Interdisciplinary international conference

AUGUST 1 – 3, 2014

Contemporary art exhibition

AUGUST 1 – 30, 2014

Opening: Friday 1 August, 6:30 PM

Sydney College of the Arts – University of Sydney

Even the most ordinary image can appear or become enigmatic. Achieving the state and status of an enigma is one (modernist) view of what makes something or is characteristic of something we call a work of art. Images, be they encountered in ordinary or extraordinary contexts, provoke questions about their meaning and veracity, sometimes by putting themselves in question. Scepticism is part of the life of images, internal to any image, and played out in images in myriad ways. We now live in an image-saturated, image-proliferating world, and further questions arise about whether images generated and disseminated at previously unheard of speeds and volume can still image meaningfully. In so far as images always project some image of the human, they are also linked with the fate of the human, raising further questions about the future of the human as an image-making, image-projecting being.

In this interdisciplinary conference, we endeavour to explore these and other questions of the image as it is encountered in various media from film and photography, to television and the internet, to various and varied forms of contemporary art.

The conference will be accompanied by a curated gallery exhibition entitled The Sceptical Image,which integrates creative art research into the conference. The exhibition sees eleven contemporary artists, including SCA artist-lecturers who develop new works across photography, video installation, film and digital media that respond to the theme of scepticism within the conference’s context of critical inquiry.

As an adjunct to The Image in Question conference and The Sceptical Image exhibition SCA Galleries and the Art & the Document research cluster are proud to host the Australian premiere of Madame B: Explorations in Emotional Capitalism a video installation by Mieke Bal and Michelle Williams Gamaker. Details of this exhibition can be found here.

Keynote speakers:

Dr Mieke Bal
Professor of Theory of Literature, and a founding director of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), University of Amsterdam
Temporal Turbulence: Heterochrony, Anachronism, and the Value of Simultaneity

Dr Stephen White
Professor of Philosophy, Tufts University (Boston)
Transcendental Arguments and the Other

The Image in Question conference and The Sceptical Image exhibition are jointly organised by The School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry (SOPHI) and Sydney College of the Arts (SCA) at the University of Sydney, and The Institute for Social Justice at the Australian Catholic University.

Conference convenors:

Dr John Di Stefano, Dr Nikolas Kompridis, Dr David Macarthur, Nicholas Tsoutas

Conference committee:

Dr John Di Stefano, Dr David Macarthur, Mikhaela Rodwell, Nicholas Tsoutas

Exhibition committee:

Ryszard Dabek, Dr John Di Stefano, Merilyn Fairskye, Anne Ferran, Liam Garstang, Nicholas Tsoutas

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Mandy Campbell 0481 012 742 or


image: Untitled, Merilyn Fairskye/Cherine Fahd. 2014