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IMAGES IV – Images of the Other: Istanbul – Vienna – Venice  

A 2-3-days international and interdisciplinary conference


Call for Papers


After the conferences IMAGES (I) – Films as Spaces of Cultural Encounters (2011), IMAGES (II) – Images of the Poor (2012) and IMAGES (III) – Images of the City (2013), the IMAGES project is planning to focus on Images of the Other as documented in the images/ representations of Istanbul, Vienna and Venice in its 2014 conference.


Starting from the Middle Ages all three cities have been (culturally) mythologized as points of cultural intersection in works of literature, arts and film; be it as the spaces where East meets West, where lines blur between the conscious and the subconscious, between life and death, between the visible/ the seen and the invisible/ the unseen, or as spaces identified with the evil, as the Moloch luring – all these mythologizations being part both of the self-perception documented in the native cultural production and of the perception from the (cultural) “outside”.


Regarding this fact the IMAGES project has decided to discuss the (historically) changing representation and perception of the three cities in its 2014 conference IMAGES (IV) – Images of the Other: Istanbul – Vienna – Venice; the representations being seen as documentations of cultural approaches and also of cultural concepts. Hence, the historically grown mythologizations of the three cities create a sheer unlimited number of potential cases of both cultural encounters and conflicts, including most of the socially relevant fields in the academic discourse on the topic, like politics, communication, culture, and migration.


In order to discuss issues like the above mentioned IMAGES (IV) – Images of the Other: Istanbul – Vienna - Venice invites scholars, but also architects, photographers, writers, artists and filmmakers to propose papers in the following fields of research and interest:


  • The Making of a Myth (theoretical approaches with special reference to the three cities Istanbul, Vienna, Venice)
  • The psychology of feeling Istanbulite, Viennese and Venetian
  • The psychology of attraction (theoretical approaches with special reference to the three cities Istanbul, Vienna, Venice)
  • Istanbul’s, Vienna’s, Venice’s cityscape as a (mythologized) statement
  • The impact of the media (news, internet, daily soaps) on the perception of Istanbul, Vienna, Venice
  • Images of Istanbul, Vienna, Venice in feature films (present and past)
  • Images of Istanbul, Vienna, Venice in the Arts (present and past)
  • Images of Istanbul, Vienna, Venice as seen by photographers (present and past)
  • Images of Istanbul, Vienna, Venice in literature (present and past)


The conference IMAGES (IV) – Images of the Other: Istanbul – Vienna - Venice is planned as a 2-3 days interdisciplinary international conference.

It will bring together senior scholars with PhD students, postdoctoral academics, and members of the artistic community without following the classical keynote speaker pattern but rather inviting all speakers either to present their research findings in 20 minute (paper) presentations plus 10 minutes for discussion or in 120-150 minute panels (4-5 panelists).

There will be no parallel sessions. All sessions will be plenary sessions.


The conference language is English.


Selected articles of each session/ field of research will be published as a volume of conference proceedings. Münster, Berlin, Vienna and New York based LIT Verlag has already declared strong interest in publishing the conference proceedings. The publication will provide (limited) space for black-and-white illustrations.



Conference site and date:


Istanbul, Austrian Cultural Forum, 02-04 September 2014



Extended deadline for paper proposals:


06 July 2014 (24.00 MET)


Please, send paper proposals to images-1@gmx.at and cc them to veronika.bernard@uibk.ac.at and otuzun@hotmail.com and gonul.ucele@bahcesehir.edu.tr 


Deadline for paper submission (for publication in conference proceedings):


1 month after conference




Planned date of publication of conference proceedings: July 2015


IMAGES project director: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Veronika Bernard (University of Innsbruck)


IMAGES (IV) – Images of the Other: Istanbul, Vienna, Venice organizing committee (in alphabetical order):

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Veronika Bernard (University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck/ Austria)

Ass. Prof. Dr. Hatice Övgü Tüzün (Bahçeşehir University, Istanbul/ Turkey)

Prof. Dr. Gönül Ücele (Bahçeşehir University, Istanbul/ Turkey)



Conference organizing procedures supervised by






Abstracts (in alphabetical order of speaker’s surname)


Özlem Altınkaya Genel: Marmara Sea Waterscapes of Istanbul in the Ottoman Era as The Other: A Perpetual Geo-Historical Interaction

This paper will focus on the relation of Istanbul and The Marmara Sea and aims to understand the instrumentality of The Marmara Sea in the making of Istanbul in the Ottoman Era. While, it has been accepted that The Marmara Sea as “the other water body” lost its importance as the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus gained prominence in the Ottoman Era, The Marmara Sea and its waterscapes continued to set the stage for the emergence of a diverse set of artifacts, land-uses and urban functions as well as creative ways of inhabitations and adaptations Istanbulites invented diachronically.


Gönül Bakay: Venice as a Sinister City in Two Contemporary Novels: Jeanette Winterson’s The Passion and Ian McEwan’s The Comfort of Strangers

This paper aims to examine Venice in Jeanette Winterson’s novel The Passion and Ian McEwan’s novel The Comfort of Strangers, using Henri Lefebre’s theories.


Veronika Bernard: Mordkommission Istanbul (Homicide Division Istanbul) and Donna Leon – Some Thoughts on the Representation of Istanbul and Venice in German TV Series

Over the past decade a trend can be seen with German TV channel productions to present viewers with channel-produced crime story series set at European cities outside Germany like Venice, Istanbul and Paris and produced with a predominantly German cast staring; the stories developing from the local environments and circling around a detective-protagonist being rooted in these environments. The paper aims at discussing in how far two of these series, Mordkommission Istanbul (Homicide Division Istanbul) and Donna Leon (based on the Commissario Brunetti novels by pseudonym-writer Donna Leon), promote both stereotypical images of Istanbul and Venice and particular social concepts.


Nerma Cridge: Excess Water – Vienna Venice and Istanbul

This paper will discuss all three cities as a series. The images in question will aim to show how water in its extreme can unite, almost seamlessly merge and connect disparate places into a prolonged uninterrupted singular space. Visuals of floods are going to be juxtaposed with others, where time appears to have stood still. In such extreme situations the author of this paper will argue that we are, in fact, what needs to be understood in a completely different city and time; whether it is a single city with three parts, or three cities doubling up as one another, remains to be seen.


Simla Ayşe Doğangün: Images of Venice in Mary Shelley’s The Last Man (1826) and Jeanette Winterson’s The Passion (1987)

The nineteenth-century European imagination perceived Venice as a key landscape for literature not only because of the Romantic attraction to “beauty in decay”, but also because of the ambiguity and paradox that inform its geographical and its cultural heritage. This paper discusses the ways in which Venice emerges as a place of liminality and transgression in the two historically disparate settings of Mary Shelley’s The Last Man (1826) and Jeanette Winterson’s The Passion (1987). In the two novels, Venice is represented as part of the “fluid” boundary between death and life as well as a figure for two intimately linked tropes: death and the female body.


Yusuf Eradam: My Sense of Belonging to IstanPOLIS

The paper starts with a song about a boy being sent to Istanbul from Anatolia (Hayat Ağacı/ Tree of Life) and it closes with another song about a boy living in Istanbul (Patiska). The foremost thesis in this paper is that Istanbul, or the mythified metropolis, embraces all these lost children who act for and against anything while in fact they are searching for what they have lost as soon as they arrived in this metropolis. The paper describes Istanbul as “a proud prostitute, who is still walking and standing tall, unaware that there is a ladder in one of her stockings”; the images built by aspirations, hopes, and extravagant expectations being still there as we want to see them there, however, from a realistic pair of spectacles, that is not what it really is.


Vahid Evazzadeh: Looking at Death in Venice

Luchino Visconti’s adaptation of Death in Venice is a curious case of reexamination of ‘self’, a reflection on having become the other through someone else’s gaze i.e. an Italian filmmaker makes a film based on a German novel in which an exotic view of Italy is conjured through German perspective. I argue that use of zooming shots in Death in Venice is not accidental but rather a conscious choice by the director as an inevitable means of conveying and criticizing the sense of ‘having become the other through some else’s gaze’ for the purpose of reflecting on the self. It is as if Visconti is voyeuristically looking at an outsider’s voyeurism looking at him; the zooming being a scrutinizing look at an observer whose point of view is what identifies one’s perception of oneself.


Theresa Frank: Making and Remaking of the alla franca vs alla turca-Myth in Narratives of Istanbul

The opposition alla franca (=western, secular, modern) versus alla turca (=”authentically” Turkish, devout, traditional) is a popular image in narrations of Istanbul and its inhabitants. Representations of self and other along these attributions can be traced back to 19th century Ottoman Empire when modernization was seen as synonymous to Europeanisation. Today, the story of two rivalling social worlds is still being told; at the same time it more and more faces critical reflection and alteration. After discussing the evolving of this myth I will focus on contemporary transformations of it, showing examples from Turkish cinema/ TV and linking these to everyday discourse.


Tanja Habrle: The Fire in Venice – Gabriele D'Annunzio's Experience of the Laguna

Gabriele D'Annunzio is one of the greatest Italian writers who signed cultural life at the edge of 19th and 20th century. A certain part of his life he spent in Venice, and described the experience in his novel The Fire. The pages of the novel offer us the influence of Venice, as a scenography and as a living organism, had on these. From a different point of view, thanks to deep descriptions of urban landscape and of influence that Venice architecture has for everyday life, it is possible to analyze the role D’Annunzio gave to the city in this masterpiece. 


Christine Ivanovic: Vienna as Represented in the Third Man*


Nataša Ivanović: Imaginary Istanbul and Realistic View of Vienna by Landscape Painter Lorenz Janscha

This paper will be a presentation of spectator’s horizon of expectations in the terms of the social model of the reception of graphic, drawing or painting before the discovery of photography in the late 18th century in Habsburg monarchy. Both cities, as Vienna like Istanbul, were represented by very important landscape painter and professor on Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Lorenz Janscha (1749–1812), but artist perception of those cities on account of commissioner was different. In Janscha's way presentation of Istanbul and other European cities out of the Habsburg Empire were always depicted as imaginary places, while their picture were commonly used for peep-box to show Vienna’s citizens rare, distant, unknown places. On the other side Vienna was always exposed in realistic manner as a veduta (Ansichten der Residenzstadt Wien) and a panorama, realized in year 1804.


Wibke Joswig: Cultural Inbetweeness in Venetian Images

This paper investigates the mythologization of Venice as an intercultural point of intersection between East and West, focusing particularly on sixteenth-century paintings from Venice, a time when visual myth productions were particularly active in the slowly declining empire. In doing so, it highlights the strategies and forms of mythologizing cultural inbetweeness of the city as constructed in the visual arts, showing that Venetian imaginations of the link with the East do not always rely on a simple dichotomy of Orient and Occident.


Özlem Kumrular: The “Language” and Diplomacy of the Sublime Porte: Venice, Vienna and Constantinople

At the classical age of the Ottoman Empire, the manner of the Sublime Porte towards the diplomatic representatives of the European courts was always the same: arrogant, proud, impertinent, dignified. The imperious, pompous and arrogant language used in the Ottoman court played a notable role in the shaping of the image of the Turk. The image of the Sultan, as an autocrat who manipulated the whole stately power and authority was embodied majorly in the diplomatic language. The principal figures of the Ottoman court made use of this language as an instrument in diplomatic affairs. Examples of oral opression, sustained by dramatization were frequently repeated. The visirs, grand visirs and other statesmen who were versed in the art of rhetorics did not hesitate to practice their aptitude in diplomatic audiences. Their ability in this branch was far-famed and renowned, rather notorios, in the European courts. This paper aims to analyze the language of the Ottoman court used in audiences with the diplomatic envoys, baili, and other figures of the Venetian Republic and the Archduchy of Austria. Diaries, dispacci and avisos are the main sources of this research.


Johannes Marent: The Mediatized and the Lived City: An Investigation in Istanbul’s Urban Imaginary

The presentation will focus on two different perspectives on Istanbul. Pictures created by city marketing organization and photographs taken by citizens. The first images overexpose the city’s wealth, culture and culinary extravagance while fading out the difficulties of everyday life. The second perspective documents the lived reality form the perspective of the citizens. It focuses on the pleasures and troubles of everyday life in the city, generating an ‘insight’ rather than satisfying a pre-existing image. Nevertheless it will be shown how both of these ‘visual worlds’, which seem incomparable at first, do refer to locally shared symbolic meanings.


Roberta Matkovic: Visions of Other Urban Dimensions. Written Travellers’ Experiences

Before the era of mass media the only sources of information were picture and word – written and spoken. Through documents written by Venetian diplomats and travellers and then by Italian ones it is possible to understand how, first Venetians than Italians, saw and see Istanbul. Through the same kind of materials it is possible to understand what the city of Vienna meant to Venetians and means to Italians, and which functions had and has. The written word brings information on how “strangers” saw and see Venice, and which meanings the city offers.


Steve Merrell: Feeling moved – Points of Connection and Separation between Those Who Work to Travel and Those Who Travel to Work

The background to this study is the complex relationship between drivers of contemporary migration and growth in the consumption of “something other” represented by mass tourism. Venice, Vienna and Istanbul are among the most visited cities in Europe. This alludes to a shared mythology and ‘image of the city’ in terms of modern consumerism. Through direct engagement with migrant families, the study explores the relationship between subject and place through the impact of mythology on decisions to move, lived experience and emotional wellbeing. The paper concludes by outlining contemporary points of connection and separation between the migrant worker and the tourist.


Aytül Papila: From the City of Tales, to the Industrial Metropolis: The Changing Images of Istanbul in the Turkish Visual Arts

The aim of this study is to analyse the changing images of Istanbul, on the works of Turkish visual arts, beginning at the Westernisation period of Ottoman Empire, in the 19th century, until the contemporary period, together with the movements, techniques and socio-cultural background.


Talitha Schepers: Images of Istanbul, Vienna and Venice as Seen through the Eyes of Diplomats and Artists Belonging to Early European Embassies (1400-1600)

During the sixteenth century a variety of European embassies travelled to Constantinople passing through cities such as Vienna and Venice. A comparison of the art produced by these embassies with some of their written accounts allows us to investigate the changing representation and perception of Istanbul, Vienna and Venice. I will focus particularly on the views of these three cities as shown by artists who accompanied these embassies.


Sercan Şengün: Gaze of the Local vs the Other: Images of Istanbul in Video Games

One of the main aspects that video game studies focused on is the construction of video game space and the spatial representation of the virtual. This study analysis and creates an up-to-date snapshot of the utilization of Istanbul in video games and compare these representations from the gazes of the locals and the foreigners. The comparison of how Turkish producers presumed how their city looks or should be represented like and how the outside gaze spectacularized the oriental/ alien space is discussed.


Serenella Sessini: Portraits as Testimonies of Cultural Interconnection between Venice and the East in the Renaissance

During the Renaissance, Venice was heavily influenced by Turkish culture, due to both trade and conflict. Wealthy Venetian families modified their habits according to information absorbed from the same people they were competing with in order to control the Mediterranean Sea. Portraits of Venetians from this period demonstrate how it is possible to describe the evolution of the city through the changes in its inhabitants’ style and fashion. In this way, it is possible to provide an innovative insight into the changes happening during this period in Venice, as an intersection of different cultures.


Tonguc Ibrahim Sezen: Digital Capitals of the Renaissance: Representation of Venice, Istanbul and Vienna in the Assassin’s Creed Franchise

This paper proposes a comparative analysis of the representations of Venice, Istanbul and Vienna in the Assassin’s Creed video game franchise. Assassin’s Creed is a historical action-adventure video game series with detailed open world environments populated by artificial intelligence driven societies.  Following the adventures of the fictional assassin Ezio Auditore de Firenze in late 15th and early 16th century, several games in the franchise have featured these cities in different levels. This paper will focus on the architecture of these virtual cities, the representations of social structures, and the actions players may perform in order to analyze their design as narrative spaces.


Hatice Övgü Tüzün: Orientalism Revisited: Istanbul as a Character in Barbara Nadel’s Çetin İkmen Series

In her well-acclaimed Çetin İkmen series, English crime-fiction writer Barbara Nadel offers readers a look inside contemporary Turkey, often overshadowed by the mystic aura of the Ottoman past. Although the protagonist is the chain-smoking, heavy-drinking detective İkmen, the glamorous city of Istanbul emerges as the primary character in the series. As Nadel herself suggests in an interview: “[T]he nature of Istanbul, as a city always connected to its past, makes it possible to bring in elements of times gone by into a contemporary context [..]. Istanbul is always there. It’s in the things my characters see and do, the things they eat and drink and in the uneven and chaotic roads that they travel. At times however, the location takes centre stage”. This paper examines neo-orientalist elements in Barbara Nadel’s İkmen series by focusing primarily on Belshazzar's Daughter (1999) Arabesk (2001) and Harem (2003).


Peter Volgger: Venice – Archipelago of the 21th century?

Hence, and much like Baudrillard’s ‘Pursuit in Venice’, the paper explores Venice by tracking everyday scenes of African migrants, in particular it defines the case of the Murid brotherhood. Migrants establish dynamic networks within a ‘transnational archipelago’ by constantly commuting between their land of origin and the host country. Venice includes an ‘African village’, even if it is not directly visible. Furthermore it explores how such a framework, inscribes itself within the city as a kind of ‘sampling machine’ that transforms existing images and places into an autonomous layer – the Other of the city.


Dean Vuletic: Visions of Vienna in the Eurovision Song Contest

This paper will discuss how Vienna has been represented in the Eurovision Song Contest, the world’s biggest popular music event and one of the most popular television programmes in Europe. Vienna hosted the contest in 1967, and this paper will consider how musical genres and television images were then used to portray Vienna in the context of contemporary geopolitical constellations and historical legacies. As Austria was victorious in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, Vienna might be selected to host the event in 2014, and should this be the case I will also consider how the city might be represented in next year’s contest.


Mathias Windelberg: Images of Others. Other’s Image. Other Images

In a keynote, experiences from and conditions for producing the video installation “Klettergarten” (climbing crag) will be reflected. “Klettergarten” portrays four self-employed workers living in Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary who commute on a day to day basis to Vienna. As all of them struggle with low salaries and poor working conditions, political questions regarding equality and a non-discriminating treatment were raised. These inherently aesthetic questions turned out to be inevitably relevant for the filming process as well. Subsequently the video (17min) will be screened.





* Abstract available online only


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