Ana Peraica

Ana Peraica holds a Ph. D. in aesthetics of photography. After graduating from University of Zagreb, in fields of art history and philosophy, she became a researcher in art theory at the Jan Van Eyck Akademie, Maastricht, where awarded UNESCO-IFPC, In parallel she undertook three year doctorate course in cultural analysis, theory and interpretation at ASCA, University of Amsterdam and defended her thesis entitled Photography as the Evidence at University of Rijeka. She is an editor of the reader Žena na raskrižju ideologija (Split, HULU / Governmental Office for the Equality of Rights Split, 2007), Victims Symptom – PTSD and Culture (Institute for Networked Cultures, Amsterdam, 2009) and Smuggling Anthologies (MMSU, Rijeka, 2015), and author of Sub/versions (Revolver Publishing, 2009), Fotografija kao Dokaz (Multimedijalni institut, Zagreb, 2018), and Culture of the Selfie (Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam, 2017). Her essays in domains of visual studies and media theory are/were published by many magazines and journals, such as Springerin, Pavilion, Fotografija/Membrana, Afterimage, Leonardo, Flash Art, etc. She is currently working on the book Postdigital Arcadia and coedits Intelligent Agent Reader with Patrick Lichty. She teaches at MA Media Art Histories program at the University of Danube in Krems, as well as at the MA Media Art Cultures (ERASMUS MUNDUS) program at the University of Danube, Aalborg, Poznan and Singapore. Peraica lives and works in Diocletian’s palace, in Split (Croatia), where she runs a family photo shop Atelier Perajica and actively engages in the preservation of life inside this inhabited Roman monument on the WH list.

While a backdrop actively participates in narration by force of visual rhetoric, the background is simply the best technical choice that serves to amplify the forefront.

Dr. Ana Peraica was born into a family of photographers. Her grandfather, as well as her father after him, run a family photo studio Atelier Perajica on the main square of Diocletian’s palace in Split, Croatia. The studio went into Ana’s hands, and she still works there herself today. Besides running the business, her main focus is photographic theory, more precise the field of contemporary arts, visual culture studies and media theory. It is very thought- provoking to see how her background and studio practice influenced her research and vice versa. In her writings she focuses on networked society, strategies of anonymity and pseudonymity, parallel hyper-narratives etc. She currently works on her new book Postdigital Arcadia in which she focuses on changes in the post digital photography (eg. aerial images and 360 images), and reflects upon the changes brought about by new visual language on our perception of reality. We spoke also about her last published book The Culture of the Selfie, an important survey on this particular contemporary phenomenon.

Each innovation in visual media changes the way the world behind our back was seen.

(an excerpt from the upcoming book Postdigital Arcadia)

Selfie photography serves not only a traditional role of photographic (self)recording, but also for manoeuvring the space behind one’s own back. Unfortunately, as two realities, the unmediated and mediated, human and machine vision, are not matching, there are many accidents of selfie-makers due to the crabwalk. By this, the photographic technology based on the rear-view mirror – in which objects (may) appear closer than they are – finally resolves one of the largest tragedies of human self-perception; the inability to see and control the world behind one’s back.

Grimace culture finally reached its peak with the development of self-portraiture, proving a certain madness, which had previously only existed in asylums, was now everywhere around us, in various amounts.

The article argues that contemporary selfie culture is fully organized around grimaces, one type of face succeeding the other. After being recorded plenty of times, the “duck face” and “fish face” have become almost natural and socially acceptable. Article questions this assumption asking if these types of faces have not in fact already existed before. Grimace can be a result of an inner input, such as pain or madness, distorting our natural face, which then covers up the natural grimace as clothes do our intimate body parts. Thus, there are funny and less funny, socially communicative and mirror grimaces, there are meaningful ones and completely meaningless distortions of one’s face. Discussing the works of both artists and scientists, such as (among others) Anton Joseph Trčka, Alphonse Bertillon, Jean-Martin Charcot, Duchenne de Boulogne, Hannah Wilke and Sanja Iveković the article deals with the notion of the grimace as the posing in the intersection between public and private sphere.


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