Photography, Image, and Ekphrasis in Hispanic Literature (Panel)


Spanish/Portuguese / Cultural Studies and Media Studies

Michael Martínez-Raguso (Colby College)

In Towards a Philosophy of Photography Vilém Flusser argues that the image increasingly mediates our relation to the world. Yet Jean-Luc Nancy observes that the image bears an inherent relation to violence, given that the latter seeks to present itself to vision, to leave a mark. Writers such as Salvador Elizondo and Diamela Eltit have famously incorporated (violent) photographs into works of experimental fiction, explicitly navigating the border between image and text, while also adopting ekphrastic approaches that present images in textual form. This panel aims to consider how such a relation plays out with respect to textuality—what is the status of the text in the image-based world? Does the supposed violence of the image translate ekphrastically? How have Hispanic authors engaged the interplay between the visuality of texts and the textuality of photographs or other images? This panel welcomes diverse theoretical approaches (such as media and gender studies, psychoanalysis, and narratology) to Hispanic literary interventions of any time period that highlight, complicate or otherwise reflect on the relation between text, image, and world. If postmodernity or the cybernetic age are in some way image-dominant, this panel simultaneously opens a space for the interrogation of such a claim while considering the role that visuality has always played in textual mediation.
This panel welcomes diverse approaches to Hispanic literary interventions of any time period that highlight, complicate, or otherwise reflect on the relation between image, text, and world. How have Hispanic authors engaged the interplay between the visuality of texts and the textuality of photographs or other images? What role does ekphrasis play in the mediation between text, reader, and image-based world?