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Transcultural Visuality Workshop Series No. 3

"Colours, Images, Materialities"

Istanbul June 2-6, 2011

Our third workshop will be dedicated to the discussion of colour, images, and materialities in the context of transcultural entanglements.

The Maori in New Zealand have no less than 3000 terms for colours (Eco 1985:168,9). In the Russian language two different colours are referred to by using its word “blue”(Batchelor 2000:90). In most Western countries “white” is a colour which signifies innocence. Western brides wear white as a symbol of purity, whereas in India white is a colour of mourning, the only colour widows are allowed to wear. How influential colour can be in the advent of global consumerism, became evident when Colour TV was introduced in South Asia. In only a few months this invention produced new consumption patterns and caused a commercial success in the Indian advertising industry nobody had considered as possible before (Ninan 1995: 140).

Departing from this awareness that utilisation and perception of colour in images is culturally bound we will explore the meanings of colour from a transcultural perspective. What Natasha Eaton calls “nomadism” and “agency” of colour should be understood as a material and sensual force that disrupts the planes of regionally confined power of deterritorialization’. Colour relates to race and colonial aesthetic in colonial art practices (art schools, photography), to tactics of resistance, to the making and transformation of social relations. To look at the sense of colour moreover suggests a venture into better understanding of migrations between the sacred and the mundane, across cultural and historical horizons.

What power do colours have in transcultural encounters? How are they perceived and how are they used in different historical and spatial contexts? How do transnational media and image flows change the meanings of colour? These are only a few of the many questions we will discuss during our workshop in Istanbul.

We will approach images and colour as “transculturality’s sensorium” not only by reading texts but by engaging all senses. Seeing movies and architectural sites, as well as visiting galleries and museums will complement the readings.

Programme of the workshop

Public Keynote Talk:

Barry Flood (New York University) abstract

"Whitewash and Gold: The Aniconomics of Mosque Ornament"

June, 2nd 2011. 19:00-21:00

Location: Bilgi University, Campus Santral Istanbul, Room No. E4-305



Christiane Brosius

Barbara Mittler

Sumathi Ramaswamy

Kajri Jain

Thomas Maissen

Melanie Trede

Paola Zamperini

Monica Juneja

Cathrine Bublatzky

Laila Abu-Er-Rub


Roos Gerritsen

Minna Valjakka

Patricia Spyer

Patrick Frölicher

Elif Özgen

Buket Altinoba



A picture of the B4 members, staff and guests of the workshop in Istanbul at the Bosporus right between Asia and Europe: (from left to right) John R. Freeman, Monica Juneja, Roos Gerritsen, Elif Özgen, Barbara Mittler, Martina & Thomas Maissen, Laila Abu-Er-Rub, Melanie Trede, Kajri Jain, Paola Zamperini, Cathrine Bublatzky, Christiane Brosius, Patricia Spyer, Sumathi Ramaswamy, Patrick Frölicher, Buket Altinoba, Minna Valjakka, Ira Jain, Kathrin Eitel, Barry Flood.