Octopus Journal (theoctopusjournal.org), an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed online journal published by the graduate students of the Ph.D. program in Visual Studies at UC Irvine, invites proposals for submissions to its Spring 2011 volume, Invisibility. Across the humanities and social sciences invisibility has proven to be a fecund topic, which we wish to further explore through papers that test and stretch the limits of visuality and visual forms of representation.

All fields define themselves by exploring their own limits, and the limit of any study considering visual objects, it may necessarily seem, is what is invisible. In surveying the work done in this area, however, we find that the line separating the visible and the invisible is anything but clear. Whether for political, aesthetic, ontological, or technological reasons, this is a line that is continuously being redrawn and reshaped, a permeable and oft-transgressed membrane rather than a solid demarcation. In studying the visual we often find ourselves playing on the edge of even this widely defined field, unearthing that which is hidden or has formally been invisible, questioning the reasons and conditions for invisibility, and engaging with theoretical concepts that attempt to address that which cannot be seen.

In this light, we invite proposals from a variety of inter/disciplinary perspectives for papers that chart the limits and conditions of visual representability. We anticipate many possible approaches to the invisible, and we welcome proposals on topics including, but not limited to:

  1. The political, including the invisibility or erasure of events or subjects as either a marginalizing or political tactic, and/or the political ramifications of giving visibility and form to that which has been publicly invisible.
  2. The traumatic, in charting either the disappearance, repression, or impossibility of representation or the shifting grounds and conditions of representing the traumatic.
  3. The technological, in that new technologies are continually giving visual form to formerly invisible segments of the material world, inviting questions of the ramifications of making the previously hidden visible, of the ontological status of the newly visible in relation to technologies of sight, and of the methods and techniques that render new parameters and density to the constitution of the visual field.
  4. The ontological, in questions of the representation of that which simply has no visible form, including sensation, the sublime, or the divine.
  5. The aesthetic, including haptic and embodied theories of engagement with art which refocus the site of visual scholarship from an exclusive concern with the visible to that which is felt, touched, or bodily encountered. We welcome projects that explore the intersection of visual and embodied theories of engagement to address the production of visual culture, to address haptic/visual cultural phenomena, and to consider the ramifications of this approach to the visual within scholarship.In addition to written material we invite submissions of web-compatible art—audio, images, video, written word, etc.—addressing the invisible for inclusion in this volume.

The deadline for submissions is March 14, 2011. Please email your 200-250 words abstract and a CV to octopusjournal@gmail.com, including the word “submission” in the subject line. If accepted, the deadline for papers between 2500-5000 words to be peer reviewed will be April 24, 2011.