Since the 1990s forensic science has increasingly come to dominate our cultural imagination a phenomenon seen in popular fiction and television series that champion the infallibility of medico-legal expertise. The Ospectacularization of forensics has made it a defining feature of contemporary life, such that literature, television, the biological and human sciences, architecture, critical discourse, and countless other fields are now seen through its prism. Forensics, however, cannot be reduced to a mere technique or procedure that establishes facts: it is, rather, a rhetorical process whose truth claims should not be taken at face value. While this function once was understood, it seems to have been forgotten in our current infatuation. Vincent Lavoie's ongoing research focuses on a critical examination of the evidentiary value of contemporary images. In this lecture Lavoie will show how recent photographic and artistic interpretations recall forensics' rhetorical role and assert the imaginary potential found in systems designed to establish the facts.
Vincent Lavoie is an associate professor in the Département d¹histoire de l'art, Université du Québec à Montréal. He is the author of Photojournalismes. Revoir les canons de l¹image de presse (Hazan, 2010) and of L'instant-monument. Du fait divers à l¹humanitaire, (Dazibao, 2001). He has published extensively on photography and visual imagery through contributions to exhibition catalogues, edited collections, and journals. Notably, he was artistic director of the 2003 Mois de la photo à Montréal and the editor of Now: Images of Present Time (Mois de la photo à Montréal, 2003). He is also the editor of Imaginaires du présent. Photographie, politique et poétique de l¹actualité (Observatoire de l¹imaginaire contemporain, 2012) the inaugural issue of Cahiers ReMix, an online series of working papers and of the special issue Forensics: Representations and Regimes of Truth (CV Ciel Variable: 93, February 2013). Lavoie is a member of FIGURA, centre de recherche sur le texte et l¹imaginaire (UQAM) and of the editorial board of the journal Études photographiques.
Speaking of Photography is organized by the Department of Art History, Concordia University, and is made possible by the generosity of an anonymous donor, with additional support from the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art; members of the Art History Graduate Student Association; Ciel Variable magazine; and Château Versailles Hotel.
Lectures are free and open to the public.
Corinne May Botz, Three-Room Dwelling (baby¹s crib), 2004. Chromogenic print.