• (Un)archived: Photography Against/Along the Grain of Absence in Global Asias
  • Event Date: Apr 26, 2024
  • 1:00–6:30pm
  • Registration Link
  • The Developing Room’s 8th Annual Graduate Student Colloquium on the History and Theory of Photography -  Rutgers University and New York University
  • LOCATION: Jordan Center, Room 102, 19 University Place, New York University, New York, NY 10003

  • The Developing Room, a photography working group at Rutgers University’s Center for Cultural Analysis, announces its eighth graduate colloquium in collaboration with the positions: asia critique journal and New York University.

    With a special focus on Global Asias, this year’s colloquium is organized by three PhD students, from Comparative Literature and Art History at Rutgers and East Asian Studies at NYU. The presenters are doctoral students—at various stages and from diverse fields of study—whose research critically engages with photography in/as/and/against the archive around the issues of Asia and its diasporas.

    The optical field of photography leaves open as much as it forecloses the possibility of interpretive reimagination and speculation. It is this opening, the utterance that draws attention to what the photograph does not show, that lies at the heart of our concerns. With its line of inquiry oriented toward the discourses on historiography, futurities, temporalities, and contingencies in relation to photography and its position in/as/and/against the archive around the issues of Asia and its diasporas, the “(Un)archived” colloquium turns to the archival absence and silence within, on the edge of, and/or in excess of the visual documents. In so doing, we seek to break with the ideology of empiricism and positivist demands of history, instead making room for what Saidiya Hartman refers to as “critical fabulation.” We call on our participants to consider, without limiting themselves to, the following questions:

    • How do absences and silences register in photography?
    • How do we attend to and articulate that which is invisible, yet present, in the photograph? How might we do this by turning to the archive?
    • What are the instances where photography and the archive stand at odds with one another? What can we learn from such dissonances?
    • How do certain photographs activate alternative ways of engaging with the archive?
    • What kind of image emerges when we move away from the optical realm of photography? In other words, how does photography engage extra-visual senses?
    • What is at stake when we embrace imagination and speculation as viable methods in the face of archival absences?
    • How do artists, filmmakers, writers, and other cultural practitioners respond to such absences through photography?
    • How do the material and archival conditions of certain photographs speak to or unsettle our notions of the (un)photographed?


    For a full schedule of events and speakers, please visit The Developing Room website.