Optika 2: A Symposium on Visual Narrative

If you’re of a purely abstract frame of mind, you might as well go home. If, on the other hand, you’ve always got something to say, read on. The University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez is sponsoring a symposium and exhibition on “the theory and practice of visual narrative.” “That’s a mouthful,” you might well say, but it’s what artists do all the time. The Mayagüez gathering appears to have something for everyone, from academics to graffiti artists to mimes. Well, maybe not mimes, but maybe so. In any event, it’s an opportunity to visit Puerto Rico’s fabled west coast and see what is rumored to be one of UPR’s best campuses. Details of the event are below, and an English translation of the poster follows.

Optika 2 is a three-day symposium which will explore the theory and practice of visual narrative. Academics, independent scholars, students, and artists are invited to participate. Both academic and creative work are welcome and may be submitted in either English or Spanish. The organizers are interested in a variety of critical and theoretical perspectives which contribute to our understanding of the many ways we might conceive of visual narration. We are also interested in formal diversity. Thus papers or creative work may engage with the visual in defined genres, or in less-studied hybrid or emerging forms. Forms and genres include film, television, music videos, theater, opera, performance art, installations, painting, sculpture, photography, commercials, billboards, comics, cartoons, graphic novels, graffiti, digital and internet forms. Selected work will be published in the symposium proceedings.

The first Optika symposium, which took place in 2005, brought together people from a variety of artistic, intellectual, and cultural backgrounds and resulted in a wonderfully stimulating two-day conversation about the possibilities of visual narration. It also resulted in a book on the subject soon to be published by the University of Puerto Rico Press. When the symposium ended, everyone was asking when Optika 2 would take place. So we are happy to announce the second edition of Optika, and invite you to submit your proposals:

Optika 2: A Symposium on Visual Narration
University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday February 7th, 8th and 9th, 2007
Organizers: Mary Leonard, Laura Bravo

Academic submissions are by abstract and should be accompanied by a biography of not more than 3 sentences. Abstracts should be no longer than 300 words long. Papers should be no more than twenty minutes long.

Creative work is by proposal (300 word maximum), and should be accompanied by a biography of the artist no longer than 3 sentences and a visual representation of the proposed work. Presentations or projections may last from 1 to 10 minutes. In the case of photographs, paintings, sculpture, and other static forms, the artist  should submit a narrative piece composed of up to 10 individual elements (e.g., a narrative composed of 10 photographs). Submissions which include more than ten elements may be accepted if the artist convincingly justifies the need for the inclusion of all the elements  proposed.

The organizers seek to include a wide variety of artistic forms and approaches to visual narration and will give preference to submissions which will provoke the spectator to reflect upon, question or rethink the ways in which stories can be visually constructed.

Deadline for submissions: Monday, September 25, 2006.

Send submissions for papers/presentations to:

Mary Leonard
English Department
323 Chardon Building
University of Puerto Rico
Mayaguez Campus
Mayaguez, Puerto Rico 00681

Send submissions for the gallery exhibition to:

Laura Bravo