Wars of images

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide the students with an in-depth knowledge of the main representation and image theories. The proposed historical-critical path will address the fundamental questions and authors of this specific disciplinary field, which belongs to the wider domain of the aesthetic discipline (intended both as a theory of sensibility and as a theory of art), also taking into consideration its interdisciplinary connections with other domains such as: semiotics, art history, history of literature, media history and theory, psychology, anthropology, cognitive neurosciences.
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge and understanding:
At the end of the course, the students will be able to master and discuss the main representation and image theories developed within the Western cultural tradition, with a particular emphasis on the contemporary debate. Along this path, the students will learn to hold a critical confrontation with the fundamental authors and concepts of this disciplinary domain, understanding its methods and being able to use its specific terminology.

Ability to apply knowledge and understanding
The students will acquire the skills necessary to apply the conceptual framework of the main representation and image theories to situations pertaining to the strategies of representation in the widest sense of the term and to the experience of the image (both artistic and non-artistic), having recourse to an adequate specific lexicon. They will be able to critically discuss the main theoretical models and to orient themselves in the corresponding literature. They will apply the acquired competences to the reading and critical comment of fundamental texts in representation and image theory. They will be encouraged to propose autonomous and original solutions to problems arising from the common discussion.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Third trimester
The course "Wars of Images" will start on April, 13th 2021.

The modalities of the course classes will follow the guidelines and indications provided by the Rector's Decree (https://www.unimi.it/sites/default/files/2021-03/Rector%27s%20Decree%20…), in line with Government measures. Any modification will be updated ASAP.

In case the course classes will either take place remotely or will be delivered in blended mode, the students must join in the "Wars of Images" Team on Microsoft Teams. Please find here the team code: b4u3rmv
You can join the team by selecting the option "join a team or create a new team" then select "join a team with a code".

For any problem please contact me: annacaterina.dalmasso@unimi.it

To access the classes, a shorcut link will be provided in the section Post of the Team in the Channel "Generale".

Please find below the measures that are currently in effect, according to the different risk scenarios:

Severity (yellow zone)

Lectures and other face-to-face teaching activities will be delivered in blended mode, partly in person
and partly online, preferably in synchronous mode, according to the calendar for the
semester/trimester in question. Face-to-face lectures must take place in compliance with safety and
social-distancing provisions set forth in the Covid Safety Protocol as approved by the University.
In this context, face-to-face lectures may be organized in excess of 50%, if the classrooms are
available and safety and social-distancing requirements are met.

High severity (orange zone)

Lectures and other face-to-face teaching activities will be delivered in blended mode, partly in person and partly online, preferably in synchronous mode, according to the calendar of the semester/trimester in question. Face-to-face lectures must take place in compliance with safety and social-distancing provisions set forth in the Covid Safety Protocol as approved by the University.
Given the greater restrictions on the circulation of people in the local area provided for this scenario, face-to-face lectures MAY NOT exceed 50%.

Very high severity ("strong" orange) and Maximum severity (red zone)

Lectures and other face-to-face teaching activities may ONLY take place remotely, preferably in
synchronous mode, in compliance with the calendar for the semester/trimester in question. Only the
educational activities of first-year courses, and classes with a small number of students may take
place in person, in limited cases and provided that safety and social-distancing requirements, as set forth by the University Safety Protocol, are met.
Course syllabus
"Screening invisible bodies. The visual construction of contemporary migration"

The course is divided into two teaching units. The first unit, "Screened worlds", will introduce fundamental questions of image theories and key elements of visual culture, by focussing in particular on the concepts of gaze and visuality, on the dispositives of frame and screen, and on the agency of images and media and their power to affect our embodied experience of the world. The second unit, "Framing invisible bodies", will tackle the biopolitical impact of images and mediality in global conflicts, moving from the role of images as technologies of visualization to the unfolding of the war of images. In particular, it will address the contemporary migratory phenomenon as a process of visibilization/invisibilization of the human bodies. The unit aims, on the one hand, at mapping some elements of the visual construction of the refugee crisis via audio-visual media, and, on the other hand, at analysing the role of artistic practices and virtual media in the progressive remapping of the visual precarity of the human body in transition.
Prerequisites for admission
No prior knowledge is required.
Teaching methods
Lectures and discussions, analysis of still and moving images, by means of slides and audiovisual materials. Open access texts and futher materials will be available through the Ariel site for the course.
Teaching Resources
Unit A - Screened worlds. Elements of image theory and visual culture (tot: 246)

W.J.T. Mitchell, What Do Pictures Want? The Lives and Loves of Images, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2005, 5-56 (tot: 51).

Nicholas Mirzoeff, in How to See the World. An Introduction to Images, from Self-Portraits to Selfies, Maps to Movies, and More, Penguin, London, 2017, "How to See the World", 1-28, and "The World of War", 79-124 (tot: 72).

Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media, MIT Press, 2001, "The Screen and the User", 94-114 (tot: 20).

Richard Grusin, "Premediation." Criticism, vol. 46, no. 1, 2004, pp. 17-39 (tot: 22).

Bruno Latour, What is Iconoclash? Or is there a world beyond the image wars, in B. Latour, P. Weibel (eds.), Iconoclash. Beyond the Image-Wars in Science, Religion and Art, ZKM, Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe/MIT Press, Cambridge (MA), 2002, pp. 14-37 (tot: 23).

Aud Sissel Hoel, Operative Images. Inroads to a New Paradigm of Media Theory. In: Luisa Feiersinger, Kathrin Friedrich, Moritz Queisner (Hg.): Image - Action - Space: Situating the Screen in Visual Practice. Berlin: de Gruyter 2018, S. 11-27. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25969/mediarep/12195 (tot: 16).

Harun Farocki, Phantom images, in "Public", n. 29, 2004, 13-22 (https://public.journals.yorku.ca/index.php/public/article/download/3035…) (tot: 10)

Trevor Paglen, 2014. "Operational Images." E-Flux 59.
https://www.e-flux.com/journal/59/61130/operational-images/ (tot: 3)

Maximilian Jablonowski (2020) Beyond drone vision: the embodied telepresence of first-person-view drone flight, The Senses and Society, 15:3, 344-358, DOI: 10.1080/17458927.2020.1814571 (tot: 14).

Additional texts for non-attending students:

N. Mirzoeff, How to See the World. An Introduction to Images, from Self-Por traits to Selfies, Maps to Movies, and More, Penguin, London, 2017 - Italian translation Come vedere il mondo. Un'introduzione alle immagini: dall'autoritratto al selfie, dalle mappe ai film, R. Rizzo (trad.), Milano, Johan & Levi, 2017.

Unit B - Framing invisible bodies (tot: 258)

Judith Butler, Frames of war: When is life grievable?,Verso Books, 2016, 1-32 (tot: 31).

Nicholas De Genova (2013) Spectacles of migrant 'illegality': the scene of exclusion, the obscene of inclusion, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 36:7, 1180-1198, DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2013.783710 (tot: 18).

Martina Tazzioli (2018) Containment through mobility: migrants' spatial disobediences and the reshaping of control through the hotspot system, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 44:16, 2764-2779, DOI: 10.1080/1369183X.2017.1401514 (tot: 15).

Gaia Giuliani, Sofia José Santos, Júlia Garraio (2019) Online social media and the construction of sexual moral panic around migrants in Europe, Socioscapes. International Journal of Societies, Politics and Cultures, Vol 1 No 1 (2019): Migrations and migration studies in late neoliberal times. (tot: 20).

Hans Blumenberg, Shipwreck with Spectator. Paradigm for a Metaphor of Existence, MIT Press, 1997, 7-79 (tot: 72).

Ana Luisa Sánchez Laws (2020) Can Immersive Journalism Enhance Empathy?, Digital Journalism, 8:2, 213-228, DOI: 10.1080/21670811.2017.1389286 (tot: 15).

Grant Bollmer, 'Empathy machines', in Media International Australia, 165.1 (2017), 63-76 https://doi.org/10.1177/1329878X17726794 (tot: 13).

Francesco Zucconi (2018) Displacing Caravaggio: Art, Media, and Humanitarian Visual Culture, Palgrave Macmillan, London, Chapters: "On the Limits of the Virtual Humanitarian Experience", 149-181, "On Displacing", 199-206 (tot: 39).

Anna Caterina Dalmasso (2019) "The Body as Virtual Frame: Performativity of the Image in Immersive Environments." Cinéma & Cie, n. 32, 101-119 (tot: 18).

Non-attending students:

Additional texts for non-attending students:

W.J.T. Mitchell, Cloning Terror. The War of Images, 9/11 to the Present, University of Chicago Press, 2011 (tot: 240).

Gaia Giuliani, Monsters, Catastrophes and the Anthropocene: A Postcolonial Critique, Routledge, 2020 (tot: 240).
Assessment methods and Criteria
Oral exam (final grade expressed in n/30) focussing both on the texts of the syllabus and on the concepts, theoretical frameworks and cases studies addressed in the course.
M-FIL/04 - AESTHETICS - University credits: 6
Lessons: 40 hours
Educational website(s)
Tuesday, h. 4.30 pm-6.30am
Microsoft Teams (Please contact me to schedule an appointment)