History of Art and Architecture

2022 HAA Graduate Symposium - Virtual Matters: Rethinking Image and Reality in Art History

Friday, March 25, 2022 - 8:45am to 5:15pm

The Temporalities Constellation is proud to present the 2022 HAA Graduate Symposium:

Keynote Speaker: Barbara London, curator and founder of video exhibition and collection programs at the Museum of Modern Art 


Since early 2020, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed our relationship with the moving image, as screens have become the interface for our social, educational, professional, even medical interactions. Platforms such as Zoom and VooV have been added to our cultural vernacular, along with increased rates of engagement with screen-based entertainment. COVID has accelerated the use of virtual media, raising the question for us of what virtual reality in fact is: What are its modes? Its scope? Its effects? Furthermore, how do we tow the increasingly indistinguishable boundaries between what is real and what is imagined? In this symposium, we use the notion of “virtual matters” to both suggest the importance of the virtual and to assert its various materialities, i.e. it has content and presence via various modes of online interface. Within this context, we ask, what is virtual reality? 


8:45-9:00am: Virtual coffee

9:00-9:15am: Welcome  

9:15-9:45am: Barbara London’s keynote address 

9:45-10:45am: Panel 1 - ACTIVATED VIRTUALITIES  

  • Jori Snels, University of Amsterdam, “​​The in-between-space: Reimaginations of virtual being in aaajiao’s + Lu Yang’s videogame art"
  • Sarah Myers, Stony Brook University, “When a Black Man’s Blue: HBO’s: Watchmen and the Draw of the Alternate History Genre” 
  • Frederica Simmons, University of St. Thomas, Minnesota, "Ephemeral Movements: Mapping Anti-Racist Protest Art" 

10:45-11:15am: Faculty Respondent + Audience Q&A  

11:15-11:30am: Break  

11:30am-12:30pm: Panel 2 - VIRTUAL PRACTICALITIES   

  • Luise Mörke, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, “Insubstantial Actualities. The digital and the analogue in Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria (2021)” 
  • Gene Anthony Santiago-Holt, University of Delaware, “Noise, Performance, and Puerto Rican (Taino) Futurism”
  • Xiaofan Wu, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University "A Live Stream that May Last for Years"  

12:30-1:00pm: Faculty Respondent + Audience Q&A  

1:00-2:00pm: Break 

2:00-2:40pm: Panel 3 - GEOSPATIAL BORDERS

  • Cindy Evans, Florida State University, “Frieder Nake and the Ethics of Cold War Computer Art”
  • Clara Royer Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, “Allocating the Bandwidth: Slow-Scan and the New World Information Order (1978-1990)” 

2:40-3:10pm: Faculty Respondent + Audience Q&A 

3:10-3:30pm: Break  

3:30-4:30pm: Panel 4 - FUTURISTIC REALITIES   

  • Isaiah Bertagnolli, University of Pittsburgh “‘More Human than Human’: Virtual Humanisms in the Blade Runner Universe” 
  • Sophia Salinas, Southern Methodist University, “Cyber Touch: The Body and Transgression in Cyberfeminist Art Practices” 
  • Cory Wayman, University of Utah, “She Lies, She Cries: Currencies of Affect, Beauty & Performance in Leah Rachel’s Curious Female Casting Couch (2017)”                                                                                                     

4:30-5:00pm: Faculty Respondent + Audience Q&A 

5:00-5:15pm: Closing remarks


Please see the program for more details, and contact pittgradsymposium@gmail.com with any questions.

*Accessibility arrangements: The Symposium has traditionally been an in-person event, giving participants the opportunity to connect with their peers. However, academic travel presented a challenge to graduate students of all abilities long before the COVID-19 related restrictions emerged. Considering the uncertainty of US COVID-conditions as we head into winter, we have decided to hold a virtual Symposium. This means that papers will be delivered through synchronous Zoom presentations. In addition to mitigating the spread of COVID-19, we hope that this online format will make the symposium more accessible and equitable for participants and audience members alike.