The Dark Spectacle: Landscapes of Devastation in Film and Photography

full name / name of organization: 
Culture and Space Journal: International Journal of Social Spaces. Special edition.
contact email: 
dark.spectacle@gmail.com

In Regarding the Pain of Others, Susan Sontag writes that “to find beauty in war seems heartless,” but that “the landscape of devastation is still a landscape.” She points out that the “classical operation of the camera” is to beautify, whereas the contrary operation of “uglifying” is a more modern response. Inspired by Sontag’s compelling narrative, this collection of essays addresses the representation of unsettling subject matter (war, political conflict, crime, executions, etc) in a variety of visual media.

Our specific focus in The Dark Spectacle is the important role played by space in the depiction of shocking and horrifying events. This volume raises, but is not limited to, the following questions: Do images of horror generate documents, or do they create works of art? Are those unsettling images allowed to be beautiful? Does their beauty drain “attention from the sobering subject?” Do these images serve as a call to arms? Does their proliferation, in addition to their beauty, make the viewer withdraw?

The Dark Spectacle is intended as a multidisciplinary forum and welcomes submissions (text and images) from scholars and artists working in various fields. You can choose to submit a longer piece (15 ms pages) or a shorter one (5 ms pages). Please email your abstract (150 words) by August 1, 2010 to the address below.

Proposed publication venue: Space and Culture: International Journal of Social Spaces
Guest editor: Elena Siemens with Volha Isakava
Abstract Deadline: August 1, 2010
Paper Deadline: November 1, 2010
Contact: dark.spectacle@gmail.com

cfp categories: 
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
film_and_television
interdisciplinary
journals_and_collections_of_essays
theory
twentieth_century_and_beyond