Publication Details

Krishnabhakdi-Vasilakis, F. "Transforming the rhetoric: making images as practice led research." ACUADS 2009 Conference: Interventions in the Public Domain. Ed. R. Woodrow. Brisbane, Australia: Griffith University, 2009. 1-15.


The role of photography as documentary practice plays an elementary role in visual culture and - through its story telling qualities - it is evocative of emotions. Photographic imagery helps the individual as well as the body politic to learn and to internalise global events. Over the past eight years, following the events of 9/11 in 2001, western society has undergone significant political, legal and social changes. Images of terror circulated the world almost instantaneously and circulating still. Artists and scholars have addressed the notion of fear as a result of the existing imagery as part of a rhetoric of terror after terrorist attacks such as the 9/11 events in the USA, or the bombings in Madrid, London and Bali, by investigating the question what is the current climate in which we work and live? The underlying common notion for this practice led research is that language (spoken, written, imaged or performed) can be formative and informative. These considerations lead to a number of questions: If the scholar has a `specific public role in society', as Edward Said insisted (Wallen, Closed Encounters: Literary Politics and Public Culture, University of Minnesota Press 1998: 215), how can s/he creatively connect with issues that affect society? Is s/he, to say it with Said, endowed `with a faculty for representing, embodying, articulating a message, a view, an attitude, philosophy or opinion to, as well as for, a public'? (1998: 215). I will discuss the photographic work of the artists Mary Rosengren, Juilee Pryor, Mehmet Adil, Brogan Bunt among others, who were part of an exhibition called "Tactics against Fear" "Creativity as Catharsis" in 2007 at the FCA Long Gallery, University of Wollongong.The idea behind this exhibition was to provide alternative readings to popular culture and a public language of fracture, hostility and threat by exploring tactics of fear in visual culture from a personal perspective grounded in institutional space