Tonight: Facing Forward #2 Future Image

Issue no4
Aug - Sept 2020

The second evening of the lecture series Facing Forward: Art & Theory from a future perspective is centred around the question: What is the future of the image in the visual arts? Meet the speakers: art historian and art critic James Elkins and thinker Jalal Toufic.

In contemporary popular culture, the future is portrayed as an endless series of screen landscapes which transmit a flow of images that completely inundates defenseless viewers.
Will the image really become so ubiquitous in the future, or will verbal culture based on experience gain more ground? And how will art be influenced by these developments? During Facing Forward: #2 Future Image, Jalal Toufic, member of the Arab Image Foundation, will approach the theme from a perspective concerning contemporary Arab representations, and James Elkins from an analytical perspective on the interpretation of images.


JAMES ELKINS is an art historian and art critic. He holds a PhD in Art History, which he finished in 1989. Since then he has been teaching at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he is currently E.C. Chadbourne Chair in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism. His writing focuses on the history and theory of images in art, science, and nature. Some of his books are exclusively on fine art (What Painting Is, Why Are Our Pictures Puzzles?), other publications discuss scientific and non-art images, writing systems, and archaeology (The Domain of Images, On Pictures and the Words That Fail Them). He has also edited numerous volumes, among which the series The Art Seminar, on urgent topics in art history and aesthetics. Current projects include a series called the Stone Summer Theory Institutes, a book called The Project of Painting: 1900-2000, and a series called Theories of Modernism and Postmodernism in the Visual Art. His most recent book is What Photography Is, written against Roland Barthes’s Camera Lucida.

JALAL TOUFIC is a thinker and a mortal to death. He was born in 1962 in Beirut or Baghdad and died before dying in 1989 in Evanston, Illinois. He is the author of Distracted (1991; 2nd ed., 2003), (Vampires): An Uneasy Essay on the Undead in Film (1993; 2nd ed., 2003), Over-Sensitivity (1996; 2nd ed., 2009), Forthcoming (2000), Undying Love, or Love Dies (2002), Two or Three Things I’m Dying to Tell You (2005), ‘Âshûrâ’: This Blood Spilled in My Veins (2005), Undeserving Lebanon (2007), The Withdrawal of Tradition Past a Surpassing Disaster (2009), Graziella: The Corrected Edition (2009), What Is the Sum of Recurrently? (2010), and The Portrait of the Pubescent Girl: A Rite of Non-Passage (2011). Many of his books, most of which were published by Forthcoming Books, are available for download as PDF files on his website: He is presently a guest for the year 2011 of the Artists-in-Berlin Program of the DAAD.

Facing Forward, Art & Theory from a Future Perspective – Future Image
James Elkins, Jalal Toufic
Moderated by Monika Szewczyk, introduction by Moosje Goossen
14 December, 20:00 hrs
Oude Lutherse Kerk, Amsterdam
December 15th, 10.00 hrs: Workshop with James Elkins at W139

Tickets and more information:

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Metropolis M Magazine for contemporary art No 4 — 2020