Uncanny Valley: celebrating the open marriage between underground music/culture and the visual arts

Manouach, I. (Member)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganization of a workshop, panel, session or tutorial


My personal ongoing artistic output and publishing practice of contemporary conceptual comics is a warrant for corroborating the aforementioned intuitions about the medium and they are considered a structural part of this research.

The Conceptual Comics Workshop emphasises the directness of a subversive, marginal art form whose democratic potential depends on its ability to be criticised within itself. It brings to the fore practices that are unaffiliated with the commonly accepted history of the medium and holds that if a comics genealogy exists, can only be individual and idiosyncratic. The unlocatedness in the medium's spectrum is more than an abstraction: works operate on the margins of distribution and reception, artists uncomfortable with the entrenched roles perform under multiple identities and capacities and readers, in the absence of critical discourse engage with the works in forensic, at times nonspecified, ways of examination. I argue, through the workshop, that this condition, more than a minor drawback of a normative industry, induces new behaviours and forms of social relationships. Each of the different assignments explores the very substrate of the comics medium not as a culturally neutral site, but as a way to build alternative historiographies, replete with their own material properties and signifying potential. In the absence of passionately critical discourse in comics, the erratic insights of curatorial and publishing initiatives have failed to produce the conditions for a fluid transdisciplinarity. The workshop, by arguing and claiming the unlocatedness of conceptual comics, entrenched between more respected form of expression, such as poetry, artist books or contemporary art, posits the issue of legitimacy and raises questions to be explored and discussed: In which language may one describe artistic practices that swear fealty to no single history, no major canons and established critical methodologies? In which terms and by the use of which jargon can one describe the unfixed substances of a subcultural production negotiating linguistic and extralinguistic meanings in a globalised world, other than as realms of affects, potentials and strategies?
Period5 May 2018
Event typeWorkshop
LocationGhent, Belgium


  • conceptual comics