«Visual and Cultural Studies» is a book series launched in 2003 and edited by prof. Almira Ousmanova. The main formats of the series are individual and collective monographs, and Russian translations of renowned theorists of the field..
Bi-Textuality and Cinema
(ed. Almira Ousmanova, Minsk: Propilei 2003)
The major concern of the book is to address the problem of bi-textuality that has multiple meanings and provokes multiple interpretations. Firstly, it refers to the concept of bisexuality. Echoing Freud’s theory of polyvalent sexuality (he posited bi-sexuality as a fundamental ground of sexuality for every subject) and following contemporary discussions on queer identity, the problems of gay and lesbian sexuality – as they have been (under-mis-non)represented in the cinema – are in the centre of our discussion. Secondly, the book suggests a new ethics of “reading”: it opens up the heterogeneity of visual text and relates it to the complexity of the social context that made certain strategies of representation and certain modes of interpretation possible. This mode of reading is set up against traditional monological way of coherent reading according to the codes of dominant ideology. Its aim is to reveal that what has been “repressed” through different modes of representation, what can be called “the unconscious aspects of textuality” (dreams, connotations, jokes, visual ambiguity, symbolism, etc.). Both problems – illegitimate sexuality (multiple forms of sexual identification) and textual heteroglossy (multiple ways of interpretation “against the grain”) – create the phenomenon of bi-textuality that society tends to oppress.
Gender and Transgression in Visual Arts
(ed. Almira Ousmanova, Vilnius: EHU, Moscow: Variant, 2007)
What is “trangression” in the culture of postmodernism, postfeminism, postsocialism and other post-isms; what taboos have retained their relevance; where can we draw the line and say that something is ethically impermissible, aesthetically unattractive, and socially challenging in contemporary art? Transgression is a concept that it is impossible to localise within the borders of philosophy, literature or art; likewise it is scarcely possible to bring to a halt the continual slippage of its referent. In its very essence, transgression opposes such localisation or limitation: the intelligibility of the concept is revealed only through interdisciplinary investigation. Thus, given that a gesture of refusal and an aura of “crime” almost inevitably accompany the articulation of relations to sex/gender/sexuality/pain/the body, then perhaps an examination of transgression through the context of gender theory will enable us to give a more detailed account of the implicit correlation between social and aesthetic experience.
This volume is addressed to all those interested in contemporary questions of gender theory, philosophy, art history, psychoanalysis, and cinema studies, and especially to all those who feel they are in some way connected to the paradigm of visual studies.
Visual (As) Violence
(ed. Almira Ousmanova, Vilnius: EHU, 2007)
The visual history of violence, violence and media technology, violence as a goal and object of art, the spectacle of death, the gaze and sexual domination, the Other in the camera lens, everyday practices of visual violence in the “society of spectacle” – these are just some of the themes dealt with by authors of articles in this collection. The central problem addressed here is the analysis of ways of interpreting and representing violence in various visual practices (from classical art to contemporary cartoons and television), at the same time special attention is given to the question of the extent to which visual media themselves are responsible for the production of “violence”, repression and coercion, given that violence is an element of the photographic and cinematic “apparatus” (J.-L. Baudry’s term) in the very essence of their technological form..
Belarusian Format: Invisible Reality
(ed. Almira Ousmanova, Vilnius: EHU, 2008)
The texts presented in this collection are dedicated to the analysis of the condition and specificity of contemporary Belarusian culture and together enable an understanding of how in today’s Belarus the aesthetic, the political and the everyday are linked, of the ways in which the local is intertwined with the global, of the effects produced by the fantasmatic superimposition of the trauma of the collapse of the “Soviet” way of life on the cultural logic of late capitalism, and, finally, of what are the parameters and consequences of the “formatting” of Belarusian culture systematically implemented by the current political regime over the course of the last fifteen years.
This volume is addressed to a wide public and in the first instance will be of use to all those interested in methodologies of studying contemporary culture in the context of the social and political changes in the post-Soviet space.
P.S. Landscapes: The Optics of Urban Studies (eds. N. Milerius, B.Cope, Vilnius: EHU, 2008))
This volume is a unique attempt to present different approaches and conceptualizations of urban studies in a context that is usually marked as post-socialist. The main aim of the book is to initiate discussion about different axes of urban space and the ways of its coordination with the social whole. The volume is addressed to the university audience and everybody interested in the methodology of social and cultural studies, as well as for a wide range of practitioners of urban space. The idea and realization of the book became possible in the framework of HESP project “Visual and Cultural Studies Reconsidered”
Elkins, James. Issleduja vizualnyj mir [Researching Visual World] (transl., eds. Almira Ousmanova, Anastasiya Dzianishchyk, Vilnius: EHU, 2010)
This book is an anthology of texts by James Elkins, a renowned American theoretician, E.C. Chadbourne Chair of art history, theory, and criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. All the texts have not been previously translated into Russian and published, and give quite a full view of the author’s research interests that concern theories of visual image – starting with research on «abstract machines of faciality» and ways of reading subgraphemic images to the genealogy of a «microscopic gaze» and the critique of a conceptual imperialism of the Western history of art. The book is addressed to a wide audience but first and foremost would be useful for researchers of visual culture and art history.
Gornykh, Andrei. Media and Society(Vilnius: EHU, 2013)
The book explores the ways of representation and codification of social experience in media. Thus, the Soviet cinema is considered not only as an art or propaganda but also as a way of using memory about the past (war, or trauma) to create a proactive sense of the present, and – as such – as a cultural policy of Utopia. In a similar way, television is analyzed not only as a mass communication medium but – first and foremost – as a form of reorganization of the whole field of knowledge in the context of consumer practices.
The book aims at examining theoretical and methodological problems of visual images analysis and teaching courses on visual culture.
Fleischer, Alain. The Laboratories of Time. Essays on Cinema and Photography (Minsk: Propilei, 2014)
The book is a collection of texts by Alain Fleischer that have been translated into Russian for the first time. All the articles have been written in different periods but all of them have roots in practical issues. They contain answers to some concrete questions, hypotheses, experiments, projects, and reflect the author’s attitude towards photography and cinema, as well as his thirst for searching the truth in theoretical, technical, aesthetic, and art domains. This book is addressed to a wide audience but first and foremost would be useful for researchers of visual culture and contemporary art.
(forthcoming) Belarusian Non-Official Art in 1970-1990 (eds. L.Prenz, A.Gloukhova, Vilnius: EHU, 2015).
This volume is the first scientific research devoted to the exploration of non-official art practices in Belarus through 1970-1990. The articles of the volume create a chronology of key art project of this period, including evidence from the participators of these events, as well as look for a methodology of analysis suitable for the materials of this period. The book also offers an interpretation of the non-official art life in the context of publicity theories and gender studies.