CFP Eikón Imago Journal Vol. 13 2024: The frontiers of art history and visual studies. Thoughts on their object of study
The journalEikón / Imago, indexed in Scopus and awarded with the Quality Seal of Scientific Journals by FECYT, is open to receive original contributions for its monographic issue until June 30, 2023.
In recent decades, reflections on the nature of the object of study of art history and visual studies have intensified in an extraordinary way. Parallel to this, numerous disciplines have undertaken a profound theorization of the status of the image that, with the advent of digital images, has questioned the very essence of many of these branches of knowledge. However, as Mieke Bal has already warned, while the object of study of a given field of knowledge is constantly changing, the way in which it is carried out –the disciplinary methodology– is not being updated at the same pace.
In this dynamic, as agitated as it is stimulating, art history has been shaken and questioned, offering answers in different directions. On the one hand, the impulse of other ways of thinking about images, with pioneering studies such as those of David Freedberg, Margaret Olin, Svetlana Alpers, Michael Camille or Hans Belting, widened the field of interest towards new practices, many of which had hitherto remained relegated to the margins. On the other hand, the impetus with which Visual Studies or the German Bildwissenschaft emerged seemed to threaten the very foundations of art history, offering alternative ways of approaching images. A narrative was thus emerging in which this longed-for opening of the disciplinary field towards new objects of study seemed to be possible only from these innovative proposals. However, other thinkers such as Horst Bredekamp strove to reclaim an "abandoned tradition" of art history as Bildwissenschaft (science of the image), of Warburgian inspiration, in which the newly created media have always had a place. An approach to art history that not only focused on the great masters, but looked with scholarly interest at photography, advertisements, film, video, political iconography and also at the so-called minor arts through a broad chronological framework ranging from the earliest prehistoric productions to the present day.
In all this torrent of conflicting and even contradictory forces scholars are faced with several questions: What is the role of art history? What is its responsibility with respect to the emergence of new digital media? How should it adapt to the demands that seek to interrogate the objects of the past from updated optics and methodologies? What links should it draw with other emerging fields and disciplines such as visual studies or the science of the image? How can we address the rupture of the epistemological differential, as José Luis Brea stated, between the extended field of visual culture and that of artistic practices?
Faithful to the spirit of Bredekamp, this volume aims to reflect on the place of art history in the present, on its boundaries and, ultimately, on the nature of its object of study. The arrival of artificial intelligences such as Dall-E, Midjourney or Stable Diffusion, capable of creating progressively more complex and challenging images, the increasingly solid impulse of immersive experiences with which we relate in totally new ways (virtual, expanded or mixed reality), or the development of new artistic practices such as bio-art, pose an extraordinary challenge that forces Winckelmann's old discipline not only to update itself permanently, but also to establish unavoidable interdisciplinary working guidelines.
But this monograph does not only seek to analyze how new media and digital technologies impact art history and the reflection on its object of study. It also seeks to question this problem from a broader chronological perspective, addressing the way in which other images (both past and present), traditionally considered minor or non-artistic and which have been relegated to the margins, should be fully integrated into the discipline’s field of interest, either by posing new questions or by approaching historic debates through new methodologies. This opening of the framework of study is justified not only because these forgotten images can be the pieces that improve our understanding of the visual cultures of the past, but also because their incorporation constitutes the only way to enter the thresholds of an authentic experiential culture.
In addition, our Miscellany section is available for all interested authors who want to submit contributions related to all areas of the journal’s thematic coverage and remains open all year round.
This complete issue will be published on January 2024 and it will be the first in which our journal adopts the continuous publication model, in which articles will be available on our open access platform right as they successfully pass our double-blind peer review evaluation and the editorial process, without waiting for the publication of the full issue.
Suggested lines of research pursued in this volume:
Theoretical reflections on the actuality of Visual Studies, Bildwissenschaft, Bildanthropology or similar fields and their relationship with art history.
The role of interdisciplinarity in art history studies.
The relationship between artistic practices, biology, and technology (bio-art, immersive images and experiences, images created by artificial intelligences, etc.).
The development and assessment of new methodologies oriented to the integration of the so-called minor arts or non-artistic works within the fields of interest of art history and visual studies.
The chronological framework of this monograph does not contemplate closed limits, since it seeks to know and explore the current state of disciplinary reflections on the object of study through the widest possible perspective, from the remote prehistoric artistic manifestation, through classical antiquity and the medieval and modern ages until contemporary productions.
Keywords: Art History, Visual Culture, Visual Studies, Bildwissenschaft, Interdisciplinarity, Art and Technology