The Social – IAVC Conference

Call for Papers

THE SOCIAL is the title of the 4th International Association for Visual Culture Biennial Conference (IAVC2016@Boston). 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, New York and internationally, 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 alter traditional academic interpretations and deal passionately with issues and topics that analyze, describe and envision ways and means to engage with what is left of the concept of society and social values in order to create a ‚world picture’ of contemporary times.

The conference is divided in 6 half-day Sections – each one corresponding to a sub-theme within the larger structure. These sub-themes are conceived in the broadest possible sense and will accommodate a variety of perspectives and interpretations from a wide range of fields.


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: Prof. Vincent Brown, Harvard University


Reverberations of Art, Politics and Violence from the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean has become symptomatic of the global tensions of contemporary society with the unresolved economic, social, political, migratory and religious conflicts that are reverberating across the world. What are the reflections that the United States of America as well as European States can drawn from these conflicts which continue to escalate and that are visually and culturally represented by what appear to be incoherent and divisive narratives?

Keynote: 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, divided and polarized world, this Section will propose that the idea of THE SOCIAL needs a re-contextualization in order to understand if the social still represents a value or has become the chain that subjugates people within unfair governmental systems.

Keynote: 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 the characterizing feature of the 21st century. Theories are abound from post-scarcity economy to post-capitalistic vampirism, but what is the role, if any, of visual culture in creating a new vision of the economic/post-capitalist world beyond frameworks of utopia and dystopia?

Keynote: TBA


Revolutions, Free Speech, Radicalization and Social Media

Have 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 can provide the framework for participation, democratic and civil engagement beyond radicalized politics and ideologies?


Art and Society

The 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 activisms 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



Please submit a 200-300 word Abstracts by February 20, 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


Please find a formatted word document that should facilitate your application.



 Abstract submission: February 20, 2016

Temporary Acceptance: March 20, 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 in order for us all to contribute fully to the discussions.