International Conference Counter-Image 2024

Visual Culture and Ecological Thinking:
re-imagining relationships in the world

7, 8 & 9 August 2024

Centro de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas
Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil.

"It is no longer a question of resuming or transforming a system of production, but of abandoning production as the only principle of relationship with the planet. It is not a question of revolution but of dissolution, pixel by pixel. As Pierre Charbonnier shows, after a hundred years of socialism, understood as the redistribution of the benefits of the economy, perhaps it is time to invent a socialism that challenges production itself. Injustice is not limited to the redistribution of the fruits of progress, but to the very way in which the planet produces fruit."
Bruno Latour, Where to land? (2020)

A territory is not just a piece of land. A territory bears the marks of centuries, of culture, of traditions. And a truly ethical space is not just a physical space, as many politicians want to impose. Territory is almost synonymous with ethics and dignity. Territory is life, it is biodiversity, it is a set of elements that make up and legitimize indigenous existence. Territory is a cosmology that includes ancestry.
Eliane POTIGUARA, Metade cara, metade máscara ( 2004, p. 105)

These words by Bruno Latour about the need to completely abandon the way of relating to the planet based on the logic of accumulation, monoculture and extractivism, as well as the words of Eliane Potiguara are the starting point for the debate that we want to launch, in the field of image and visuality, in the third edition of the Counter-Image Conference, in Florianópolis, Brazil.
The Covid-19 pandemic caused a global stoppage of human activities, resulting in positive environmental changes such as improved air and water quality, reduced noise levels, and increased biodiversity. In response to this, Latour proposes a "return to Earth" that avoids repeating the mistakes made by industrialised Western societies, which have contributed to the destruction of our planet. While some believe that minor changes to production and consumption patterns are sufficient, others, including Bruno Latour, advocate for more radical solutions to address this urgent issue.
Precisely from another place, from the indigenous world that still resists, Eliane Potiguara speaks to us to challenge, in the quote above, the Western conception of territory that reduces it to mere physical space and support for material resources. The writer and researcher of the Potiguara people emphasizes the cosmological dimension of territory, a place of biodiversity and ancestry, in a conception that does not separate humans from other existents (including mountains and rivers, which in Western epistemologies are outside the living).
Since keeping ourselves indoors is not a solution, we need to think about other approaches. The ecological crisis has become today's pressing political issue. See here the complete text of the Call for Works.


Registration is mandatory, but no fees are charged.

Conference Calendar

18th March 2024

Notification of acceptance
30th April 2024

Registration deadline
30th May 2024


Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil.

Conference's Directors

Teresa Mendes Flores - ICNOVA, Lisbon, Portugal
Ana Lúcia Mandelli de Marsillac - UFSC, Florianópolis, Brazil
Margarida Medeiros - ICNOVA, Lisbon, Portugal
Filippo Di Tomasi - ICNOVA, Lisbon, Portugal

Organizing Committee

Teresa Mendes Flores - ICNOVA, Lisbon, Portugal
Ana Lúcia Mandelli de Marsillac - UFSC, Florianópolis, Brazil
Margarida Medeiros - ICNOVA, Lisbon, Portugal
Sílvio Marcus Correa - UFSC, Florianópolis, Brazil
Filippo Di Tomasi - ICNOVA, Lisbon, Portugal
Iacã Macerata - UFSC, Florianópolis, Brazil
Anderson Abreu - UFSC, Florianópolis, Brazil
Lizângela Torres - UFPEL, Pelotas, Brazil
Rita Cássia - ICNOVA, Lisbon, Portugal
Diogo Bento - CICANT, Lisbon, Portugal
Gerusa Bloss - UFSC, Florianópolis, Brazil
Andressa Colbachini - UFSC, Florianópolis, Brazil

What visualities or counter-visualities make reimagining and implementing new non-extractivist relational forms possible, and what relations would they be? What contributions of Visual Culture to ecological thinking and vice versa? We should consider how images depict the relationships between humans and non-humans and how these representations have a performative effect on our identities and perspectives. When we take Latour's questioning about production, we can add: What production? What mode of image production do we want to affirm?

There is an extractivist monoculture of the way of producing images that performs imagery itself as a mere representation of a given world and which has the effect of homogenising pictures and, therefore, the possibility of performing worlds.

Um exemplo, é o conceito de paisagem. No modelo eurocêntrico ocidental, tornado cânone no/pelo norte global, o género paisagem codificou a separação moderna entre Cultura e Natureza, entre espectadores de um lado e a imagem de outro, sujeitos e objetos, um de dentro e um de fora, no famoso modelo da “janela Albertina” que descreve o dispositivo simbólico da perspetiva artificialle do Quattrociento europeu como correspondendo a uma imagem que alguém veria quando espreita o mundo lá fora por uma janela. Esta “forma simbólica” (Panofsky), que acompanha o crescimento das cidades (Lefebvre), regula as relações entre espectadores e imagens, partindo da centralidade do humano, e do olho do espectador (“o homem no centro de todas as coisas”). O género paisagem é emblemático do lugar afastado que será atribuído à Natureza nas culturas euopeias e ocidentais. A Natureza percepcionada como paisagem é um “pano de fundo”, mesmo quando é tema principal, apreciável esteticamente e apropriável economicamente, como esse todo. As câmaras fotográficas e de filmar automatizam este modelo e contribuíram para transformar a concepção do mundo numa sucessão de “imagens do mundo” (Heidegger), tornando-se uma forma de epistemologia. Por outro lado, a busca por formas de comunicação imersivas que simulassem a fusão na paisagem-todo, tornou-se também um desejo constante.

The concept of landscape exemplifies this. In the Western Eurocentric model made canonical in/by the global North, the landscape genre codified the modern separation between culture and nature, between the viewer on the one hand and the image on the other, subjects and objects inside and outside. It corresponds to the famous model of the "Albertine window", which describes the symbolic device of artificial perspective as corresponding to an image one would see when looking at the world outside through a window. This "symbolic form" (Panofsky), which accompanies the growth of cities (Lefebvre), regulates the relationship between spectator and image. It is based on the centrality of the human being and the spectator's eye ("man at the centre of all things"). The landscape genre symbolises the distant place attributed to nature in European and Western cultures. Nature, perceived as landscape, is a 'backdrop', even when it is the main subject, aesthetically appreciable and economically appropriable. Photographic and film cameras automate this model and have contributed to transforming the conception of the world into a succession of "world images" (Heidegger), becoming a form of epistemology. On the other hand, the search for immersive forms of communication that simulate merging into the whole landscape has also become a constant desire.

W.J.T. Mitchell states that the landscape genre is typical of imperialism and "like money, [landscape] is a natural scene mediated by culture. It is both a represented and presented space, both a signifier and a signified, both a frame and what a frame contains, both a real place and its simulacrum, both a package and the commodity inside the package' (Landscape and Power, 2002: 5). Nature and landscape, as Anne Cauquelin says in L’invention du Paysage (2004), are concepts that tend to be confused, which increases the difficulties of their critique.

But there are other ways of producing images. Eduardo Viveiros de Castro (Cannibal Metaphysics, 2018), while mapping Amerindian cosmologies, proposes that, in conceiving the diversity of ways of life, it is not a question of multiculturalism (one nature, several points of view about it). Instead, it is a multinaturalism: the perspective creates not different representations of the same world but multiple worlds, multinatures. Adding to this, Isabelle Stengers ("Gaia, The Urgency to Think (and Feel)", 2014) proposes that we confront the intrusion of Gaia: if the monocultural-extractivist mode of production subtracts reality (there is only one world-nature-landscape to be represented), we must instead add realities: "We must learn to tell other stories, neither apocalyptic nor messianic, stories that instead entail what Donna Haraway calls responsibility: accepting that what we add makes a difference in the world and becoming able to answer for the way that difference occurs, for the way that, in so doing, we give our lot to some ways of living and dying and not to others" (Stengers, "Gaia, The Urgency Think (and Feel)", 2014). Hence the importance Stengers gives to fictional practice as "missing thought experiments". In this line, counter-image artistic practices have emerged, such as those that recover obsolete and artisanal technologies in image production, promote archival and collection processes that challenge the capitalist process, and even denounce the nefarious neoliberal ideals for cultures and the environment.

In short, the third edition of Counter-Image aims to reflect on the challenges of expanding reality by creating new images. These images should invent alternative cognitive and imaginative approaches that promote diversity in nature and its many forms — in a plurality of worlds.
In this Counter-Image, we want to discuss the intersections between Visual Culture and Ecological Thinking. We accept proposals for oral presentations, artistic research workshops, performance presentations, and other forms of expression not exceeding 20 minutes on the following themes, among others:
  • Visualities and Counter-visualities of ecological thought.
  • Genealogies and archaeologies of ecological thinking and capitalism.
  • Ecological perspectives and practices of repair: knowledge production, care and narrative.
  • Eco-criticism and eco-feminism.
  • Colonial and postcolonial visualities of ecology and capitalism.
  • Social sustainability and image practices.
  • Counter-hegemonic narratives.
  • Epistemologic diversities of counter visualities and counter narratives.
  • Archival dynamics.
  • Artistic practices as a strategy of resistance.
  • Uses of vernacular images and processes in artistic production.
  • Obsolete and artisanal technologies as ecological practices.
  • Indigenous and Black Studies.

Abstracts must be submitted by Monday, 18th March 2024. Portuguese and English languages are accepted. We encourage proposals of an ACADEMIC, ARTISTIC or HYBRID nature.
Proposals for papers of 20 minutes duration should be submitted via our Easy Chair account here.

After creating a login, write a proposal with a maximum of 500 words, five keywords, and five bibliographic references. Artistic/hybrid presentations should have a maximum duration of 20 minutes and include audiovisual, sound or performative actions. These proposals must be accompanied by a 3-4min short excerpt or an illustrated description, together with the abstract, keywords and bibliographical references mentioned above. In all cases, a separate biographical note should be sent.

Please ensure that your name is not mentioned anywhere in the abstract. Proposals will be selected through a blind peer review system. Sessions will be organised on the basis of thematic affinities, regardless of their nature (academic/artistic/hybrid); all papers will be considered equally valid academic outputs. Successful applicants will be contacted by Friday, 15 March 2024.

Visual works or essays may be submitted to a special issue of an academic journal (to be announced).