Visual Culture

Francis Maravillas
This course offers an analysis of the field and practice of visual culture and an overview of the key theories and issues that attend its diverse contexts and mediations. Focusing on the ways in which we negotiate the world through visuality and visual ecologies that pervades our everyday life, the course will critically examine the politics of the visual, and the role diverse ways of doing, making and seeing play in producing cultural meaning, power relations and political imaginaries. Through a range of critical writings and specific case studies, the course offers a critical vocabulary for understanding the practices and pleasures of seeing and looking, the visual apparatus of spectatorship and surveillance, the politics of representation across a variety of media and within local and global contexts, and the modes of visual activism that engage questions of history, politics and identity within and across human and more-than-human worlds. A wide variety of visual technologies, forms and practices will be examined with particular attention to the crossovers, collusions and anxious dialogues between art and the fields of photography, film, fashion, design, architecture, animation, video games and digital culture.
Curriculum syllabus
Topics covered include: 
What is Visual Culture? 
Modernity and Visuality
Spectacle, Display and Surveillance 
The Photographic Image
Art and Documentary
Art and the Expanded Cinema
Art and Science Collaborations 
Chic Thrills: Fashioning Bodies and Identities
Visual Economies of Style
The Art-Architecture Complex 
The Aesthetics of Visual Protest 
Digital Aesthetics 
The Biokitchen: microbial ways of knowing and being 
Visualising the Anthropocene
Indicative references
Annie Dell’Aria (2021) The Moving Image as Public Art: Sidewalk Spectators and Modes of Enchantment, Palgrave Macmillan
Charissa N. Terranova_ Meredith Tromble (eds) (2016) The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture, London and New York, Routledge
Donna West Brett and Natalya Lusty (eds.) (2018) Photography and Ontology: Unsettling Images, London and New York, Routledge
Erika Balsom (2013) Exhibiting Cinema in Contemporary Art, Amsterdam University Press
Eyal Weizman (2019) Forensic Architecture: violence at the threshold of detectability, Zone Books 
Francesca Granata (2017) Experimental Fashion_ Performance Art, Carnival and the Grotesque Body, London, IB Taurus.
Jens Eder and Charlotte Klonk (eds) (2017) Image operations_ visual media and political conflict, Manchester University Press
Lachlan MacDowell and Kylie Budge (2022) Art After Instagram: Art Spaces, Audiences, Aesthetics, London and New York, Routledge
Laura Marks (2002) Touch: Sensuous Theory and Multisensory Media. University of Minnesota Press 
Nicholas Mirzoeff (2023) White Sight: Visual Politics and Practices of Whiteness, MIT Press 
Nicholas Mirzoeff (2016)  How to See the World: An Introduction to Images, from Self-Portraits to Selfies, Maps to Movies, and More. New York: Basic Books
Nicholas Mirzoeff (2011) The Right to Look: A counter-history of visuality, Duke University Press,
Sean Cubitt (2014) The Practice of Light: A Genealogy of Visual Technologies from Prints to Pixels, MIT Press 
T.J. Demos (2017) Against the Anthropocene: visual culture and environment today, Sternberg Press
WJT Mitchell (2005) What do Pictures Want? The Lives and Loves of Images. Chicago: University of Chicago Press