IMAGES Journal for Visual Studies


Image Science: Visualization and Contemporary Art

The Centre for Visual Studies has started a new scientific research project entitled Image Science: Visualization and Contemporary Art. Image science (Bildwissenschaft) is an articulated complex of newly emerged human sciences which since the period of the iconic turn at the end of the 20th century aim at investigating the epistemological problems of present-day visual culture. The main theoreticians of image science, such as Boehm, Belting, Grau, Sachs-Hombach, Wiesing and Groys, consolidated the understanding of the world of art as a changed relationship between life, technology, science and culture. The world view contained in the very fundaments of this new post-disciplinary science is the image generated artificially or as a form of art from technical information, thus turning into an interactive communication of a wide circle of users. In this way the traditional notion of visual art is replaced by the digital visual arts.

Project leader: Žarko Paić, PhD, Faculty for Textile Technology, University of Zagreb


Numerous theoretical studies within this paradigm of visual turn which over the past few years marked the theoretical reflection on the relationship between contemporary art and the media are primarily characterized by the German orientation toward the construction of a universal post-disciplinary theory of culture. In the Croatian theoretical literature production corresponding with the new notion and status of the image in the contemporary era, the critical evaluation of the relationship between philosophy, semiotics, art history, and social studies is increasingly engaged in a relevant global dialogue with the research in visuality world-wide. In recent years three relevant studies and an anthology dedicated to the reception of visual studies, visual culture, visual communication and media theory were published: Žarko Paić, Visual Communication, (CVS, Zagreb, 2008); Sonja Briski Uzelac, Visual Text, (CVS, Zagreb, 2008); Krešimir Purgar (Ed.), Visual Studies (CVS, Zagreb, 2009); Žarko Paić and Krešimir Purgar (Ed.), Visual Construction of Culture (Tvrđa/HDP/Antibarbarus, Zagreb, 2009). Without scientific research, which calls for further theoretical dealing with this subject matter, it is impossible to stay at the hub of global trends and at the same time articulate new ways of cooperation between philosophers, human scientists and visual artists. This is why for Croatian culture the project Image Science: Visualization and Contemporary Art is a necessary step in advancing the study of new cultural practices, of the dissemination of research into media art and culture and of the comprehensive transformation of culture as such.

This project is epistemologically and methodologically tied to the attempt to provide answers to the following questions, departing from the image science horizon:

  1. the possibilities and limitations of hermeneutics, deconstruction and semiotics in the reflection on the relationship between the media-constructed visuality of the contemporary world as a world of digital images and visual text;
  2. the theoretical foundation of a new, post-disciplinary theory of culture within the modified academic human sciences framework in Croatia, with a view to the need for a new interpretation of information and communication technologies (technoculture) in the interaction of human sciences with contemporary art(new media);
  3. the ways of representing theidentity of the subjects/participants of visuality in the context ofchanged social relations of power within the European intercultural space;
  4. the paradigm shifts ofimage-based communication in the new media practice in which visualityopens new perspectives for contemporary art and at the same time requiresreflection on the aesthetization of everyday life as a creative shaping ofthe living environment.

The research project Image Science: Visualization and Contemporary Art will last one year and strive to theoretically investigate the ideas, concepts and the complex configuration of different human science disciplines in the treatment of the main problem of the contemporary era, the media-based construction, representation and evaluation of art, which surpasses the hitherto existing aesthetic evaluation. The project will results in a series of contributions (treatises and essays) by the project participants.