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Visual technologies: Critical encounters

Humanities Faculty Research Theme

Visual culture and art as commodity have been profoundly affected by contemporary technological conditions in which the linear has become deeply infused with an almost acoustic simultaneity and the stable has been forced into dialogue with the fragmentary and the decentralised. The  'Visual technologies: critical encounters' project aims to take a critical look at the specific place and role of visual technologies in shaping cultures and identities in a sense where the word 'technology' is not used in any typically mechanistic or utilitarian logic. Rather it points to Marshall McLuhan’s idea of technologies or media as “extensions of ourselves”. For the purposes of this research project, technology is thus regarded as a prosthesis that introduces a new scale into our encounters with the world and leads to the production of visual culture of a specific kind, inviting critical speculation on a range of visual technologies and contexts. In their digital, curatorial, archival, creative and theoretical dimensions, visual technologies have the potential to develop trans- and cross-disciplinary discourses within academic disciplines in the humanities, as well as within the spatial, informational, medial and conceptual dimensions of society. The research will investigate vision, visuality and ocularcentrism in its technological dimensions and will lead to both text-based and creative outputs.


Project Managers:

Prof Jeanne van Eeden, Visual Studies, Department of Visual Arts, UP
Prof Lize Kriel, Visual Studies, Department of Visual Arts, UP

Distinguished scholars: 

(2014-15) Prof Chris van T’Hof, Artesis University College, Antwerp

(2016) Prof W.J.T. Mitchell, Gaylord Donnelley Distinguished Service Professor, Departments of English, Art History andVisual Arts, The University of Chicago (in 2016)

PhD student: 
Fatima Cassim, Information Design, Department of Visual Arts, UP

Core team members:

Visual Studies
Prof Amanda du Preez
Rory du Plessis
Jenni Lauwrens
Karli Brittz

Fine Arts
Nicola Grobler
Avi Sooful
Pieter Swanepoel
Dr Johan Thom

Information Design
Fatima Cassim
Suzette Snyman
Anneli Bowie
Dr Duncan Reyburn

Current postgraduate students who will be involved
Leana van der Merwe (MA student)
Karen Mentz (MA student)
Sikho Siyotula (MA student)

Other potential members of the research team  include:
Dr Jacob Dlamini, Writer in Residence, UP
Prof Thias Kgatla, Faculty of Theology, UP
Chris Broodryk, Lecturer, Department of Drama, UP
Dr Annekie Joubert, Humboldt University, Berlin
Ann-Marie Tully, University of Johannesburg
Dr Jannie Hugo, Head of Family Medicine, University of Pretoria



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Last edited by Corena Dungey-GarnasEdit