International Conference Counter-Image 2024

Visual Culture and Ecological Thinking:
reimagining relationships in the world

7, 8 & 9 August 2024

Centro de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas
Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil.

"It is no longer a question of resuming or transforming a system of production, but of abandoning production as the only principle of relationship with the planet. It is not a question of revolution but of dissolution, pixel by pixel. (...) After a hundred years of socialism, understood as the redistribution of the benefits of the economy, perhaps it is time to invent a socialism that challenges production itself. Injustice is not limited to the redistribution of the fruits of progress but to the very way in which the planet produces fruit. (....) Against repeating everything exactly as it was before [the COVID-19 pandemic ]."
Bruno Latour, Where to land? (2020, no page)

“A territory is not just a piece of land. A territory bears the marks of centuries, of culture, and traditions. It is a genuinely ethical space, not just a physical one, as many politicians want to impose. The territory is almost synonymous with ethics and dignity. The territory is life; it is biodiversity, and it is a set of elements that make up and legitimise indigenous existence. Territory is a cosmology that includes ancestry.”
Eliane POTIGUARA, Metade cara, metade máscara ( 2004, p. 105)

Bruno Latour's words about the need to completely abandon our approach to the planet, based on accumulation, monoculture, and extractivism, along with Eliane Potiguara's thoughts on the meaning of territory, serve as the starting points for the debate that we aim to launch at the third edition of the Counter-Image Conference in Florianópolis, Brazil. This debate aims to explore image and visuality as it impacts the construction of our worlds.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the damaging effects of industrialisation on the environment as human activities came to a halt globally. Benefiting from this awareness, Latour proposes a "return to Earth" that avoids repeating the mistakes made by industrialised Western societies – the place from which we are talking – and reimagines our relations in the world encompassing all existents (human, non-human and more than human). Eliane Potiguara, a writer and researcher of the Potiguara people, challenges the Western conception of territory, reducing it to mere physical space and a source of material resources. She believes the indigenous world, which still resists, offers a more comprehensive perspective as a place of biodiversity and ancestry with a cosmological dimension. In her conception, humans are not separate from other existents, including mountains and rivers, often considered non-living in Western epistemologies.

Since keeping ourselves indoors is not a solution, we must consider other approaches. The ecological crisis has become today's pressing political issue. How have visual representations impacted conceptions of the environment? How can visuality contribute to new epistemologies and ecological thinking?

See here the complete text of the call.


Registration is mandatory, but no fees are charged.

Working languages: Portuguese, English and Spanish

Conference Calendar

18th March 2024

Notification of acceptance
30th April 2024

Registration deadline
30th May 2024


Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil.


Teresa Mendes Flores - ICNOVA, Lisbon, Portugal
Ana Lúcia Mandelli de Marsillac - UFSC, Florianópolis, Brazil
Margarida Medeiros - ICNOVA, Lisbon, Portugal
Filippo Di Tomasi - ICNOVA, Lisbon, Portugal

Organizing Committee

Teresa Mendes Flores - ICNOVA, Lisbon, Portugal
Ana Lúcia Mandelli de Marsillac - UFSC, Florianópolis, Brazil
Margarida Medeiros - ICNOVA, Lisbon, Portugal
Sílvio Marcus Correa - UFSC, Florianópolis, Brazil
Filippo Di Tomasi - ICNOVA, Lisbon, Portugal
Iacã Macerata - UFSC, Florianópolis, Brazil
Anderson Abreu - UFSC, Florianópolis, Brazil
Lizângela Torres - UFPEL, Pelotas, Brazil
Rita Cássia - ICNOVA, Lisbon, Portugal
Diogo Bento - CICANT, Lisbon, Portugal
Gerusa Bloss - UFSC, Florianópolis, Brazil
Andressa Colbachini - UFSC, Florianópolis, Brazil

There is an extractivist monoculture of the way of producing images that performs imagery itself as a mere representation of a given world and which has the effect of homogenising pictures and, therefore, the possibility of performing worlds. How can we address these issues?

What visualities or counter-visualities make reimagining and implementing new non-extractivist relational forms possible, and what relations would they be? How does visual culture contribute to ecological thinking, and vice versa? Should we examine how images portray the connections between humans and non-humans and how these depictions influence our identities and perspectives?

The concept of landscape exemplifies this. In the Western Eurocentric model made canonical in/by the global North, the landscape genre codified the modern separation between culture and nature, between the viewer on the one hand and the image on the other, subjects and objects inside and outside. It corresponds to the famous model of the "Albertine window", which describes the symbolic device of artificial perspective as corresponding to an image one would see when looking at the world outside through a window. This "symbolic form" (Panofsky), which accompanies the growth of cities (Lefebvre), regulates the relationship between spectator and image. It is based on the centrality of the human being and the spectator's eye ("man at the centre of all things"). The landscape genre symbolises the distant place attributed to nature in European and Western cultures. Nature, perceived as landscape, is a 'backdrop', even when it is the main subject, aesthetically appreciable and economically appropriable. Photographic and film cameras automate this model and have contributed to transforming the conception of the world into a succession of "world images" (Heidegger), becoming a form of epistemology. On the other hand, the search for immersive forms of communication that simulate merging into the whole landscape has also become a constant desire.

Building on Latour's questioning about production, we can ask: What kind of production? What type of image production should we promote?

In the Western Eurocentric model made canonical in/by the global North, the landscape genre codified the modern separation between Culture and Nature, subject and object. The concept of the "Albertine window" model is well-known. It explains how the artificial perspective creates an image that resembles the view of the outside world through a window. This "symbolic form" (as described by Panofsky) is linked to the development of cities (as per Lefebvre) and controls how the viewer interacts with the image. Photographic and film cameras automate this model and have contributed to transforming the conception of the world into a succession of "world images" (Heidegger), becoming a form of epistemology. On the other hand, the search for immersive forms of communication that simulate merging into the whole landscape has also become a constant desire.

W.J.T. Mitchell states that the landscape genre is typical of imperialism and "like money, [landscape] is a natural scene mediated by culture. It is both a represented and presented space, both a signifier and a signified, both a frame and what a frame contains, both a real place and its simulacrum, both a package and the commodity inside the package' (Landscape and Power, 2002: 5). Nature and landscape, as Anne Cauquelin says in L’invention du Paysage (2004), are concepts that tend to be confused, which increases the difficulties of their critique.

However, there are other ways of producing images. Eduardo Viveiros de Castro (Cannibal Metaphysics, 2018), while mapping Amerindian cosmologies, proposes that, in conceiving the diversity of ways of life, it is not a question of multiculturalism (one Nature, several points of view about it). Instead, it is a multinaturalism: the perspective creates not different representations of the same world but multiple worlds, multinatures. Adding to this, Isabelle Stengers ("Gaia, The Urgency to Think (and Feel)", 2014) proposes that we confront the intrusion of Gaia: if the monocultural-extractivist mode of production subtracts reality (there is only one world-nature-landscape to be represented), we must instead add realities: "We must learn to tell other stories, neither apocalyptic nor messianic, stories that instead entail what Donna Haraway calls responsibility: accepting that what we add makes a difference in the world and becoming able to answer for the way that difference occurs, for the way that, in so doing, we give our lot to some ways of living and dying and not to others" (Stengers, "Gaia, The Urgency Think (and Feel)", 2014). Hence the importance Stengers gives to fictional practice as "missing thought experiments". In this line, counter-image artistic practices have emerged, such as those that recover obsolete and artisanal technologies in image production, promote archival and collection processes that challenge the capitalist process, and even denounce the nefarious neoliberal ideals for cultures and the environment.

In short, the third edition of Counter-Image aims to reflect on the challenges of expanding reality by creating new images. These images should invent alternative cognitive and imaginative approaches that promote diversity in Nature and its many forms — in a plurality of worlds.

In this Counter-Image, we want to discuss the intersections between Visual Culture and Ecological Thinking. We accept proposals for oral presentations, artistic research workshops, performance presentations, and other forms of expression not exceeding 20 minutes on the following themes, among others:
  • Visualities and Counter-visualities of ecological thought.
  • Genealogies and archaeologies of ecological thinking and capitalism.
  • Ecological perspectives and practices of repair: knowledge production, care and narrative.
  • Eco-criticism and eco-feminism.
  • Colonial and postcolonial visualities of ecology and capitalism.
  • Social sustainability and image practices.
  • Counter-hegemonic narratives.
  • Epistemologic diversities of counter visualities and counter narratives.
  • Archival dynamics.
  • Artistic practices as a strategy of resistance.
  • Uses of vernacular images and processes in artistic production.
  • Obsolete and artisanal technologies as ecological practices.
  • Indigenous and Black Studies.

Abstracts must be submitted by Monday, 18th March 2024. Portuguese, English and Spanish languages are accepted. We encourage proposals of an ACADEMIC, ARTISTIC or HYBRID nature.
Proposals for papers of 20 minutes duration should be submitted via our Easy Chair account here.

After creating a login, write a proposal with a maximum of 500 words, five keywords, and five bibliographic references. Artistic/hybrid presentations should have a maximum duration of 20 minutes and include audiovisual, sound or performative actions. These proposals must be accompanied by a 3-4min short excerpt or an illustrated description, together with the abstract, keywords and bibliographical references mentioned above. In all cases, a separate biographical note should be sent.

Please ensure that your name is not mentioned anywhere in the abstract. Proposals will be selected through a blind peer review system. Sessions will be organised on the basis of thematic affinities, regardless of their nature (academic/artistic/hybrid); all papers will be considered equally valid academic outputs. Successful applicants will be contacted by Friday, 30 April 2024.

Visual works or essays may be submitted to a special issue of an academic journal (to be announced).
Elizabeth Edwards

Ângela Ferreira, also known as Berlinde, is an artist, curator, and researcher born in Porto, Portugal, in 1975. She holds a Ph.D. in Visual Communication with a focus on photopainting and self-representation of indigenous nations from the University of Minho, Portugal. She graduated in Curatorial Studies and completed her Master's in Photography at the Utrecht School of Arts in the Netherlands. Her post-doctoral research was conducted at the School of Fine Arts, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she explored contemporary visual practices that challenge hybrid forms of photography.Over the past decade, ngela has curated contemporary photography exhibitions across Europe, Asia, and Latin American countries, with a special emphasis on Brazil. She co-founded the Encontros da Imagem Festival and currently serves as an independent curator for international festivals and exhibitions, notably the Solar FotoFestival in Brazil, where she holds the position of artistic director. ngela is also a consultant for international awards and is a member of the global photography association, Oracle, and the Curatorial Council of the Museum of Photography in Fortaleza, Brazil. She is Guest Professor at the School of Architecture, Art, and Design at the University of Minho and the Lusofona University in Lisbon. ngela is also a co-founder of the Nervo_Portuguese Photobook Observatory (2022). She splits her time between Portugal and Brazil, working in the realm of narrative transversality, predominantly expressed through photobooks, where photography realizes its creative potential.
Bio Link

TRANSA, Ballads of the Last Sun by Ângela Berlinde

In the vastness of the Amazon rainforest, TRANSA invites us to an aesthetic and existential dance through the hybridism of photography, surprising us with indigenous myths and tales, such as that of Iracema, the "virgin of honey lips " from José de Alencar's novel, personifying the creative and fecundating grace of nature. TRANSA emerges as a reflection on contemporary existence, threatened by the limbo and brutality of colonization processes that are now being reversed. In this suspended time, the Earth seems to echo a silent cry that encompasses all civilizing forces—oppressive and subaltern, those of the mainstream history and the minorities, women, blacks, indigenous people, and colonizers. In this work, ngela explores an experimental approach by creating a photobook that summons photography, painting, cinema, literature, and comics to craft a narrative inspired by Alencar's novel. Allegory, history, and fiction infiltrate the present, blurring the linearity of Western history and reopening gaps in the narrative. In this hybrid cartography, the dominant ecosystem is the transit between times, techniques, species, languages, formats, shouts and sighs, reality and fiction, sadness and exaltation.
Project Link