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[Commlist] MAST Journal: call for abstracts: Automating Visuality
Thu Feb 04 12:57:23 GMT 2021
MAST: The Journal of Media Art Study and Theory
CFP special issue:
AUTOMATING VISUALITY: THE IMAGE BEYOND REPRESENTATION
Kathrin Maurer, Lila Lee-Morrison & Dominique Routhier (University of
Deadline for abstract submissions: 15th February 2021 (for publication
in November 2021).
Today, it is no longer merely human labor power but also the labor of
looking that is potentially rendered superfluous by automation. Whether
in the routine inspection of manufacturing processes, the interpretation
of drone surveillance footage, or the curating of fine-art, we are
witnessing what the art critic Hal Foster describes as “the gradual
automation not only of labor and war but also of seeing and imaging.”
While the human remains in the loop in most cases, the “robo-eye”
increasingly substitutes for human judgment in such diverse contexts as
drone warfare, preventive policing, border control, insurance and tax
collection, medicine, consumerism, online social interaction, and art.
Current developments in machinic vision—including drone sensors, pattern
recognition, artificial neural networks, spectral imaging, and lidar
technologies—are profoundly challenging ideas of vision and visuality as
intrinsically related to human perception and understanding. Scholars
and artists, in turn, have developed a host of new concepts—the
operational image, soft image, post image, differential image, invisible
image, to name a few—that address changes to the image-form and to the
late-modern paradigm of visuality. While some scholars claim a loss of
representation, others see new non- or posthuman representational
mechanisms emerging through machine vision processes.
Whether celebrated or shunned, AI-powered machine vision unsettles
entrenched notions of meaning and interpretation while highlighting
discontinuities between machinic and human scales of sensing,
perception, and judgment. The automation of visuality is pushing the
image to the limits or even beyond the perimeters of traditional
theories of representation. Do we in the humanities still know what an
image is, how it functions, what it represents, to whom it matters, and
why? Perhaps “art history,” as artist-theorist Hito Steyerl
provocatively asks, was something like “an anticipatory tutorial to help
humans decode images made by machines, for machines?”
For a prospective interdisciplinary special issue, we ask contributors
to take stock of the automation of visuality and to reflect upon
questions related but not restricted to the following:
– What new forms of machinic vision bring historical paradigms of the
image into relief in fields such as media studies, art history, media
aesthetics, cultural theory, communications studies, and visual culture
– How does the advent of automating visuality intervene in and change
the cultures and technical procedures of film, photography, and art
– In what specific ways are practicing artists and curators negotiating,
addressing, criticizing, and interpreting representation in the context
of machinic vision?
– How do the mechanisms of representation in machine vision processes
intervene as forms of “social sorting” and subject formation, especially
regarding race and gender identities?
– How does the image-form retain value and meaning in the context of
specific contemporary uses of machinic vision (e.g., in drone
surveillance, automatic facial recognition systems, preventive policing,
border control, and other relevant contexts)?
– How do new forms of machine vision map onto the larger cultural and
political conditions and shifts within our current conjuncture?
We invite interdisciplinary contributions that bring into dialogue
perspectives from e.g. visual culture, art history, literature, media
studies, science and technology studies, cultural studies, gender and
sexuality studies, critical race theory, and other related fields in the
humanities. Independent scholars and artists are also encouraged to
submit. We particularly welcome submissions that closely analyze
specific visual technologies and their possible contexts of application.
Please send your abstract of 300-500 words accompanied by a short
biography to Dominique Routhier ((dominique /at/ sdu.dk)
<mailto:(dominique /at/ sdu.dk)>) no later than February 15, 2021. Notification
of acceptance will be sent on March 1, 2021. To submit, no payment from
the authors will be required.
For more info, see MAST website:
MAST <https://www.mast-journal.org/> is an online, open-access, and
double-blind peer-reviewed journal, featuring interdisciplinary
scholarship in the domain of media art study and theory.
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