Call for Papers – Visualizing the Street

ASCA Cities Project

Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam

Date: Friday 17 June 2016
Venue: University of Amsterdam

Keywords: visual culture, the street, digital media, street photography, visual practice, cell phone registration, architectural visualizations, the everyday

Confirmed Keynote Speaker: Professor Gillian Rose (The Open University)

For the international conference Visualizing the Street, the ASCA Cities Project invites papers that explore the impact of contemporary practices of image-making on the visual cultures of the street.

New technologies of visualization have opened up the practices of photographing, filming, and editing to everyone who carries a phone and is connected online, resulting in the mass circulation of privately produced imagery. This development has social, cultural and political significance. For example, Larsen and Sandbye (2014) write that “increasingly, everyday amateur photography is a performative practice connected to presence, immediate communication and social networking, as opposed to the storing of memories for eternity, which is how it has hitherto been conceptualized.” Hito Steyerl (2009) points towards the potential of such low resolution imagery in propagating a less hierarchical and more democratic regime of visuality. At the same time, new technologies have also contributed to the expansion of an urban visual culture that is subject to a professional system of visual production and distribution. The visual experience of the contemporary street is partly shaped by artistic visualizations, detailed advertisements, big-scale billboards and high resolution renderings that pervade urban environments. Although responding to different sensibilities, there are striking similarities between these various registers of everyday visual experience of the street. The digital means of production of street imagery – never delivering a clear end product and always in circulation between material and virtual networks – and the fleeting glance with which consumers relate to that imagery, point towards a distinctly performative visual language. It seems that what is most important to this visual culture is not so much the content of the imagery as its immediacy. This development asks for new concepts, theories and research methods that would combine close analyses of the image with the study of the practices of production, circulation and consumption of the image, and the diverse set of social, cultural, affective and performative implications of it in everyday life.

Please submit abstracts (max 300 words, for 20 min papers) together with an academic CV to Pedram Dibazar (email: by November 1, 2015.

Please note that we are also working on a publication on the same topic for the Amsterdam University Press book series Cities and Cultures. A selection of contributions to the conference will be included in the book.

For any inquiries please contact the organizers Pedram Dibazar or Judith Naeff.