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Representational Revolution:  the backcloth to an argument

Representational Revolution: the backcloth to an argument

‘Image making is often considered one
of the unique and quintessential competences
of Homo sapiens sapiens, differentiating
the subspecies, for example, from H. sapiens
neanderthalenis and from earlier hominds.’

From Whitney Davis’ paper ‘The Origins of Image Making’
[Davis, 1986, Jun., Vol. 27, No. 3, p. 193.]

The nineteenth-century is characterised by an energy for, and an enthusiasm about, the representational which has outstripped anything before, or indeed since, in its general range and basic inventiveness. During a handful of decades the representational was, to an unprecedented degree, mechanised, democratised, popularised, and humanised. For instance, the mechanisation of the representational is most readily pegged out between markers such as the discovery of photography in the 1830’s; the first recording of sound in 1877; and the invention of wireless and cinematography in the 1890’s.[i]

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The speed of a Dream

The speed of a Dream

“Te yo taln ten nanatil lux cuxul sol xchulel ten lumaltic" (1)

In the misty, inhospitable mountains of Chiapas Mexico, the Zapatista rebel army continues to defend its territory from attack. But the government imposed media silence means that no news of their activities, or evidence of their existence reaches the outside world: a strategic cultivation of amnesia. Knowing that if they are forgotten, they will be massacred, the Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional (EZLN) or Zapatista National Liberation Army has organized activities to invite researchers, students, artists and activists from around the world to apply for one of their escuelitas (schools of life). Being accepted means an invitation to come and live briefly in the communities but (unlike much ethnographic work) here the community itself sets the agenda and terms, date of entry and departure and all the activities in between.

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The Amazons First Ladies Fire Brigade, Australia

The Amazons First Ladies Fire Brigade, Australia

“What shall we do with our girls” is a personal narrative that tells a little of the journey that emerged as a result of uncovering “The Amazons” and subsequent images. The photographs were generative of other creative works. As a result of the photographs, I collaborated with costumier Gracie Matthews to reproduce the operational and dress uniforms of The Amazons. These were then paraded by contemporary female fire fighters as part of my key note address to the Australasian Women in Fire Fighting Conference, Sydney Australia, June 2006.

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People Apart: 1950s Cape Town Revisited. Photographs by Bryan Heseltine

People Apart: 1950s Cape Town Revisited. Photographs by Bryan Heseltine

People Apart: 1950s Cape Town Revisited. Photographs by Bryan Heseltine offers a rich and fascinating insight into South Africa at the very beginning of the apartheid era through Bryan Heseltine’s previously unpublished photography of the early 1950s.

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News/updates

CALL FOR NOMINATIONS FOR GRADUATE STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE

The IVSA is governed by its Executive Board, which consists of President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Technology Advisor, Visual Studies Editor, Graduate Student Representative and nine elected Board Members.

The following IVSA Executive Board position is now open for nominations and self-nominations:

  • Graduate Student Representative (GSR)

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Call for Proposals to Host Annual Conference

The IVSA has launched a call for proposals from individuals and organizations interested in hosting our annual conference. Proposals are being accepted for 2019, 2020 and 2021.

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  • You try your hardest to give people their space, but at moments you know you’re capturing their image in ways they may or may not be okay with. It’s that rocking back and forth between respect and betrayal that I feel like is at the heart of the film.

    Kirsten Johnson

  • Watching a documentary with people hacking their way through some polar wasteland is merely a visual. Actually trying to deal with cold that can literally kill you is quite a different thing.

    Henry Rollins

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    Every photograph promises more than it delivers and delivers more than it intended.

    Steve Harp

  • Give us adequate images. We lack adequate images. Our civilization does not have adequate images. And I think a civilization is doomed or is going to die out like dinosaurs if it doesn’t develop an adequate language for adequate images.

    Werner Herzog

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    Sometimes one picture is equal to 30 pages of discourse, just as there are things images are completely incapable of communicating.

    William S. Burroughs

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    Reality changes; in order to represent it, modes of representation must change.

    Bertolt Brecht

  • We never really know what’s around the corner when we’re filming – what turn a story will take, what a character will do or say to surprise us, how the events in the world will impact our story.

    Barbara Kopple

  • If you want to tell the untold stories, if you want to give voice to the voiceless, you’ve got to find a language. Which goes for film as well as prose, for documentary as well as autobiography. Use the wrong language, and you’re dumb and blind.

    Salman Rushdie

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    If it’s far away, it’s news, but if it’s close at home, it’s sociology.

    James Reston

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    The function of sociology, as of every science, is to reveal that which is hidden.

    Pierre Bourdieu

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    There are dignified stupidities, and there are heroic stupidities, and there is such a thing as stupid stupidities, and that would be a stupid stupidity not to have a camera on board.

    Werner Herzog

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    The task for sociology is to come to the help of the individual. We have to be in service of freedom. It is something we have lost sight of.

    Zygmunt Bauman

  • Photographers learn to interpret photographs in that technical way because they want to understand and use that ‘language’ themselves (just as musicians learn a more technical musical language than the layman needs). Social scientists who want to work with visual materials will have to learn to approach them in this more studious and time-consuming way

    Howard Becker

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    Visual culture is now the study of how to understand change in a world too enormous to see but vital to imagine.

    Nicholas Mirzoeff

  • Before I became a film major, I was very heavily into social science, I had done a lot of sociology, anthropology, and I was playing in what I call social psychology, which is sort of an offshoot of anthropology/sociology – looking at a culture as a living organism, why it does what it does.

    George Lucas

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    One advantage of photography is that it’s visual and can transcend language.

    Lisa Kristine

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    For any picture, ask yourself what question or questions it might be answering. Since the picture could answer many, questions, we can decide what question we are interested in.

    Howard Becker

  • I believe that we face incredible obstacles in our attempts to see the world. Everything in our nature tries to deny the world around us; to refabricate it in our own image; to reinvent it for our own benefit. And so, it becomes something of a challenge, a task, to recover (or at least attempt to recover) the real world despite all the impediments to that end.

    Errol Morris

#Visualsociology

SocialScienceInsight

Spanish-themed bathroom art. The best kind. #visualsociology

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