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The fact that we will live — or are already living — in a culture dominated by images is an assumption which is often used to paint a bleak picture of the future. In contemporary popular culture, the future is portrayed as an endless series of screen landscapes which transmit a flow of images that completely inundates defenseless viewers. Will the image really become so ubiquitous in the future, or will verbal culture based on experience gain more ground? And how will art be influenced by these developments? The recent and contemporary practice of art has placed the image in perspective, by both showing the strength of the image and by embracing production methods of art which are based more on text and processes. What is the future of the image in the visual arts?
JAMES ELKINS is an art historian and art critic. He holds a PhD in Art History, which he finished in 1989. Since then he has been teaching at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he is currently E.C. Chadbourne Chair in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism. His writing focuses on the history and theory of images in art, science, and nature. Some of his books are exclusively on fine art (What Painting Is, Why Are Our Pictures Puzzles?), other publications discuss scientific and non-art images, writing systems, and archaeology (The Domain of Images, On Pictures and the Words That Fail Them). He has also edited numerous volumes, among which the series The Art Seminar, on urgent topics in art history and aesthetics. Current projects include a series called the Stone Summer Theory Institutes, a book called The Project of Painting: 1900-2000, and a series called Theories of Modernism and Postmodernism in the Visual Art. His most recent book is What Photography Is, written against Roland Barthes’s Camera Lucida.
JALAL TOUFIC is a thinker and a mortal to death. He was born in 1962 in Beirut or Baghdad and died before dying in 1989 in Evanston, Illinois. He is the author of Distracted (1991; 2nd ed., 2003), (Vampires): An Uneasy Essay on the Undead in Film (1993; 2nd ed., 2003), Over-Sensitivity (1996; 2nd ed., 2009), Forthcoming (2000), Undying Love, or Love Dies (2002), Two or Three Things I’m Dying to Tell You (2005), ‘Âshûrâ’: This Blood Spilled in My Veins (2005), Undeserving Lebanon (2007), The Withdrawal of Tradition Past a Surpassing Disaster (2009), Graziella: The Corrected Edition (2009), What Is the Sum of Recurrently? (2010), and The Portrait of the Pubescent Girl: A Rite of Non-Passage (2011). Many of his books, most of which were published by Forthcoming Books, are available for download as PDF files on his website: www.jalaltoufic.com. He is presently a guest for the year 2011 of the Artists-in-Berlin Program of the DAAD.
MONIKA SZEWCZYK splits her time between writing, editing, teaching and curating. She is based in Berlin and in Rotterdam, where she has been head of publications at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, and a tutor at the Piet Zwart Institute since 2008. She has contributed essays to numerous catalogues as well as journals such as Afterall (print and online), A Prior, Camera Austria, Canadian Art, C Magazine, Mousse and e-flux journal (online), which has published installments of her ongoing project, Art of Conversation, essays about (interruptions of) discourse within and about cultural production.
MOOSJE GOOSEN is an independent writer based in Rotterdam. She studied Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam and contributes regularly to Metropolis M and Frieze, amongst others. She has written for, or in collaboration with a number of artists, and is a research/writing member of the Uqbar Foundation, initiated by artists Irene Kopelman and Mariana Castillo Deball. For Uqbar, she is currently developing a book series, titled A Certain Chinese Encyclopedia, the first two volumes of which (on phantom limbs and dinosaur fictions, respectively) will appear next year. Since October 2011, Goosen is co-coordinator of the Curatorial Programme of de Appel arts centre in Amsterdam.