Urban graffiti and baroque allegory, scientific illustration and captioned photograph, music video and scrapbook, ancient pictogram and digital hypertext … the intersections of image and writing are numberless. The course will explore this heterogeneous field of cultural practices and media techniques by focusing on selected instances of ‘textual imagery’ or ‘pictorial script’ from prehistory to contemporary software.

On the one hand, we will follow the genealogies of mechanic, photographic and electronic devices (stone tablet, typewriter, computer code …) as a series of material technologies that pass on immaterial information and cultural knowledge in ever-changing icono/graphic forms. On the other hand, we will discuss wider theoretical approaches to the interrelation of writing and image, their philosophical foundations, conceptual contact zones and impact on cultural discourses. This includes the inevitable entanglement of the two modes of representation in issues of politics, power, gender, memory and identity.

Finally, the course will deepen the students’ awareness of their own media reception and output, including their use of academic text and image sources.

Watch the trailer video for the course here: