The Open Library of Humanities – gold open-access, peer-reviewed, multi-journal library – seeks a broad range of contributions from scholars across the disciplines of art history and visual studies for their inaugural issue on visual culture. This special issue invites contributions in the spirit of Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas, exploring the memories, afterlives, and reanimations of images and objects from across the art historical landscape.
In 1924, the art historian and cultural theorist Aby Warburg began work on his monumental Mnemosyne Atlas. By the time of his death in 1929, the project comprised of 63 wooden panels on which were pinned, arranged, and re-arranged groups of black and white photographs depicting art historical and cosmographic subjects: Early Modern maps, Classical sculpture, medieval manuscript pages, paintings, coins, and clippings from contemporary newspapers and magazines.
The Atlas was Warburg’s attempt to map the afterlife of Antiquity, exploring how images from the Ancient Western canon reappeared and were revivified in the art and thought of later times and places. By juxtaposing and sequencing images, Warburg was able to illuminate a new, broad historical view of recurring visual ideas, seeing them as “bewegtes leben” – images with a constantly re-animated life.
Despite the cartographic term Atlas, the function of the project was only in part geographical. Warburg was interested in the ways visual ideas changed as themes and styles moved between East and West, North and South; however, he also wanted to transform the notion of the atlas from a scientific and cartographic document into a more dynamic “thought space” [Denkraum], where metonymic and intuitive logic could play out, supported by rigorous scholarship and knowledge.
Taking inspiration from Warburg’s Atlas, the broad themes and ideas for contributions to this Special Issue might include (but are not restricted to):
- The use and reuse of images in art and art history, from antiquity to the present day
- Transhistorical and transcultural meanings of images and objects
- Images and cultural memory
- The sequencing, juxtaposition and combination of images in artistic practice, or art historical methodology and pedagogy
- The use and reuse of image libraries and archives
- Metaphorical or intuitive understandings of images and art history
- The re-animation of images in the digital world
We also welcome papers that explore the new possibilities offered by online publication, incorporating video, maps, links to image banks or archives, or other digital content.
Research articles should be approximately 8000 words in length, including references and a short bibliography. We also welcome shorter discussion pieces of up to 4000 words, including (but not limited to) interviews, panel discussions, or reports highlighting new digital research resources.
The deadline for submission is 1st November 2015.
Submissions should comprise of:
- Abstract (250 words)
- Full-length article (8000 words) or shorter contribution (4000 words)
- Author information (short biographical statement of 200 words)
For full details of how to submit an article and for guidance on style and referencing see: https://submit.openlibhums.org/about/submissions
This special issue, edited by Dr Jack Hartnell and Dr Katie Faulkner, is to be published in the Open Library of Humanities (ISSN 2056-6700). The OLH is an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded open-access journal with a strong emphasis on quality peer review and a prestigious academic steering board. Unlike some open-access publications, the OLH has no author-facing charges and is instead financially supported by an international consortium of libraries.
Submissions should be made online at: https://submit.openlibhums.org/ in accordance with the author guidelines and clearly marking the entry as [MNEMOSYNE SPECIAL COLLECTION]. Submissions will then undergo a double-blind peer-review process. Authors will be notified of the outcome as soon as reports are received.
To learn more about the OLH, visit: https://blog.openlibhums.org.