Focal Images: Violence and Inhumanism in Contemporary Art and Media Culture is a three-year project funded by the Czech Science Foundation. Its main task is to identify, classify and interpret the latent and hidden inhuman tendencies in contemporary art and media culture. Based on the complex interdisciplinary research, bringing together four institutions from the Charles University and the University of West Bohemia, we intend to expose, survey and interpret the “focal points” of contemporary artistic and media imagery, whose convergent projection is an “inhuman” image of man.
In this regard, we can delimit three strands of our theoretical focus.
1) The spiraling tension between the techno-logic of current apparatuses and agents of image production, their dissemination (online circulation, meme warfare, semiotic terrorism), reception (gaming, identity politics), institutionalization (after-effects of the “archive turn”, the new roles of the galleries and museums), and the techniques of immediation, immersion, media overhaul and related fading out of traditional historical orientation and subjectivity.
2) The digital “Umwelten” and strategies of production of images in close connection to
cohabitation and worldbuilding. Why do the mediated strategies of worldbuilding and cohabitation take on the form of dystopias, crisis, and apocalypse? We need to analyze the cultural forms of reappropriation of futures, which requires revision of the philosophical tradition and media theory in order to clarify the new “technological a priori” in the light of the ongoing battles over our temporal and ontological politics.
3) We will also test the possibilities of a negotiable position in the pluralities thus described.
In the words of Frank Deligny , what would be the role of art in conceiving a common space for the various forms of “otherness”, without being necessarily pessimistic? This will lead us towards the concept of diplomacy as it was developed by Bruno Latour: as a work across different modes, through which confused ontologies can be made understandable between various groups of interests.

This project has received funding from the Czech Science Foundation: GA 22-17984S

Duration of the project: 3/2022 – 12/2024