Visuality/Materiality: Images, Objects and Practices

A collection of essays I edited with Divya Tolia-Kelly is just out from Ashgate.  It’s called Visuality/Materiality: Images, Objects and Practices, and has chapters by Mimi Sheller, Mark Jackson, Mike Crang, Nirmal Puwar, Caren Yglesias, Judith Tsouvalis with Clare Waterton and Ian Winfield, Jane M Jacobs with Stephen Cairns and Ignaz Strebel, Karen Wells and Paul Frosh.  Its Ashgate page is here.

In its introduction, Divya and I write that “the collection privileges how visual and material concerns are attended to in contemporary research through a focus on practice. Practice is what humans do with things. Some of the effects of some those doings is to make things visible in specific ways, or not, and this approach thus draws attention to the co-constitution of humans subjectivities and the visual objects their practices create. This is somewhat different from enquiries based on looking, seeing, analysing and writing text; instead, it considers the (geo)politics of embodied, material encounter and engagement.”

All of the chapters talk about how specific materialities are made visible – visualised – through social practices.  They’re quite a mix of case studies, looking at, for example, aluminium, algae, walls, warehouses, ships, tv screens and memorials.  They all contribute towards understanding visuality as performative, as something done between people and objects, which creates complex fields of visibility, invisibility, and states that are not quite either.  Very few of them address art objects, or do anything resembling art criticism.  Journal of Visual Culture, take note!

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