FLEEING IMAGES:
AFFECT // REPRESENTATION

A trans- and interdisciplinary event at the University of Hamburg

The current refugee movements and migration impact on images in many ways. Their presence in the media that show and conceal diverse perspectives on flight and refuge, its causes and consequences, points to the evocational and affective potential of the pictorial. In a drastic escalation of Warburgian image migrations the images themselves are fleeing, accompanying refugees or trying to escape from propagandistic iconoclasms by taking transmedia routes.

Phenomena of the relationship between flight, migration, refuge and images are not new. Refugee movements are an inherent part of human history: Aeneas, with his father Anchises on his shoulders and his son Askanios at his hand, fled the burning Troy, the Israelites fled the oppression in Egypt, the Holy family fled to escape the Slaughter of the Innocents. From the revolt against a political system to war, violence, eviction or hunger that make home a precarious place: the reasons for flight are manyfold. Refugee movements have always produced vast numbers of images, seeking to mirror the suffering of refugees, tracing the routes of escape or pointing to the causes of flight. Images of home, of the loved ones left behind or of a promising future accompany and move those fleeing.

Throughout, idolatric and iconoclastic practices can be observed, practices that suggest a strong and inter-subjectively different affective engagement of agents. Affect influences perception and reception, phenomenal consciousness, control of attentiveness and the construction of meaning. Further, affect motivates actions and is a central factor within embodied perception. The extraordinary potential of images to affect and cause affect plays an important role for their function as carriers of memory and hope, as media of identity construction, and for their strategic and manipulative use in political communication processes. This gives rise to a range of questions:

How do images of flight and fleeing images function within processes of identity construction? How can the relation of affect and image perception be conceptualised? How is the affective potential of images exploited in political and social opinion making? How may the contexts of the production and the reception of images be scrutinised through theories of affect? Are there diachronic or interculturally persistent motifs of particularly affecting character? In what ways do images represent specific socio-cultural and historic concepts of affect?

This fourth event on images and image theory at the University of Hamburg, organised by doctoral students of archaeology, art education, and art history, will encompass lectures, workshops and opportunities for detailed discussion. We are looking in particular for trans- and interdisciplinary contributions that address above questions across any kind of visual media. There is no limitation to specific periods or cultures. Proposals for lectures (30 minutes) or workshops (90 minutes) in German or English may be sent to

post@bildkontexte.de (organisational team: Jacobus Bracker, Ann-Kathrin Hubrich and Stefanie Johns)

by 31 July 2016. Abstracts should not exceed 300 words and please include a short academic CV. We welcome proposals not only from established scholars but also young scholars and students. Funding of speakers’ travel and accommodation expenses cannot currently be guaranteed. However, participation in the conference is free of any charge. The conference will take place in the Warburg-Haus in Hamburg and at the University of Hamburg.

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