Hello symposium enthusiasts! Over the course of the next few days I will electronically publish the symposium abstracts so you get a feel for each panelist’s presentation.
Panel One, Presenter One
Ph.D. Candidate University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
and Adjunct Faculty at Illinois State University
Body––Brick––Breath: Irigaray and Jill Downen’s Cornerstone
This essay deconstructs a video short by Jill Downen through select
texts of feminist philosopher Luce Irigaray. Downen works primarily with
sculpted forms and site-specific installation and maintains a persistent interest
in creating visual art with roots in aesthetic and gender theories. By analyzing
each element in this video, I contextualize the work within the artist’s
oeuvre and consider related parallels in an absurdist play by Samuel Beckett
and a print by artist Nancy Spero. Though representative of disparate mediums,
all of these works dwell on the phenomenon of breath.
Panel One, Presenter Two
Emily Una Weirich
M.A. Candidate, Art History, University of Arizona
The Collaborative Creation of History: Le Photographe, Photojournalism, and
In his catalog essay accompanying the 1964 Museum of Modern Art
exhibition, The Photographer’s Eye, John Szarkowski stated that the photographer, “could not, outside the studio, pose the truth, he could only record it as he found it, and it was found in nature in a fragmented and unexplained form—not as a story, but as scattered and suggestive clues.” Le Photographe, a French bande dessinée, or graphic novel published in three albums from 2003-2006, represents a unique collaboration in which visual “clues” are combined with narrative text. The work chronicles Didier Lefèvre’s travels into and out of Afghanistan while accompanying a team from Médecins Sans Frontières during the Soviet occupation of the country in the mid 1980s. In Le Photographe, the storytelling of a documentary account happens through the intertwining of Lefèvre’s photographs, only six of which were originally published by the news media, and Emanuel Guibert’s illustrations and text, created more than a decade after Lefèvre’s journey.
This paper critically examines questions that arise from examination of
Le Photographe, a documentary work not bound by the restraints of traditional,
timely, objective journalism. How are readers’ expectations of objectivity
obscured and affirmed by the format of the work? As a traditionally subjective
and artistic medium, how does the graphic novel permit space for this reworked
documentary photo-essay to become a work of deeply personal storytelling?
Finally, how does Le Photographe uphold the tradition of “concerned
photography” while simultaneously exploring a new amalgamation of two
mediums: photojournalism and bande dessinée.