VizCult schedule for Fall 2017

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Next VizCult: Annual Ferber Lecture, Laura Weigert, Rutgers University, TODAY

This paper interrogates the value of the term “tableau vivant” (living picture) to describe the figural groupings that adorned processions in fifteenth and sixteenth century France and Flanders. Vital to the tradition was the arrangement of human beings to represent biblical, mythological, and historical characters. The earliest pictures and written testimonials of this artistic practice confirm, however, that it also incorporated figures composed of a variety of materials and technologies; both animate and inanimate figures could be considered enlivened. This feature helps us account for one of the most surprising aspects of late medieval stagings: the appearance of naked female figures. In turn, it challenges assumed distinctions between media and a conception of animation rooted in a human presence.

Next VizCult: Annual Ferber Lecture, Laura Weigert, Rutgers University

This paper interrogates the value of the term “tableau vivant” (living picture) to describe the figural groupings that adorned processions in fifteenth and sixteenth century France and Flanders. Vital to the tradition was the arrangement of human beings to represent biblical, mythological, and historical characters. The earliest pictures and written testimonials of this artistic practice confirm, however, that it also incorporated figures composed of a variety of materials and technologies; both animate and inanimate figures could be considered enlivened. This feature helps us account for one of the most surprising aspects of late medieval stagings: the appearance of naked female figures. In turn, it challenges assumed distinctions between media and a conception of animation rooted in a human presence.

Next VizCult: Immanuel Kim, Binghamton University, TODAY

Abstract:
In 2003, North Korea released a comedy film called Our Fragrance, which polarized Korean and Western cultures, particularly in regards to food. The film is premised on the importance of defending the Korean tradition from foreign impositions, reflecting North Korea’s withdrawal from the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003. The film uses kimchi as that which symbolizes cultural homogenization, nationalism, and cosmopolitanism by projecting two interrelated points: first, kimchi is an indigenous Korean tradition that needs to be preserved to reify national identity; and second, kimchi signifies revolutionary ideals of defending the country from foreign powers.
Our Fragrance defines state identity and the governing Juche ideology (North Korea’s appropriation of communist thought) through the consumption of cultural products such as food and clothes. The visuality of such cultural products in the film serves to differentiate, disparage, and refute the imposition of Western imperialism in the DPRK. By asserting the nationalist discourse of consuming North Korea’s traditional culture, the film maps out the binary opposition of moral/immoral, Korean/Western, and communism/capitalism for the North Korean audience.
Paradoxically, Our Fragrance blurs the apparent binary oppositions by presenting North Korea’s active engagement with the international community through the proliferation of its cultural goods. While maintaining national identity is the overarching theme of the film, there are also competing visions of cosmopolitanism and cultural exchange that are equally considered to be the revolutionary ideals of North Korea’s current political agenda. In this presentation, I examine the discourse of kimchi in Our Fragrance as that which opens up the possibilities of understanding North Korea’s political culture and the state’s persistent engagement with the international community to legitimate its statehood and perpetuate national division.

Next VizCult: Immanuel Kim, Binghamton University

Abstract:
In 2003, North Korea released a comedy film called Our Fragrance, which polarized Korean and Western cultures, particularly in regards to food. The film is premised on the importance of defending the Korean tradition from foreign impositions, reflecting North Korea’s withdrawal from the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003. The film uses kimchi as that which symbolizes cultural homogenization, nationalism, and cosmopolitanism by projecting two interrelated points: first, kimchi is an indigenous Korean tradition that needs to be preserved to reify national identity; and second, kimchi signifies revolutionary ideals of defending the country from foreign powers.
Our Fragrance defines state identity and the governing Juche ideology (North Korea’s appropriation of communist thought) through the consumption of cultural products such as food and clothes. The visuality of such cultural products in the film serves to differentiate, disparage, and refute the imposition of Western imperialism in the DPRK. By asserting the nationalist discourse of consuming North Korea’s traditional culture, the film maps out the binary opposition of moral/immoral, Korean/Western, and communism/capitalism for the North Korean audience.
Paradoxically, Our Fragrance blurs the apparent binary oppositions by presenting North Korea’s active engagement with the international community through the proliferation of its cultural goods. While maintaining national identity is the overarching theme of the film, there are also competing visions of cosmopolitanism and cultural exchange that are equally considered to be the revolutionary ideals of North Korea’s current political agenda. In this presentation, I examine the discourse of kimchi in Our Fragrance as that which opens up the possibilities of understanding North Korea’s political culture and the state’s persistent engagement with the international community to legitimate its statehood and perpetuate national division.

Next VizCult: Jeffrey Becker, Binghamton University, TODAY

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Abstract: The first century B.C. was an important period in the development of Roman urbanism as it not only represents a time that is replete with examples of new urban foundations undertaken by Rome, but it also presents a number of opportunities to engage with the ways in which Romans both understood and represented the trope that is the “Roman city”. As the late first century B.C. represents a mature period in terms of Roman urbanism, an examination of urban trends during the middle Republic (fourth through second centuries B.C.) yields important perspectives not only about city foundation and civic architecture, but also about the role of the urban construct in the shaping of Roman – and other – realities in peninsular Italy. In the seventh century A.D., Isidore of Seville quipped “Nam urbs ipsa moenia sunt” (For the city is the walls themselves), reflecting a topographic awareness of the constituent physical parts of the city and highlighting the symbolic, representative value of the city’s walls. The ancient Romans themselves were inherently nostalgic, frequently looking to and thinking about an imagined Golden Age when the world was a better and more just place. This nostalgia for the past influences Roman ideas and representations about the urban past in visual and literary culture. By examining late Republican urban representations set against middle Republican urban realities, an interesting perspective emerges and suggests ways in which we, as viewers, might better understand how Roman identity centers around the city and her walls.

Next VizCult: Jeffrey Becker, Binghamton University

artboard-12x-100

Abstract: The first century B.C. was an important period in the development of Roman urbanism as it not only represents a time that is replete with examples of new urban foundations undertaken by Rome, but it also presents a number of opportunities to engage with the ways in which Romans both understood and represented the trope that is the “Roman city”. As the late first century B.C. represents a mature period in terms of Roman urbanism, an examination of urban trends during the middle Republic (fourth through second centuries B.C.) yields important perspectives not only about city foundation and civic architecture, but also about the role of the urban construct in the shaping of Roman – and other – realities in peninsular Italy. In the seventh century A.D., Isidore of Seville quipped “Nam urbs ipsa moenia sunt” (For the city is the walls themselves), reflecting a topographic awareness of the constituent physical parts of the city and highlighting the symbolic, representative value of the city’s walls. The ancient Romans themselves were inherently nostalgic, frequently looking to and thinking about an imagined Golden Age when the world was a better and more just place. This nostalgia for the past influences Roman ideas and representations about the urban past in visual and literary culture. By examining late Republican urban representations set against middle Republican urban realities, an interesting perspective emerges and suggests ways in which we, as viewers, might better understand how Roman identity centers around the city and her walls.