Agents Of Concern - opening & lecture Florian Göttke

How are images used to raise concerns? Why do certain images concern us more than others? And when does the image itself become a cause for concern?

This opening night & lecture is part of a multiple day programme. Check this website for the complete overview.

16 november 2023
14:00 - 22:00
PXL MAD Gallery, Elfde Liniestraat 25, 3500 Hasselt
Agents Of Concern Titelbeeld Web Horizontaal RGB (C) Graphic Design By Ann Bessemans, READSEARCH Agents Of Concern Titelbeeld Web Horizontaal RGB (C) Graphic Design By Ann Bessemans, READSEARCH

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The conference and exhibition project Agents of Concern: Images and Empathy brings together an international group of artists and scholars to examine the complex ways in which images affect our emotional and cognitive understanding of the experiences and mental states of others.


  • 14h00: Exhibition opens

  • 16h00: Opening drink

  • 18h00: Words of welcome by Erwin Goegebeur, Bert Willems 

    Introduction to the exhibition and conference by Toon Leën, Pieter Vermeulen

  • 18h25: Lecture Burning Images: Performing Resemblance by dr Florian Göttke

    It has often been argued that people’s empathetic (or antipathetic) response to images stems from images’ visual resemblance to their ‘prototype.’ Drawing from my research on the use of effigies in political protest, I argue that it is not the perception of lifelikeness, but rather conventions governing these theatrical protest performances that compel people to engage in make-believe, to act as if these images were alive, and to experience and express feelings towards them.

  • 19h15: Screening and conversation: Images and Objects: Russia’s War against Ukraine

    The video essay Images and Objects: Russia’s War against Ukraine explores the possibilities and boundaries of an empathic gaze, while providing a personal engagement with various forms of visual representation in the context of multi-sensory warfare. Using original visual material from mostly Ukrainian-based scholars and writers Images and Objects explores the participants’ personal or academic relationship to images, monuments, museums, and environments in the context of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

    Following the screening of Images and Objects, Natasha Klimenko and Miglė Bareikytė will be in conversation with Mykola Homanyuk, Bohdan Shumylovych, and Denys Shatalov, who will join them virtually from Ukraine.

About the participants

Florian Göttke is a visual artist, researcher, and educator based in Amsterdam. He investigates the functioning of public images and their relationship to social memory, politics, and violence, combining visual modes of research (collecting, close reading, and image montage) with academic research. Göttke received his PhD from the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam on the peculiar practice of hanging or burning effigies—scarecrow-like puppets representing politicians—as a form of political protest. His dissertation, under the title Burning Images: A History of Effigy Protests (Valiz, 2021), combines two discursive narratives: a linear text and a parallel assemblage of images. Image narrative and text are like the two voices in a musical composition, each in turn taking the lead to introduce themes, structure the work, direct the reader, halt attention, or accelerate the flow.

Miglė Bareikytė holds the Chair for Digital Studies at European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder), where she is a dual member of the Faculty of Social and Cultural Sciences and the European New School of Digital Studies (ENS). Bareikytė was previously a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Siegen, in the Digital Media and Methods Team led by professor Carolin Gerlitz, where she worked on digital war sensing, media and data practices, media geopolitics, and algorithmic accountability. For many years, she has been researching digitalisation with a special focus on Central and Eastern Europe.

Natasha Klimenko is a PhD researcher at the Graduate School Global Intellectual History at the Freie Universität Berlin and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Her research looks at the transregional artist networks operating in Soviet Central Asia in the first half of the twentieth century, with a focus on the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic.

Mykola Homanyuk is a sociologist, geographer, and theatre maker. He defended his PhD thesis in sociology at V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, Ukraine. Currently, he is an associate professor at Kherson State University, Ukraine. His research interests centre on the politics of memory, critical toponymics, ethnic studies, and documentary.

Bohdan Shumylovych studied art history at the L’viv National Academy of Arts, Ukraine and modern history at the Central European University in Budapest. In 2020 he received his PhD from the European University Institute in Florence. He is a researcher at the L’viv Center for Urban History, where he works on media history in East Central Europe and the Soviet Union.

Denys Shatalov obtained his PhD in history in 2016. Following the beginning of the full-scale Russo-Ukrainian war he started his research project ‘That War’ and ‘This War’: The Entanglement and Interaction of the Imagination, Commemoration and Memory of World War II and the Ongoing War in Ukraine. Since October 2022 he has been a fellow of the Sustaining Ukrainian Scholarship programme at the Centre for Advanced Study Sofia, Bulgaria.

Practical information

  • November 16th 2023
  • 14h00 - 22h00
  • PXL MAD, Elfde Liniestraat 25, 3500 Hasselt
  • Registration is required 

  • This opening night & lecture is part of a multiple day programme
Check the full programme and registration link
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