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Octagon Friday Forum: Noise

In Image Matters: Archive, Photography, and the African Diaspora in Europe (2012), Tina M. Campt analyses family archives through the conceptual frameworks of sound and music. In a critique of the notion of ‘transparency’, Campt argues that photographs should be ‘listened to’, instead of simply being looked at, in order to understand their broader cultural meanings, translations and articulations. Incorporating sound and music within her visual analysis, Campt not only succeeds in shortcutting the ‘self-evident’ dimension of photography, but also highlights continuity and breaks within lens-based practices, as well as within a broader socio-historical ‘harmony’.

This panel will look at the notion of 'noise', either sonic or visual, as a strategy to challenge hegemonic norms. Presentations should ideally address one of the following questions: how do visual practitioners historically considered as 'others' use noise as a disruptive strategy to engage their postcolonial – or decolonial – present moment? How can noise be investigated to address notions of temporality (e.g. echoes, reverberation), colonialism (e.g. continuity/interruption, voices and stories that cannot be heard or exist in other ‘registers,’ blurs and filters, notions of testimony) and gender politics (e.g. noise/silence, breaking silence, #metoo, sexual stigma)? And finally, what dilemmas and intersubjective encounters are at stake when a researcher chooses to address what he/she can't 'see'?

UCL researchers, including graduate students, from all fields and disciplines are invited to submit proposals for brief 10-minute presentations on a topic related to the theme.

Please send an abstract (max 220 words) and a short biography (max 100 words) to the conference organisers at by Friday 13 April 2018.

Organisers: Elizabeth Went and Julie Bonzon, Department of History of Art, UCL

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