[artinfo] Media Art Conference: ANNOUNCEMENT & CALL FOR PAPERS

medienkunst-datenbank.de info at medienkunst-datenbank.de
Thu Aug 18 17:15:00 CEST 2005

Call for Papers

Do we have an Image Problem?

Performance and Media Art caught between Art 
History and Visual Culture Studies.

The first Media Art Conference in Osnabrück will 
take place from the 15th to the 17th of May 2006 
as a three-day specialist symposium at the 
University of Osnabrück and is sponsored by 
Department of  Kultur- und Geowissenschaften. It 
will be held immediately following the 19th 
European Media Art Festival (EMAF, 10th to 14th 
May 2006), one of the largest media art events in 

The conference will focus on the growing affinity 
between art forms produced, experienced and 
distributed by the media on the one hand and the 
highly debated iconic or pictorial turn on the 
other. One of the central issues will be to 
question whether the recently developed aesthetic 
terminology can sufficiently deal with the time- 
and action-oriented art forms of performance and 
media art.

In addition to a number of distinguished experts 
invited to present papers, the speakers will 
include young scholars as well as contributors 
selected on the basis of the abstracts they 
submitted to this call for papers.

Enclosed you will find further information 
concerning the background and objectives of the 
conference. Please do not hesitate to ask us 
questions at any time.

We would be very pleased to include you among the 
speakers or authors for our planned publication.

Topics for Talks and Articles

1.	Performance and media art in the context 
of the contemporary debate between art history 
and Visual Culture Studies and where art history 
is positioning itself in relation to Visual 
Culture Studies, Media Studies and Cultural 
2.	Media art, art history’s cultural 
orientation and the scientific modus operandi 
given the wide range of methodologies and the 
overlap of genres.
3.	Examples of art historical and media 
studies descriptions and analysis of performance 
and media art.

In addition to a description of content, the 
abstracts for papers (c. 400 words) should 
clearly demonstrate both their relevance to the 
theme of the conference and their originality.

A publication of the conference findings is 
planned. All contributions will be considered.

Please submit your abstracts by 30 October 2005 to the EMAC office:

Media Art Conference Osnabrück


Universität Osnabrück
Fachbereich Kultur- und Geowissenschaften
Katharinenstraße 5
49069 Osnabrück

Juniorprofessor Dr. Slavko Kacunko (Organisation)
skacunko at uni-osnabrueck.de

Priv. Doz. Dr. Habil. Dawn Leach (Organisation)
dr.leach at kunstakademie-duesseldorf.de

Björn Brüggemann (Büro)
bjbruegg at uni-osnabrueck.de

Phone: +49 (0)541 969-6041
Fax: +49 (0)541 969-4103


The first Media Art Conference in Osnabrück will 
direct attention to timely questions confronting 
art history, in particular the multimedia aspects 
concerning the production, critical appraisal and 
dissemination of performance and media art. Thus 
the following aspects will be addressed:

·	art history’s repositioning itself in 
relation to Visual Culture Studies, Media Studies 
and Cultural history

·	the development of a modus operandi which 
takes into consideration a wide range of 
methodologies and the interpenetration of 
different genres

·	the description and analysis of media art 
in the face of the instable status of the work 
concept in Media Art, and art in general

The key issues to be addressed by the first Media 
Art Conference in Osnabrück can be summarised by 
the following question:
Given the increasingly complex demands which the 
wide range of visual, media, critical, 
performance, cultural and gender studies exert on 
the teaching and research environment, how can 
the history of art maintain its ability to deal 
aptly with representations, new media and art and 
simultaneously incorporate interdisciplinary 

By focussing on time- and action-oriented art 
forms, the traditional discourse will be 
broadened to include the following questions: Can 
an (inter)active beholder play an integral role 
in the making of a work of art without 
jeopardising its intrinsic artistic value or 
reducing the “autonomy of the work of art” to a 
mere attribute? Where exactly do performance and 
media art fit into the already inflated body of 
terminology for denoting images?

A glance at the large number of university 
graduates dealing with art and visual culture 
(Berlin, Frankfurt, Karlsruhe, Basel) documents 
the current popularity of the image-discourse. 
Similarly, the flood of specialist literature in 
recent years as well as related conferences (e.g. 
Art Historians Day, Bonn 2005) confirm this trend.

If we take a look at the origins of performance 
and media art in the 1960s and 1970s and the 
subsequent development of the iconic/pictorial 
turns, the suspicion arises that recent efforts 
to expand the boundaries of art history to absorb 
current visual culture occurred in part to 
circumvent the challenges posed by these new art 

By investigating art forms which defy traditional 
definition while exploring the definitions 
themselves, this conference will attempt to graft 
these two ambivalent discourses. At the same time 
it will lay the foundations for a 
reinterpretation of the relevant academic fields. 
An impressive series of arguments presented by 
artists, art historians and experts in media 
studies address the need to conjoin these 
conflicting fields of study.

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