THE SOCIAL is the title of the 4th International Association for Visual Culture Biennial Conference (IAVC2016@Boston). You can visit the conference site at OCR Visual Culture 2016.

IAVC2016@Boston invites papers, presentations, interventions, collaborations, and events from researchers, artists, academics, curators, and activists on post- democracy, post-society, anger, violence, future visions, crisis, zombie democracies, social media, neo-slavery, post-capitalism, post-data, social evolution, revolution, actionism, post-state, interventionism, cannibalizing corporativism, post- colonialism, economic vampirism, neo-serfs, globalized thievery, art activism, red art, insurrectional art and social exploitation.

Analyses that explore the current failures or failing status of contemporary society and its revolts will take the form of events, panels and exhibitions in Athens, Istanbul, London and New York, leading up to the main conference on September 29th, 30th and October 1st, 2016 in Boston.

Visions of social democracy, visualization of the contemporary economic crisis, interpretations and analysis of revolts, data enslavement and rebellious usages of contemporary digital media are all parts of some of the projects and papers that we invite contributors to present.

The conference wishes to challenge and transform traditional academic interpretations and to passionately interact with topics that describe, analyze, and envision the manner in which we engage with what is left of the societal construct and social values in the creation of a contemporary “world picture”.

The conference is divided in 6 half-day sections – each one corresponding to a sub-theme. These sub-themes are conceived in the broadest possible terms and accommodate a variety of perspectives from a wide range of fields and scholarly areas of investigation.

Social Incarceration
What does participation mean within contemporary post-democratic societies if entire social groups are disenfranchised and isolated within the boundaries of visible and invisible ghettoes? This section will analyze a wide range of issues related to participation, or the lack thereof, ranging from the blacklivesmatter movement to minority’s economic and social incarceration.
Keynote: TBA
Session Publisher: TBA

Reverberations of Art, Politics and Violence from the Mediterranean
The Mediterranean is plagued with global tensions of contemporary society due to the unresolved economic, social, political, migratory and religious conflicts that are reverberating across the world. What reflections of the continued escalation of these conflicts are apparent with incoherent and divisive visual and cultural narratives throughout the United States of America and European States?
Keynote: TBA
Session Publisher: TBA

The Social in Visual Culture
What role does visual culture play in the social and what role does the social play in contemporary visual culture? In an increasingly politicized and polarized world, this section proposes the necessity of re-contextualizing THE SOCIAL in order to understand if it still represents a value or if it has become the chain that subjugates people within unfair governmental systems.
Keynote: TBA
Session Publisher: TBA

Post-Society and Financial Exsanguination
The collapse of western democracies and the raising of post-democracy as an expression of post-society and post-citizenship has become a characterizing feature of the 21st century. Theories abound from post-scarcity economy to post-capitalistic vampirism, but what is the role, if any, of visual culture in cultivating a new vision of the economic/post-capitalist world beyond frameworks of utopia and dystopia?
Keynote: TBA
Session Publisher: TBA

Revolutions, Free Speech, Radicalization and Social Media
Has contemporary social media ushered in an era of engagement, participation and free speech or one of radicalization, revolution and censorship characterized by political division and confrontation? Is it possible for Visual Culture to argue for a transformational and democratizing role of contemporary social media and technologies as tools that can provide the framework for participation, democratic and civil engagement beyond radicalized politics and ideologies?
Keynote: Professor Nicholas Mirzoeff, New York University
Session Publisher: TBA

Art and Society
Public space is the arena where the existence of THE SOCIAL is reaffirming itself and trying to resist the encroaching of post-capitalism. In this emerging post-society, art and visual activism stand as a form of protest and reaction, reaffirming basic democratic rights which, until a few years ago, were considered as normal and are now portrayed as insurrectional. Can aesthetic actions and reactions in public space reaffirm the importance of THE SOCIAL in increasingly divided and fractured societies?
Keynote: TBA
Session Publisher: TBA

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Submission Guidelines

Please submit a 200-300 word Abstracts by April 10, 2016 to:

In the subject of your email write the words IAVC2016@Boston followed by the chosen Section for your paper, e.g. IAVC2016@Boston Art and Society.

Please note: you can submit only one Abstract and you should allocate it in the appropriate section.

The Abstract should contain:
your name
your address
your email
your affiliation (university or other institution you work for/with):
the section you are applying for: e.g. Social Incarceration
your 200 to 300 words abstract


Abstract submission: April 10, 2016
Temporary Acceptance: April 30, 2016
Full papers: July 30, 2016

Please note that the deadline of July 30 will be enforced. In particular we look forward to receiving the full papers before the conference. The conference will not have traditional presentations but panels and discussions with the audience in the form of a social gathering. In order for these discussions to take place it is important for the ‘presenters’ to have their papers completed in time for them to be circulated to participants beforehand and allow everyone to contribute fully to the discussions.

Image credit: Murat Germen, Forum in Abbasaga Park, Istanbul during Gezi Resistance, 2013. ©Murat Germen, 2013.