Agency and aesthetics: A symposium on the expanded field of photography


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With more photographs circulating than ever before, what do photographers want their images to do? How are artists retaining agency amongst the changing ontology of photography and its conventions and technologies? Does photography either in an art gallery or online still offer a democratic potential in its ability to alter or resist existing positions?

As part of considering the shifting politics and aesthetics of photography this event is an opportunity to consider the current nature of subjectivity in image worlds. If the selfie is the “the first format of the new global majority” as Nicholas Mirzoeff has stated, how has it continued to be an argument about who a person is and what they stand for? Where is the self situated in the convergence of images and multiple public personae online?

Professor Abigail Solomon-Godeau will give the keynote presentation at 6pm on Friday 31 March.

Abigail Solomon-Godeau is an art historian and photographic critic. Her books include: Photography at the Dock: Essays on Photographic History, Institutions, and Practices, University of Minnesota Press, 1991, Male Trouble: A Crisis in Representation, on the imagery of masculinity in French neoclassicism, Thames & Hudson, 1997, and The Face of Difference: Gender, Race and the Politics of Self-Representation, forthcoming from Duke University Press. Her essays have appeared in journals including Art in America, Artforum, The Art Journal, Afterimage, Camera Obscura, October, Screen, and have been widely anthologised and translated into various languages. Among the exhibitions she has curated are The Way We Live Now 1982, Sexual Difference: Both Sides of the Camera 1992, Mistaken Identities (with Constance Lewallen) 1994; The Image of Desire; Femininity, Modernity, and The Birth of Mass Culture in Nineteenth-Century France (with Beatrice Farwell) in 1998. 

Abigail is brought to New Zealand by the Massey University International Visitor Research Fund. 

Agency and aesthetics is convened by Ann Shelton, Massey University Whiti o Rehua School of Art and Dr Zara Stanhope, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki in association with the exhibition Ann Shelton: Dark Matter.

Auditorium, lower ground level
Free – registrations required
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