The discussions will explore, critically, the construction of iconographies of violence—war, genocide, and other forms of mass killing—through the circulation of visual images across media.

The Iconographies of Atrocity - Apr. 24 & 26

King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center at New York University will present a two-part symposium on Thursday, April 25, 6 p.m.-9 p.m., and Friday, April 26, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., entitled “The Desire to See: The Construction and Circulation of Images of Atrocity.”

The symposium will take place at the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, located at 43 Washington Square South (between Thompson and Sullivan streets). It is free and open to the public.

Organized by Vicente Sánchez-Biosca, a professor of film studies at University of Valencia, Spain, and University of Paris III, France, and holder of the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Chair in Spanish Culture and Civilization for spring 2013, thesel discussions will explore, critically, the construction of iconographies of violence—war, genocide, and other forms of mass killing—through the circulation of visual images across media. The focus is on how the moving image and photography have created a repertoire of images of atrocity by drawing on and reworking previous cinematic and photographic material. How have these iconographies of violence changed over time? What are their geographical and historical specificities? What happens when they migrate from a particular period or part of the world to another, and when they migrate across media? How have they been socialized, interpreted, and re-interpreted? What do they omit or elide?

The discussions will also ask, How have the iconographies of mass violence intersected with regimes of power? Can such images connect the spectator with the event depicted, even if only tenuously? How is the violence of the event encrypted in the image? What are the limits of representation? A specific concern will be the demand for images of atrocity—a desire to know that takes the form of a desire to see—and the strategies of substitution to which filmmakers have recourse to satisfy this demand when footage of the violent event is not available. In what ways can such images be called documents? What kinds of knowledge can they provide?

The panels will mix presentations with screenings of relevant material. In addition to the Spanish Civil War (the first war to generate a transnational proliferation of moving and still images and the consequent "desire to see") and the Shoah (whose paradigmatic status is evident),the case studies discussed will include Cambodia, Rwanda, Guatemala, Argentina, and the U.S.

Speakers include: Vicente Sánchez-Biosca (NYU, University of Valencia, University of Paris III), Ben Kiernan (Yale University), Stuart Liebman (Queens College CUNY), Allan Thompson (Carleton University), Daniel Hernández-Salazar (photographer, Guatemala), Marita Sturken (NYU).

Program is as follows:

Thursday, April 25:

6:30 p.m. Introduction: Vicente Sánchez Biosca (Film Studies, NYU, University of Valencia, University of Paris III)

6:50 p.m. Keynote Lecture: “Images of Genocide: A Global History from Earliest Times to the Present” Ben Kiernan (Genocide Studies Program, Yale University)
Followed by reception.

Friday, April 26:

10:30 a.m. Panel 1 - Moderator: Jo Labanyi (King Juan Carlos Center, NYU)
Vicente Sánchez-Biosca, “Beautiful Atrocities: Spain and the Last Photogenic War”
Stuart Liebman (Media Studies, Queens College CUNY), “Images of Genocide: Jews under the Sign of the Cross”

12:30 p.m. Lunch break
2:00 p.m. Panel 2 - Moderator: Fred Ritchin (Photography and Imaging, NYU)
Screening of selection of documentary film material relating to the Cambodian genocide under the Khmer Rouge, introduced by Vicente Sánchez-Biosca, with commentary by Ben Kiernan
Allan Thompson (Journalism, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada), “The Genocide Video: The Story behind Unique News Footage from the Rwanda Genocide”

4:00 p.m. Coffee break

4:15 p.m. Panel 3 - Moderator: Marcial Godoy-Anativia (Hemispheric Institute, NYU)
Daniel Hernández-Salazar (Photographer, Guatemala), “Photography, Memory, and the Representation of Atrocity: An Angel Story”
Marita Sturken (Media, Culture, and Communication, NYU), “Reimagining Torture: Memory, the Disappeared, and the Popular Imaginary in the U.S. and Argentina”

6:15 p.m. Concluding remarks - Vicente Sánchez-Biosca, Stuart Liebman, Marita Sturken.
Followed by reception.

Co-sponsored by: NYU's Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Hemispheric
Institute of Performance and Politics.

For more information, contact KJCC’s Cristina Colmena at 212.998.3650 or Or visit King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center (KJCC) at .

Press Contact

Robert Polner
Robert Polner
(212) 998-2337