[csaa-forum] What is the Contemporary Now?

Howard McNaughton howard.mcnaughton at canterbury.ac.nz
Thu Apr 28 16:50:57 CST 2005

Announcing a one-day conference,  University of Canterbury,  July 23, 2005


What is the Contemporary Now?


Current Issues in Visual Culture



Visual culture as a field of investigation is usually held to be concerned in some way with the contemporary, whether in art, other visual media or everyday life. 

But in these haunted and disjointed times, what does the contemporary mean? 

How does the study of visual culture include the past's contemporaneity without merely replicating the practice called history?

With which times are we together and with what others out of step? How are 'we' constituted by our time?

In the presumed "real time" of globalization are there still places and spaces that are out of time? 

Do the canonical indicators of late-20th-century cultural territory - gender, race and class - have any uses for this 21st-century field? 

What might be the place of Maori and other South Pacific cultures within the contemporaneity envisaged by visual culture? 

Does the field already suffer from an Anglo-Australian-American hegemony?

What do the disjunctures of now look like?  Are they only too familiar or peculiar to the moment?


Proposals for papers (lectures or seminars) are invited that address these and other related questions. Speakers may focus on any visual culture form, medium or material and should prepare for a 20-30-minute presentation. Interested participants are asked to submit a 200-word abstract to the conference organisers by 31 May. It is hoped that the the conference proceedings will subsequently be published.


Plenary Speakers:



Carol Mavor,  Professor of Art History,  University of North Carolina,  

Pleasures Taken: Performances of Sexuality and Loss in Victorian Photographs (1996),  Becoming the Photographs of Clementina , Viscountess Haywarden (1999).


on 'Happiness with a Long Piece of Black Leader: Chris Marker's Sans Soleil, 1982.'


(Chris Marker's  Sans Soleil and La Jetée will be screened the previous evening as a pre-conference event.)



Nicholas Mirzoeff,  Professor of Art and Art Professions, New York University.  

Bodyscape <http://www.frontlist.com/detail/0415098017> : Art, Modernity and the Ideal Figure (1995), Diaspora and Visual Culture <http://www.frontlist.com/detail/0415166705>  (1999),  Introduction to Visual Culture <http://www.frontlist.com/detail/0415158761>  (1999), The Visual Culture Reader (2nd ed.) <http://www.frontlist.com/detail/0415252229>  (2003), Watching Babylon <http://www.frontlist.com/detail/0415343100> : The War in Iraq and Global Visual Culture (2005)

on 'The Place of the "South": Minority and Visual Rights'


His paper:  'The Place of the "South": Minority and Visual Rights'


Nick writes:  "I would hope that the theme would allow for some discussion of the place of Maori and other South Pacific cultures within the frameworks advocated by visual culture as well as the place of Pakeha society within the frame of Anglo-Australian-American hegemony."


A webpage will be loaded in a week or so, containing a registration form and accessible through http://www.culs.canterbury.ac.nz/ 


Registration is likely to be $60, $40.


Abstracts of up to 200 words to howard.mcnaughton at canterbury.ac.nz ,  specifying whether a lecture or seminar-type presentation of up to 30 mins is proposed.



Howard McNaughton

Head of School of Culture, Literature and Society

University of Canterbury

PO Box 4800


Aotearoa New Zealand 





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