STRAND A: Image, Vision and Sign


  • Paul Haywood, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, UK
  • Andris Teikmanis, Art Academy of Latvia, Riga, Latvia

‘What might then properly be called the fate of the image is the fate of this logical, paradoxical intertwining between the operations of art, the modes of circulation of imagery, and critical discourse that refers the operations of one and the forms of the other to their hidden truths.’

Jacques Rancière (2003) The Future of the Image

Whilst we acknowledge living in a society of images, the role of the image in the context of contemporary fine art higher education remains ambivalent and challenging. Once being considered as a fundamental skill of artistic labor, image production is no longer an essential prerequisite of contemporary artistic practices. Meanwhile, the ever-increasing production, circulation and consuming of images and the preponderance of the image in  social media networks and technologies has rendered images with new and revived political and social roles. The political potency of the image has transformed through a  memetic and mimetic warfare, an intercession between political and aesthetical expansions; as such, a social and political visions of future become increasingly imaginary. Fast growing technologies relating to altered vision, virtual and augmented reality, and a development of image related artificial intelligence, are no more isolated sciences but interrelated nodes signifying future development. Society is becoming more mediatized, reality more constructed, and imagination determined by technology. These trends demand new pedagogical tactics of contemporary fine art teaching.  

The embedding artistic research into the core of art studies, at all levels, functions to emphasize the balance between visual and textual discourses in vision. Thereby the acknowledging of reality as being mediated by images, and society as being socially, economically and culturally impacted by semiotic technologies, continuously redraws the established border of arts education. Contemporary fine art education is becoming more pro-active, socially and politically involved and contextually responsive or problem solving. At the same time, the continuing rise and distribution of new technologies and media trends is expanding demand and expectations from image production, therefore, new and paradoxical roles for contemporary art education.

Strand A: Image, Vision and Sign encourages a range of forms of contribution, reflecting actual and forthcoming challenges that are changing the landscape of contemporary fine art in higher education. 

Keywords: artistic research, visual research, image production, visual discourses, signs, semiotics, future.