The construction of photography visuality in contemporary art

TitleThe construction of photography visuality in contemporary art
Publication TypeConference Paper
Author(s)Gonçalves, F. do N.
Affiliation (1st Author)State University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Section or WGVisual Culture Working Group
DateWed 26 June
Slot CodeVISW4a
Slot Code (Keyword)VISW4a
Time of Session16:00-17:30
RoomHelix - The Gallery
Session TitleVisual Art and Visual Culture
Submission ID5608

This text discusses the contemporary condition of photography in the art field. As most of photographic images in contemporary art point out to a curious recurrence of themes and categories that can be seen at least since the sixteenth century painting and also in the nineteenth century photography, it will be of interest to investigate the conditions of photography visuality from the notion of "anachronism"(Didi-Huberman, 2000; Arrasse, 2007; Poivert, 2010). For French art historian Didi-Huberman, “anachronism” is a critical evidence of the persistence of different issues and images from other historical times in the present. It is also a field of relationships and tensions that allow us to questioning our contemporary condition as it makes visible the ways we see things and build their visibility (Crary, 1992). Such notion relies either on Walter Benjamin´s concept of historical time as saturated of different temporalities, and on the notion of the “afterlife of image” by Aby Warburg, who thinks in terms of a "transport chains of images over time", or of lines of transmission of visual characteristics among images over time. So the text suggests that contemporary photography, particularly in the art field, is a “sociotechnical” network (Latour, 2008) made possible by a complex construction of heterogeneous elements which organize its visuality according to precise regimes of enunciation that Jacques Rancière (2009) called “the share of the sensitive”. So the construction of photopraphy visuality in the present – the modes of production, circulation and legitimation - is to be considered here as communicative and relational phenomenon which is not limited to image itself nor reduced to its meaning as representation. Avoiding to deny either its documentary or its expressive aspects, we sugest that the modes of presence of contemporary photography can be seen as a trace of a set of relations that organize their "making" (Maynard, 1997) and at the same time as an evidence of what gives their meaning and legitimacy in social field, particularly in contemporary art. So, by comparative anachronic analisys of different genres of images (mostly painture and photography), the text will discuss contemporary photography from the plots and “anachronisms” which seems to organize the modes of production and circulation of photographic image today in order to make evident the aspect of construction of image either as a cultural, historical, technical, esthetic and communicative object. In so doing, we expect to better understand the processes that make possible certain ways of seeing and also of producing images and of making them visible nowadays. Finally, such processes of construction are of interest since they allow us to analyze the constitution of our perceptions of the world in the present and of our contemporary condition.

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