Artistic Research in the context of the Photo Impulse project

What shall we do with the images in this file?

Table 2 - July 15th

The colonial imaginary has become so familiar that we tend to no longer perceive it, nor the images that are its visual corollary, nor the underlying affective structures that originated and sustained them; they become invisible inasmuch as they are normalized. But this also depends on “our place of gaze”: faced with the images produced by white colonizers, what one sees and experiences will depend on one´s background, personal and collective history. How people apprehend these images is a question we asked during research in the Photo Impulse project.

These images present themselves as a reflection of reality while, in fact, they are performative constructors of the reality that they, apparently, reflect. Like the prophetic, they have the ability to act on the minds and expectations of subjects and on their identities.

Therefore, showing these images – many of which have never been physically shown - generates a feeling of déjà vu: these images again? And again and again? The colonial archive is effective in perpetuating stereotypical views; the artists involved in the project attempted to problematize and interrupt this imaginary through individual and collaborative approaches.

This panel will show some of the projects and discuss the role of artistic research in the context of colonial archives.


Soraya Vasconcelos

Soraya Vasconcelos is a visual artist and researcher at ICNOVA. A graduate in painting, she also studied photography and philosophy and holds a PhD in Communication, Culture and Arts with the practice-based project Affect - Oscillograph of Sense. She is a lecturer in the photography course at Lusófona University and taught at the Polytechnic Institute of Tomar (2014-19). She participated in the research project Rethink - Alternative Narratives to Violent Extremism (2019). She has maintained a regular activity as an artist whose practice includes photography, drawing and installation. Recently she participated in the collective show Imagens com Vida Própria [Images with a Life of their Own], curated by Sandra Vieira Jürgens, Vila Franca de Xira Photography Biennale 2018, and the collective and interdisciplinary project Estação Vernadsky [Vernadsky Station] (Sines and Lisbon 2017-18), which she proposed and coordinated with Susana Gaudêncio.

Helena Elias

Helena Elias is Assistant Professor in Sculpture at the School of Fine Arts of the University of Lisbon (FBAUL). She holds a PhD in Public Art form the School of Fine Arts of the University of Barcelona, a Master of Arts degree from Grays School of Arts, UK (2000) and a degree in Sculpture from FBAUL (1999). Her doctoral project received the Ignacio de Lecea Prize, awarded by Generalital and Faculdad de Bellas Artes of U.Barcelona (2009). As an artist, teacher and researcher, she articulates teaching and art practice, showing her work and publishing several articles and book chapters. She was an FCT grantee for her post-doctoral artistic research in Sculpture at the School of Fine Arts, Lisbon. Received the observIST-UL Best Practice Award for her workshops and residency entitled What's in a Line?, at the IST Civil Museum (2019). She coordinates the VICARTE Research Line in Arts and Sciences, where she develops the project Communities of Practice - Methodological Strategies for Collaborative Research between the Arts and Sciences.

Maria Teresa Cruz

Maria Teresa Cruz is professor at the Communication Sciences Department of the School of Social Sciences and Humanities of NOVA University of Lisbon in the fields of Image Theory, Media Aesthetics and Contemporary Art and is a member of the Research Group “Culture, Media and Arts” at ICNOVA – Communication Institute of UNL. She is also founder of the journal Interact – Art, Culture and Technology, which she directed from 2000 to 2006. Research fields: post-media aesthetics; cultural heritage; and participation culture. Project Coordination: African-European Narratives (Europe for Citizens, 2018-19); Communication Design – Interpretation Center Gonçalo Ribeiro Telles, Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, 2013; Museology Communication Design, COA Museum of Paleolithic Art (World Heritage, Portugal 2008-2010). Publications: CRUZ, M Teresa (2019) “Art Curation and Critique in the Age of Digital Humanities” in International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media. 15(2), July; CRUZ, M. Teresa (org.) Media Theory and Cultural Technologies, Cambridge Scholars, 2017); CRUZ, M. Teresa (org.) Novos Media – Novas Práticas [New Media – New practices] (Vega, 2011).

Maria Kowalski

Maria Kowalski has a degree in Art and Communication – Photography, at ESAP and is a PhD candidate in Communication Sciences, specializing in Communication and Arts, at NOVA – FCSH, belonging to ICNOVA /FCHS. Since 2003, she’s been working as a freelance photographer, graphic designer and photography trainer. She has been holding photography exhibitions, individual and collective, both nationally and internationally, including the artistic residency and solo exhibition Barthes’ Punctum and the family album of Narciso Costa, Galeria de Arte Banco de Portugal, Leiria (2019) and the collective exhibition From Here to There, Kloster Bentlage Museum, Rheine, Germany (2017). Since 2008, she teaches at ESECS – IPL, in the fields of photography, multimedia, cultural communication, creative processes, aesthetics and digital image, and community intervention. In 2009, she began a series of participatory photography projects as a form of social and humanitarian intervention in Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique.

Madalena Miranda

Madalena Miranda is a filmmaker and researcher, who lives and works in Lisbon. At the moment she is a researcher at ICNOVA at the Culture, Mediation and the Arts cluster and is an invited professor at Nova University of Lisbon (Faculty of Social and Human Sciences). She holds a PhD in Digital Media, Audiovisual and Interactive Content Creation branch, from Nova University, a CoLab Program with the University of Porto and the University of Texas, Austin. Her doctoral practice-based research, "Protest Images, Collective Portraits" (2020) outcomes include an interactive platform prototype to explore participatory models of archival and montage cinema from online protest images of social movements of the digital age. She had a doctoral fellowship from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology. Recently she is involved with different research projects, with a highlight to AfricanEuropeanNarratives, an Europe for Citizens funded project, developing participatory media literacy workshops and with a documentary film as output. She graduated in Communication Sciences in Nova University of Lisbon, specialising in Cinema and Television (1998) and has a Masters in Anthropology by ISCTE -University Institute of Lisbon, in Multiculturalism and Identities, where she also directed a documentary - "Class Diary" (2009) as a research output. She studied Documentary Direction with Les Ateliers Varan (2004), with a scholarship of the Gulbenkian Foundation Creativity Program.