Academic Session 30: UEA 2015

41st Annual Conference & Bookfair
Sainsbury Institute for Art, UEA, Norwich
9 – 11 April 2015

Thinking Images

Session Convenors:

Hanneke Grootenboer, Anita Paz and Lucy Whelan, University of Oxford

This session explores the rising interest in art as a mode of thinking, apparent in academic writing as well as artistic practice. Images have long been seen as thought-provoking or as tools for contemplation. However, research in recent years has revealed a shift towards giving art works agency to think. Cézanne and Klee famously declared that they thought through painting, while Jean-Luc Godard claimed cinema as a mode of thinking. More recently, Jacques Rancière declared photography as thoughtful, while Ron Burnett’s How Images Think links the digital image’s thinking power to the technology from which it derives.

This session examines how images might be capable of thinking. Creating space for discussion by pairing papers with prepared responses, it asks questions such as: By what mechanisms do images think? What visual language do they use or create? How do they shape thought? How is a mode of thought specific to a particular medium – photography, installation art, sculpture – or a particular culture – Chinese Ming painting, Buddhist imagery? This session aims to create a history of thinking images, and to establish new understandings of the relation between image and thought.

Jenevive Nykolak (University of Rochester) Supports/Surfaces and Painting as a Theoretical Practice

Kirsten Farrell (The Australian National University) The Colour of Thought

Matthew Bowman (University of Essex) Photographic Thinking: Michael Schmidt’s Constellations

Anita Paz (University of Oxford) The Location of Thought

Gustav Jørgen Pedersen (University of Oslo) Edvard Munch’s The Sick Child: On pictorial thought and playful metaphors

Lucy Whelan (University of Oxford) The Time of the Thinking Image: Unfolding Pierre Bonnard’s late landscapes