Agency and aesthetics: A symposium on the expanded field of photography – Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki – Saturday 1 April 2017

Agency and aesthetics: A symposium on the expanded field of photography

With more photographs circulating than ever before, what do photographers want their images to do? How are artists retaining agency amongst the changing ontology of photography and its conventions and technologies? Does photography either in an art gallery or online still offer a democratic potential in its ability to alter or resist existing positions?

As part of a consideration of the shifting politics and aesthetics of photography this event is an opportunity to consider the current nature of subjectivity in image worlds. If the selfie is the “the first format of the new global majority” as Niholas Mirzoeff has stated, how has it continued to be an argument about who a person is and what they stand for? Where is the self situated in the convergence of images and multiple public personae online?

This day-long symposium invites artists, writers, critics, academics and others to reflect on the work that photographs can do today and the changing significance of the image as a social or cultural representation.

We are calling for papers and or panels on the following subjects as they relate to photography:

  • Images and agency
  • The photograph as a form of resistance or agent of change
  • Shifting representations of identity, self and subjectivity (including contributions around the selfie, social media and biographic approaches)
  • The body and agency (we welcome submissions from queer, trans*, and takatāpui perspectives as well as those from diverse cultural positions)
  • Mobile or distributed image worlds, the loss of physicality of the photograph.
  • Photography as an argument, as propaganda or political asset. Closing date for proposals 30 January 2017.


Please submit a synopsis of 250 words and a short bio/cv.Convened by Ann Shelton, Massey University Whiti o Rehua School of Art and Dr Zara Stanhope, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki in association with the exhibition Ann Shelton: Dark Matter.

Agency and aesthetics: A symposium on the expanded field of photography will be held at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki on Saturday 1 April 2017.



Ann Shelton

Zara Stanhope

image: Jordana Bragg, Camp 7, Instagram, 2016

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