We live in a world saturated with screens, images and objects, all demanding that we look at them. Our work is mediated by screens, demanding virtuoso skills of visual interpretation and negotiation. World events and conflicts are played out at the level of the image and often through and against images. Globalization, satellite imaging, and the digital flow of information, capital, and images are redefining urban landscapes, megacities, and geographies.
The field of visual culture is the interdisciplinary study of images across diverse media (such as photography, television, and film), new media (such as the Web and digital imaging), architecture, design, and art (including traditional media such as painting and sculpture as well as new multimedia art forms) across a range of social arenas, including news, art, science, advertising, and popular culture. It emphasizes the role of visual media in everyday life and the importance of visual media in the dissemination of ideas in the public sphere. By means of cross-cultural, cross-platform and cross-temporal comparison, visual culture endeavors to create critical approaches to the convergence of war, economy, religion, the environment, technology, and other issues in globalized visual media.
Since its beginnings in the early 1990s, visual culture has become a global field of critical practice with degree courses and publications across five continents and in many languages.
New York University has taken a leading role in the expansion of visual culture as a field of study through doctoral and masters degree programs, undergraduate courses, and research groups. Visual Culture @ NYU is cross-disciplinary, cross-school, and cross-department, with a broad range of faculty and students exploring visual culture through diverse strategies and approaches.