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Call for Papers: Issue 39: The Copy

Published onApr 18, 2024
Call for Papers: Issue 39: The Copy


Issue 39 - The Copy

Deadline: Submissions due June 30, 2024 to [email protected].

As a practical and conceptual device, the copy has remained important to many disciplines. Imitation, as Paul Duro describes, has a long global history as it appears in art and visual culture (Duro, 2014). Matters of authenticity, resemblance, and repetition carry multiplicities of meaning across time period and cultural context. The central importance of imitation and/or copying in artistic forms/traditions is only further reflected in contemporary discourse on AI-generated art and theft. In film and media studies, early discourse on mechanical reproduction (Benjamin, 1935) shaped the field of media studies while, much later, digital technology raised questions of whether digital manipulations and remixes destroyed cinema’s status as an indexical medium (Rodowick, 2007). Indeed, the digital turn of the 1990s continues to shape questions of cinema’s reproducibility to this day.

As described by Lev Manovich more than 20 years ago, new media’s  ability to cut, assemble, remix, and widely circulate digital information has become central to the way we create, consume, and experience media (Manovich, 2002). We inhabit an era where everything is copyable and manipulable and where the “original” can be increasingly hard to find. From the endless replication of memes, the mimetic performance that structures social media platforms like Tik Tok, to the automated content reproductions and facsimiles populating the gray markets of the content economy; the copy is a central form, act, and function. Copies continue to fuel long standing debates about originality and authenticity, mimicry, and reproducibility. Recent examples include concerns over plagiarism in YouTube video essays and the rise of NFTs as guarantors of authenticity over digital objects.

Of course, copying never required the affordances of digitization, as evidenced by reproductions ranging from earlier Roman copies of Greek statues to the architectural imitation observed within the urban simulacrascapes of China. (Bosker, 2013) Contemporary artists use copying as well, like Yinka Shonibare’s use of symbols and intertextuality to remake Victorian and Edwardian costumes and sculptures in “African” batik fabric. Shonibare’s work challenges imperialism and explores cultural hybridity. It also underlines the need to attend to the copy as a cultural form.

For Issue 39, InVisible Culture asks: What is there to say about the copy today? How do we account for the copy in visual culture, specifically in a contemporary moment where technologies such as AI and digital fabrication have taken such a prominent role in society? As digital media is no longer “new,” does any novelty remain in the digital copy? What does the physical act of copying physical media do/mean differently today? How does the process of imitation/copying continue to shape social dynamics, aesthetics, and politics?

InVisible Culture invites issues that engage with copies/copying as manifested in visual culture, from material reproductions/facsimiles/castings/sculpture to the aesthetics and circulation of digital media. Moreover, we encourage submissions that engage with copying or imitation as it pertains to sociality, whether it be in through “imitation publics on Tik Tok” (Zulli and Zulli, 2022); how online data collection reshapes human subjects as “informational persons” (Koopman, 2019); or what citation does in different cultural contexts (Duro, 2014).

We invite works from the disciplines of film studies, media studies, art history, anthropology, and visual studies on topics that are not limited to but include:

  • Digital cinema

  • NFTs, authenticity/theft of digital art

  • Memes

  • Mimesis and mimicry

  • Parody and pastiche

  • Sculpture

  • Social media and mimicry/repetition

  • Digital identity/performance/performativity

  • Seriality and serial art

  • AI-generated art

  • Fakes, forgeries, and bootlegs

  • Cross-cultural replication

  • Representations of race/gender/culture in copies

    • Especially gaming and digital media “asset swapping”

  • Replica modeling 

  • The double/doppelganger

  • Post indexicality in cinema and photography

  • Photographic processes

  • Print copy machines, zines


Please send completed papers (with references following the guidelines from the Chicago Manual of Style) of between 4,000 and 10,000 words to [email protected] June 30, 2024. Inquiries should be sent to the same address.

Creative/Artistic Works

In addition to written materials, InVisible Culture accepts works in other media (video, photography, drawing, code) that reflect upon the theme as it is outlined above. Please submit creative or artistic works along with an artist statement of no more than two pages to [email protected]. For questions or more details concerning acceptable formats, go to or contact the same address.


InVisible Culture is also currently seeking submissions for book, exhibition, and film reviews (600-1,000 words). For this issue we particularly encourage authors to submit reviews of games or other forms of interactive media. To submit a review proposal, go to or contact [email protected].

About the Journal

InVisible Culture: A Journal for Visual Culture (IVC) is a student-run interdisciplinary journal published online twice a year in an open access format. Through double-blind peer-reviewed articles, creative works, and reviews of books, films, and exhibitions, our issues explore changing themes in visual culture. Fostering a global and current dialogue across fields, IVC investigates the power and limits of vision.

Each issue includes peer-reviewed articles, as well as artworks, reviews, and special contributions. The Dialogues section offers timely commentary from an academic visual culture perspective and announcements from the editorial board.

*** The banner image at the top contains a manipulated photo that was taken by Mike Babiarz. The original can be found here.

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