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Conference Session 3

Friday 11 June 16.00-18.00pm

Chaired by Dr. Jason Gaiger (Art History, Open University)

Professor Cynthia Freeland (Chair, Philosophy, University of Houston)
Icon and Index Revisited: Artistic Explorations of Medical Imaging Technologies
My paper explores a range of medical imaging technologies that challenge the icon/index distinction articulated by C.S. Peirce. These range from electrocardiograms to X-rays, ultrasounds, and fMRI images of the brain. I question the nature of realism in such images and examine the role of interpretation and aesthetic choice in their creation. Finally, I discuss work by various artists who have used “automatic” imaging technologies for creative purposes, including Robert Rauschenberg, Gary Schneider, Aline Mare, and Gabriele Leidloff.
Cynthia Freeland is professor and chair of the Philosophy Department at the University of Houston. She has published on topics in ancient philosophy, feminist theory, aesthetics, and film theory. Her books include Philosophy and Film (co-edited with Thomas Wartenberg), 1995; The Naked and the Undead: Evil and the Appeal of Horror (1999); and But Is It Art? (2001). Her latest book, Portraits and Persons: A Philosophical Inquiry, will be published by Oxford in June, 2010.
Dr. Anna Dezeuze (Postdoctoral fellow, Smithsonian Institute)
Photography as a Way of Living
By setting up a dialogue between the writings of Michel Foucault and Michel de Certeau, I will analyse the kind of automatism mobilised by Richard Wentworth’s Making Do, Getting By series (ongoing since 1977). In its technique and subject matter, I will argue that this conceptual project stages a biopolitical continuum between nature and culture, body and technology, while exploring the ambivalent nature of the everyday as the intersection between the personal and the collective, between agency and instincts or reflexes.
Anna Dezeuze is an independent art historian, who has held postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Manchester, and most recently at the Smithsonian. She is the editor of The ‘Do-it-Yourself’ Artwork: Participation from Fluxus to New Media (Manchester University Press), and the curator (with David Lomas) of the 2009 exhibition Subversive Spaces: Surrealism and Contemporary Art. Current projects include a book (co-edited with Julia Kelly) on Found Sculpture and Photography from Surrealism to Contemporary Art and a book called The ‘Almost Nothing’: Precariousness in Art since the 1960s.