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Dr Roberta Buiani talk on the visual culture of contagion

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“Missing in Action: the trivialization of the visual culture of contagion”

My research concerns the construction of scientific images of viruses and their subsequent display in popular science publications. A joint product of technological layers and scientific principles, as well as …popular and cultural assumptions, these visual expressions incorporate a number of culturally “invisible” elements, that is, elements that are either interpreted as a given or as unworthy of attention (see, for instance, the racialized overtones emerging from these images). In this presentation I briefly examine the above invisible discourses that construct viruses today, by exposing the mechanisms through which specific aspects that characterize their cultural interpretation are perpetuated in popular culture by way of said visual representations, and by examining the way in which artistic practice may be able to expose and dismantle them.

Bio

Roberta Buiani is an educator and a cultural theorist, working at the intersection between the arts, science and technology. She has a Master in Art History and a PhD in Communication and Culture both from York University (Toronto, Canada). Her work has been published on Public (31, 2005, special issue Digital Poetics and Politics), Fibreculture (2.2005), the Spam Book (Hampton Press, 2009), and the Semiotics Review of Books (19. 2010). Her new project “Marginalized: images of viruses and the culture of contagion” explores the politics and the mechanisms that construct and naturalize the scientific visualization of viruses and infectious diseases.

This talk is part of the ArcDigital and CoDE talks at Anglia Ruskin series.

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