History/Histories: From the Limits of Representation to the Boundaries of Narrative

Two dominant approaches guide the ways we consider "works of art" as modes of visual narration.

On the one hand, we can consider works of art as kinds of static documents. In this approach, layered onto understandings of the work of art are historically forged cultural, artistic, intellectual, social, and economic contexts of the "objects" production; documenting and (re)presenting the story(s) of pre-given social realities. These representations are often imbued with intentionality to testify or record the footprint left by what "is" represented.

On the other hand, we can approach works of art as an engagement with a more open and communicative process. In this framing there is greater allowance for an ongoing and dynamic approach that opens the potentiality of narrative co-production with the viewer, art communities, and society. This approach shifts focus to the recursive nature of social embeddedness, in a way that can allow for agency to consider the limits of representation, and the borders of narration.

The Seventeenth International Conference on the Arts in Society welcomes historical, multidisciplinary, and practice-based investigations that navigate the limits of representation to the borders of narration.