“We won't be able to do without ugly images,” said Austria’s now-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz back in 2016. He was referring to refugees on the Greek-Macedonian border, pictured as nameless, anonymous, depersonalized, stranded, and stripped of their right to existence. Such violent images today are hardly unique. The state of crisis in which countless societies have long been immersed, at varying intensities and for different reasons, has given rise to a wealth of images rendering violence—some ugly, some beautiful—, images that are implicitly violent themselves. At the same time, the violence of images subsists in an enclosure of visibility and meaning, locked into certain (ideological) conventions, material and symbolic at once, defining how they apportion, split up, inscribe, how they make things invisible and how they lay forth a truth—one that is a truth of violence. These images and their violence stand at the center of the Symposion on Photography XXI, a collaboration between Camera Austria and steirischer herbst. Theoreticians and artists come together to ask how one might comprehend and counteract such violent images against the backdrop of a dysfunctional political realm and a neocolonial world order. Can the indignation these images arouse reveal the violent ruptures in politics itself, which requires a new language, a different meaning, and another approach?
Symposion on Photography XXI: The Violence of Images
Ana Teixeira Pinto
A collaboration of Camera Austria and steirischer herbst
Christine Frisinghelli is a cofounder of Camera Austria and the magazine Camera Austria International. She lives in Graz.
Marina Gržinić is an artist and teaches at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. She lives in Vienna and Ljubljana.
Ana Hoffner is engaged in an art practice that reworks moments of crisis and conflict in recent history. Her book The Queerness of Memory was published by b_books Berlin in 2018. She lives in Vienna.
Tom Holert is an art historian and cultural critic who recently curated the exhibition Neolithic Childhood. Art in a False Present, c. 1930 at HKW, Berlin. He lives in Berlin.
Jakub Majmurek is a philosopher, film expert, and political columnist. He lives in Warsaw.
Guy Mannes-Abbott is a writer, essayist, and critic. He lives in London.
Ines Schaber is an artist who teaches at the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia. She lives in Los Angeles and Berlin.
Ana Teixeira Pinto is a writer and cultural theorist who teaches at the Berlin University of the Arts. She lives in Berlin.
Ala Younis is an artist and cofounder of the publication platform Kayfa ta. She lives in Amman.