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Image, Archive and Conflict

(Im)material Ecologies in the Digital Age

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Published on Thursday, April 27, 2023


The fourth edition of Reframing the Archive – International Conference on Photography and Visual Culture, held by Archivo Platform and the Archivo Papers Journal, will address the theme “Image, Archive and Conflict”. This conference aims to critically investigate the relationship between images, the archive and conflict across past and present, long duration and real time, and the impact of digital media on the status and development of technical images as well as its consequences in historical conscience, present and future imaginaries.



The conference will address the theme “Image, Archive and Conflict” and aims to critically investigate the relationship between images, the archive and conflict across past and present, long duration and real time, and the impact of digital media on the status and development of technical images as well as its consequences in historical conscience, present and future imaginaries. Focusing on the production, circulation, and archiving of images, this conference will address two main perspectives: on the one hand, it aims to explore the materialities and immaterialities of archival production within the digital age in regard to contemporary critical appropriations through visual arts that address, access and contest past and present conflicts, history’s repressed events and violations. On the other hand, it intends to examine the techno-aesthetics of datafication, understanding artistic strategies as potential sites for resisting and counter-acting current extractivist processes, which tend to capture and transform everyday life into data.

The emergence of digital cameras in the 1980’s raised a widespread concern about the loss of photography’s evidential value, causing a generalised anxiety about a possible ‘death of photography’, and thus shaking our understanding of documentary and the representation of reality. The digital turn not only brought considerable changes to the photographic medium, from ontological standpoints and new reflections on photography and its indexical value, but also on an operative context, regarding photography’s new ways of production, circulation and storage. The digital era and its transition from photography to ‘data’ raised heated debates about new archival production, the details preserved and lost, and the future and durability of digital databases, to name just a few. Attempting to safely preserve the documentation of material culture propelled the digitisation of institutional archives and collections, but also the preservation of vernacular imagery otherwise condemned to oblivion. Furthermore, with the advent of ‘post-photography’, the canon of the museum was shaken by new forms of representation, putting forward new ways of managing, curating, and exhibiting archives and collections. Within contemporary visual arts, strategies of archival appropriation both challenge and potentiate new archival technologies, while reassessing historical conscience and performing counter practices that bring to light the once excluded (hi)stories.

Digital technologies have expanded the boundaries of the archive, which has become a more liquid territory, with constant fluctuations of information that is accumulated, scrutinised, selected and processed in real time. In this context, it is urgent to acknowledge the biases, limitations and paradoxes involved in the processes of capture, classification, owning and accessing data. The constant flow of data through submarine wires provides a global frame in which processes linked to offensive and extractivist apparatus are deployed. A renewed Cold War has emerged, which is not only warfare, but numerical information. Ownership and use of these archival technologies will determine the geopolitical balance of the century, probably even more than the use of missiles and weapons. In the same way, colonialism doesn’t stop with the exchange of commodities or goods, nor with the subordination of cultures and civilisations, following the modern/colonial world-system hierarchised since the 15th Century. On the contrary, colonialism is deployed through the upgrowing financialization of economies, commercial flow of people and migrant ideas, and the datafication of everyday life.

The 4th edition of the International Conference Reframing the Archive invites scholars at any stage of their careers, as well as visual artists and other professionals in the field of visual arts to reflect on photography, film and other lens-based media, its production, circulation and transformations within the digitally mediatized cultures of the 21st Century. We welcome proposals for 15-minute theory and practice-led presentations (followed by 15-minute panel discussion) from various disciplines, including: photography, cinema and new media, art history and theory, anthropology, museology, philosophy, cultural studies, visual and media studies, and fine and graphic arts. These should present an in-depth investigation on the relationship between photography, the archive and conflict. Please note that the conference will be in English. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

1. The (Im)materialities of Visual Archives

  • The digital shift: ontological and epistemological conflicts
  • Critical history of the digital turn in visual culture
  • The ethics and politics of new archival technologies
  • Archival digitisation, access, mediation and circulation of documents
  • The digital archive: discoveries, challenges and potentials in humanities and arts
  • Photography and the database: new taxonomies and metadata
  • Documentary, fiction and re-enactment: potential strategies to address conflict
  • Representing conflict: from photography’s indexical value to its material traces
  • New histories and counter histories through the digital archive
  • Artistic appropriation of archival images as practices of remediation
  • From digital immateriality to new material forms created through visual arts
  • Digital archives and new Nation-building processes
  • Borderless: images and documents relational database at the service of a contemporary transnational historiography
  • Digital archives and visual studies: Theoretical implications
  • Performance and Happening: the preservation of contemporary art in the digital archive

2. Archives and the techno-aesthetics of Datafication

  • Thinking archival topology and nomology in the digital age
  • Big data and critical positions of feminism, decolonial theories, ecosocial consciousness and care
  • Datafication of everyday life turned into tools of conflict and warfare
  • Impact of Big Data on current humanitarian, sociopolitical, war, climate, and cultural crisis
  • Visual arts as counter-practice to current extractivist processes of the digital era
  • Temporalities and economies of attention in the digital era
  • Post-photography, digital arts, and new media aesthetics
  • Aesthetics of computation arts
  • Digital humanities, new methodologies and practices
  • Art and Cognitive techno-ecologies
  • Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning, and the database
  • Translating contemporary historiography from documental to digital sources: limits and advantages
  • Archives of the World: forms, uses and potentialities of photographic databases
  • Beyond conflicts: Global systems of cataloguing digital texts and images
  • The structure of the archive as a model of contemporary art
  • Imaginaries of future: digital archives and speculative practices

Important dates

Deadline​ ​for​ ​submission:​ ​June 15,​ ​2023

Notification​ ​of​ ​selected speakers:​ July,​ ​2023

Deadline​ ​for​ ​speakers​ ​registration​:​ ​one week after confirmation of acceptance

Conference:​ ​September 22-23,​ ​​2023

Submission guidelines

Proposals for the RTA 2023 should be submitted in English, according to two possible formats: individual papers; or pre-constituted panels. Candidates should submit one proposal only.

Guidelines for individual papers submission : Individual presentations have a duration of 15 minutes.Candidates are asked to submit a proposal that includes:— author info (name, email, affiliation, ORCID)— paper title, abstract (250 words), and keywords (max. 5),— bibliographical references (max. 5),— author short biographical note (written in third person, 100 words).

Application form for Individual Applications

Guidelines for pre-constituted panels submission : Submission of proposals for pre-constituted panels should include 3 papers presentations.Panel organiser(s) are asked to submit a panel proposal that includes:— panel title and abstract (250 words)— information regarding the 3 speakers and individual papers, as described above in the guidelines for individual papers.

Application form for Pre-constituted Panels

Selection process

Submitted proposals will go through a process of blind peer-reviewing, and authors will be notified of the results of their proposals by the end of July, 2023.


We are considering the possibility of publishing the contributions presented at the conference.Selected speakers will be considered to participate​ ​in​ ​an​ ​edited​ ​volume of the scholarly open-access publication Archivo Papers Journal, to be published in 2024.


Keynote & Guest Speakers

  • Prof. Anna María Guasch, University of Barcelona, Spain
  • Dr. Sara Callahan, Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Emeric Lhuisset, Visual artist, France
  • Pedro Lagoa, Visual artist, Portugal

Organising​ ​Committee​:

  • Ana Catarina Pinho [convener], IHA-FCSH, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal
  • ​Marta Labad [co-convener], ​UTAD, Spain

Scientific​ ​Committee

  • Annalisa Laganà, ​Università della Calabria, Italy
  • Arola Valls, ​University of Barcelona, Spain
  • Laura Singeot, ​Reims University, France
  • Marianna Tsionki, ​Leeds Arts University, United Kingdom
  • Pablo Santa Olalla, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal
  • Tomás Zarza, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain


Conference Fees

Submission of proposals for the conference is free.

  • Registration of conference speakers: Archivo Platform members – FREE / Non-members - €35
  • Registration of participants: Archivo Platform members – FREE / Non-members - €5 each day


For more information on membership subscription, click here.Should you have any queries, please contact us at info@reframingthearchive.com


Event attendance modalities

Full online event


  • Thursday, June 15, 2023


  • image, archive, conflict, visual, datafication, digital, war, immaterial, material, colonial

Information source

  • Ana Catarina Pinho
    courriel : info [at] reframingthearchive [dot] com


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Image, Archive and Conflict », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, April 27, 2023, https://doi.org/10.58079/1b2j

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