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Invisibility Studies

Surveillance, Transparency and the Hidden in Contemporary Culture


Edited By Henriette Steiner and Kristin Veel

Invisibility Studies explores current changes in the relationship between what we consider visible and what invisible in different areas of contemporary culture. Contributions trace how these changes make their marks on various cultural fields and investigate the cultural significance of these developments, such as transparency and privacy in urban architecture and the silent invasion of surveillance technologies into everyday life. The book contends that when it comes to the changing relationship of the visible and the invisible, the connection between seeing and not being seen is an exchange conditioned by physical and social settings that create certain possibilities for visibility and visuality, yet exclude others. The richness and complexity of this cultural framework means that no single discipline or interdisciplinary approach could capture it single-handedly. Invisibility Studies begins this conversation by bringing together scholars across the fields of architectural history and theory, art, film and literature, philosophy, cultural theory and contemporary anthropology as well as featuring work by a collective of artists.
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The contributions to this volume originate in papers presented at conferences held in Copenhagen and Zurich throughout 2012 and 2013 as part of the research network (In)Visibilities – A Network for Studies on the Seeable and the Hidden of Contemporary Culture. The editors would like to acknowledge the generous financial support received from the Danish Council for Independent Research and the Swiss National Science Foundation, without which this project would not have been possible. Participants at the conferences included art practitioners and academics from areas including literature and film studies, philosophy and art history, architecture, sociology, geography and urban studies. Thematically, the conferences covered a range of topics spanning surveillance and voyeurism, architecture and visibility (especially glass), censorship and security and questions concerning spatial and archival practices. The editors would like to thank everyone who took part in the network’s activities and who, in many different ways, therefore contributed to shaping this volume and the contributions included in it, in both direct and indirect ways. We would also like to acknowledge institutional support from the University of Copenhagen, ETH Zurich and Churchill College, Cambridge: each of these institutions facilitated different stages of the collaboration in distinct ways. We furthermore would like to thank Henrik Reeh and Claus Bech-Danielsen for their continuous support for the project. At Peter Lang, we are indebted to the our editor Laurel Plapp, and we would like to thank Rachel Malkin for more help with language and with preparing the text than she probably...

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