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Visual culture


Visual culture is the aspect of culture expressed in visual images. Many academic fields study this subject, including cultural studies, art history, critical theory, philosophy, and anthropology.

Among theorists working within contemporary culture, this field of study often overlaps with film studies, psychoanalytic theory, sex studies, queer theory, and the study of television; it can also include video game studies, comics, traditional artistic media, advertising, the Internet, and any other medium that has a crucial visual component.

The field's versatility stems from the range of objects contained under the term "visual culture", which aggregates "visual events in which information, meaning or pleasure is sought by the consumer in an interface with visual technology". The term "visual technology" refers any media designed for purposes of perception or with the potential to augment our visual capability.

Because of the changing technological aspects of visual culture as well as a scientific method-derived desire to create taxonomies or articulate what the "visual" is, many aspects of Visual Culture overlap with the study of science and technology, including hybrid electronic media, cognitive science, neurology, and image and brain theory. In an interview with the Journal of Visual Culture, academic Martin Jay explicates the rise of this tie between the visual and the technological: "Insofar as we live in a culture whose technological advances abet the production and dissemination of such images at a hitherto unimagined level, it is necessary to focus on how they work and what they do, rather than move past them too quickly to the ideas they represent or the reality they purport to depict. In so doing, we necessarily have to ask questions about ... technological mediations and extensions of visual experience."



  • Bartholeyns, Gil, Dierkens, Alain & Golsenne, Thomas (ed.) (2010). La Performance des images (1st ed.). Brussels: Editions de l'université de Bruxelles. ISBN . 
  • Alloa, Emmanuel (ed.), Gottfried Boehm, Marie-José Mondzain, Jean-Luc Nancy, Emanuele Coccia, W. J. T. Mitchell, Horst Bredekamp, Georges Didi-Huberman, Hans Belting (2011). Penser l'image (2nd ed.). Dijon: Presses du réel. ISBN . 
  • Dikovitskaya, Margaret (2005). Visual Culture: The Study of the Visual after the Cultural Turn (1st ed.). Cambridge, Ma: The MIT Press. ISBN . 
  • Elkins, James (2003). Visual Studies: A Skeptical Introduction. New York: Routledge. ISBN . 
  • Ewen, Stuart (1988). All Consuming Images: The Politics of Style in Contemporary Culture (1st ed.). New York, NY: Basic Books. ISBN . 
  • Fuery, Kelli & Patrick Fuery (2003). Visual Culture and Critical Theory (1st ed.). London: Arnold Publisher. ISBN . 
  • Oliver Grau: Virtual Art. From Illusion to Immersion. MIT-Press, Cambridge/Mass. 2003.
  • Oliver Grau, Andreas Keil (Hrsg.): Mediale Emotionen. Zur Lenkung von Gefühlen durch Bild und Sound. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2005.
  • Oliver Grau (Hrsg.): Imagery in the 21st Century. MIT-Press, Cambridge 2011.
  • Klaus Hentschel: Visual Cultures in Science and Technology - A Comparative History, Oxford, Oxford Univ. Press, 2014. .
  • Manghani, Sunil; Jon Simons; Arthur Piper (2006). Images: A Reader. London: Sage. ISBN . 
  • Manghani, Sunil (2008). Image Critique. London: Intellect Books. ISBN . 
  • Jay, Martin (ed.), 'The State of Visual Culture Studies', themed issue of Journal of Visual Culture, vol.4, no.2, August 2005, London: Sage. ISSN 1470-4129. eISSN 1741-2994
  • Mirzoeff, Nicholas (1999). An Introduction to Visual Culture. London: Routledge. ISBN . 
  • Mirzoeff, Nicholas (ed.) (2002). The Visual Culture Reader (2nd ed.). London: Routledge. ISBN . 
  • Michael Ann, Holly & Moxey, Keith (2002). Art History, Aesthetics, Visual Studies (1st ed.). Massachusetts: Clark Art Institute and Yale University Press. ISBN . 
  • Morra, Joanne & Smith, Marquard (eds.) (2006). Visual Culture: Critical Concepts in Media and Cultural Studies, 4 vols. London: Routledge. ISBN . 
  • Plate, S. Brent, Religion, Art, and Visual Culture. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002)
  • Smith, Marquard, 'Visual Culture Studies: Questions of History, Theory, and Practice' in Jones, Amelia (ed.) A Companion to Contemporary Art Since 1945, Oxford: Blackwell, 2006.
  • Yoshida,Yukihiko, Leni Riefenstahl and German Expressionism: A Study of Visual Cultural Studies Using Transdisciplinary Semantic Space of Specialized Dictionaries, Technoetic Arts: a journal of speculative research (Editor Roy Ascott),Volume 8, Issue3,intellect,2008
  • Sturken, Marita; Lisa Cartwright (2007). Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN . 
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