will discuss their relation to the imperialist and anti-imperialist (visual) epistemologies in order to bring forward the need to look at the world from the viewpoint(s) of the ‘South’ – the place from which our contestation and decolonization of sovereign epistemic power must begin through plural and radically counter-hegemonic (trans-modern) perspectives. More

Silvia Casini
Guided by Images: From Jean-Luc Godard to Brain Scans

This article seeks to critically engage with Elkins’ urging that “visual studies as a discipline needs to find ways to be guided by pictures rather than ways of explaining pictures” (2013: 29). It considers two cases of images that resist interpretation by means of written words. The first case is Je vous salue, Sarajevo, a short video from Jean-Luc Godard’s experimental cinema; the second is a brain scan coming from the biomedical field. What kind of theoretical and practical strategies can be put at work to recognize the capacity of these images to act as arguments, rather than taking them as inert objects to be looked at? The article engages with Godard’s “anti-montage” and morphology as two ways that visual studies scholars have at their disposal to challenge the relationship between images and theory. More

Ilaria Fornacciari
The Complexity and Stark of Pictorial Knowledge: About Foucault Reading Panofsky

In his short and intense critical review (published in 1967) about the two works of the German art historian Erwin Panofsky, Michel Foucault looked at the operation of the father of iconology not only as an innovation in the context of art history, but more generally as a signal of turn in the way we approach the field of relations between texts and images. In this prospective, Foucault's analysis can be read as an astonishing prevision. He pointed out two large displacements following from Panofsky's works: 1) The abolition of the privilege of discourse, and 2) the problematization of the function of representation. I will focus on the epistemological character and outcomes of these two radical operations through comparative analysis between some theoretical notions used by the art historian in his works and some constitutive elements of Foucault's archaeological analysis. More

Nemanja Zvijer
Presenting (Imposing) Values through Films. The Case of the Yugoslav Partisan Films

The text discusses how the Yugoslav socialist system's main values had been treated in the partisan films, but only in so-called “filmed offensives”. Those films are Kozara (Kozara, 1962), Descent on Drvar (Desant na Drvar, 1963), The Battle of Neretva (Bitka na Neretvi, 1969), The Battle of Sutjeska (Sutjeska, 1973), The Republic of Uzice (Užička republika, 1974), The Fall of Italy (Pad Italije, 1981), The Igman March (Igmanski marš, 1983), depicting seven military operations of German army and its allies against Yugoslav partisans during the World War two. After the war, those battles had become very important points of remembering and the narration of “seven offensives” was a prism for reducing the complexity of that war in collective memory of Yugoslav people. In that sense, films about those events have had special status in Yugoslav society and culture. Between many important values, text deals with socialism (as a basic system value), irreligiosity, collectivism, egalitarianism, multi-ethnicity and national equality. Those values are not considered per se, but how they were constructed in the selected films. More