Visuelle Migrationen – Bild-Bewegungen zwischen Zeiten, Medien und Kulturen


  • Kerstin Brandes



Visual Migrations – the Movement of Images between Times, Media and Cultures

“Visual Migrations” focuses on the interface and interferences between discourses on migration and discourses on images. The issue, thus, links two current debates that so far have been discussed separately: the visual representation of migrants and migration as it has gained growing importance in the political and social sciences, on the one hand, and, on the other, the migration of images that constitutes a central topic in contemporary image sciences. In different ways, both discourses correspond to the political and economic changes since the early 1990s, to notions of globalization and to the enforcement of digital technologies, computer and Internet. They share metaphors of description like “flow” or “flood” – of data, of images, of people – indicating a powerful functioning of the system or its threat and endangerment. The particular contributions to the issue explore how images of migrants and/or migration and migrations of images converge and interact. By way of focusing on the politics of representation as a giving-to-be-seen and taking the uses of images and their effects as analytical approach, they explicitly or implicitly critique W.J.T. Mitchell’s notion of a pictorial turn as much as his differentiation between image circulation and image migration. Taking into account the concept of a (trans-)cultural image repertoire and the effectiveness of the unconscious as having a crucial impact on the particular choices of images, e.g. in processes of stereotyping or the naturalization of meanings, they explore image circulations as movements that cannot be stripped off (their) historical, cultural and medial dimensions and conditions.