Media

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    "Visual Agnotology: Visual Production and Maintenance of Ignorance" by Chloe Hansen

    “Visual Agnotology: Visual Production and Maintenance of Ignorance”

    Chloe Hansen

    Relationships between knowledge and the visual continue to receive scholarly attention and deservedly so in our image-driven age. However, the flipside of those relations – the relationships between ignorance or not-knowing and the visual – has not been as explicitly addressed. This visual rhetoric and visual culture project draws on the concept of agnotology – the study of the social construction and maintenance of ignorance – to examine the roles of images in producing and perpetuating the absence of knowledges. Considering the three forms of ignorance explored in existing agnotology scholarship – recognized gaps in knowledge that we work to fill; overlooked or forgotten areas of knowledge; and areas of knowledge foreclosed by strategic plot – I examine some of the ways artifacts give visual form to the unknown or unknowable, specifically focusing on Colin Powell’s 2003 address to the UN Security Council. My goal is to begin to address a dearth in visual rhetoric literature on ignorance by demonstrating that visuals play a central role in constituting “unknowability,” thus limiting the conditions of possibility for knowledge. By considering not only what is made known or knowable via images but also what is erased, marginalized, denied, or otherwise made unknowable through visual representation, this exploration of visual agnotology works to expand understandings of visual rhetoric and conceptions of the knowledge work done by visuals more broadly.

    Categories: 
    • Debating Visual Knowledge
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    "The Representation of Intersex Bodies in Klonaris/Thomadaki's Multimedia Practice" by Laura Giudici

    “The representation of intersex bodies in Klonaris/Thomadaki’s multimedia practice”
    Laura Giudici

    The core of my research is centered on the body, identity and visual representations of intersexuality. Where medicine and art meet, this topic is inevitably involved in delicate philosophical, social and cultural issues. These images are challenging to the art historian, opening a wide spectrum of methodological questions. From which perspective should these pictures be analyzed? How is it possible to develop a suitable interdisciplinary approach?

    The multimedia practice of the duo artists Maria Klonaris and Katerina Thomadaki is a very good example of how these issues can be integrated. Two series of works – Cycle des Hermaphrodites (1982‐1990) and Cycle de l’Ange (1985‐2003) –, are focused on intersexuality, both of which question in different ways the problem of the migration of images and ideas. The starting point for the first series was the famous sculpture of the Sleeping Hermaphrodite and, for the second, an anonymous medical photograph of an intersex person. Using different media approaches, the artists metamorphosed these pictures in many ways, combining them with other elements to create immersive visual and sound environments, thereby evoking links between the past and the present, as well as imagination and reality. The result is a work which not only addresses concerns of gender and (post‐)identity, but also technological, intermedia and interdisciplinary issues related to artistic practices. Another interesting aspect of Klonaris/Thomadaki’s projects is their reflection on an alternative understanding of performance and perception.

    The concept of “Nachleben” as investigated by Aby Warburg and the anthropological approach theorized by Hans Belting seem to offer efficient instruments for analyzing these two series of works. It is nevertheless necessary to combine them with other methodological points of view and the theoretical assertions made by the artists themselves to arrive at a thorough comprehension of their visual world.

    Categories: 
    • Debating Visual Knowledge