Call for Papers

Ekphrasis. Images, Cinema, Theory, Media Vol. 32, issue 2/2024


Artificial Intelligence and the Politics of Imagination 


The increasing (and unavoidable presence and effect) of technologies and artificial intelligence in our current understandings of art, reading literature and culture, and the interpretation of visual representations, has generated some of the liveliest debates in recent years. Many discussions have been around and pertaining to what defines the human and the act of creation in the context of AI.

From studies on networks and algorithms (including the ingrained forms of racism of such mechanisms in the works of Safiya Umoja Noble), to forms and properties of after-culture (David Joselit, Ben Davies) and digital (mis)formulations of reality (Hal Foster, Hito Steyerl), the field has been reshaped and re-edited around several acute contemporary problems: the emergence of artificial intelligence, the demise of theory and the violent attacks on critique, the fascination for (wished-for) scientific methods of dealing with artistic and literary objects, the institutionalization of cancel culture etc.

It is perhaps high time to revisit and analyze, in such contexts and amidst such transformations, the viability of the good old concept of imagination and its relationship to/ with artificial intelligence.


We invite contributors to this special issue of Ekphrasis who wish to examine issues related to the articulation of at least (but not limited to) three main questions around the relationship between imagination and artificial intelligence. 


  • in the context of current debates on cultural appropriation and the problem of who has the right to artistically use certain themes and experiences, is imagination a solution that functions ethically concerning alterities or is it a questionable remnant of imperialist procedures and artificiality in its technological form?


  • when attention is given to technological and digital procedures in such a way that there are now works produced with the help of or entirely by artificial intelligence (and American judicial experts are rethinking legislation to allow for copyrights owned by machines), what is the role of imagination in the algorithmic-based forms of producing art?


  • after several decades of violent attacks on critique and theory, often in tune with the marginalization of humanities by the neoliberal economic and academic system, could recent (re)turns towards theory (Franco Moretti, Robert T Tally Jr) signal a resurgence of imagination, interpretation and risk/ courage against the fashion of quantitative, “objective” and scientific methods of analysis? 




Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, Potential History. Unlearning Imperialism. Verso, 2019

Tina M Campt, Listening to Images. Duke University Press, 2017

Ben Davis, Art in the After-Culture. Capitalist Culture and Cultural Strategy. Haymarket Books, 2022 

Hal Foster, What Comes after Farce? Art and Criticism at a Time of Debacle. Verso, 2020

David Joselit, Art’s Properties. Princeton University Press, 2023

Hito Steyerl, Duty Free Art: Art in the Age of Planetary Civil War. Verso, 2017

Robert T Tally Jr, For a Ruthless Critique of All that Exists, Zero Books, 2022

Safiya Umoja Noble, Algorithms of Oppression. How Search Engines Reinforce Racism. New York University Press, 2018



We are welcoming proposals for papers from all theoretical approaches and also from practice-based researchers or artists.

Deadline proposals (150-200 words): 15 May 2024

Acceptance notice: 1 June 2024

Final submission deadline: (5,000-9,000 words for articles, including a 300 word abstract, 5-7 keywords, and a list of references; for book reviews 2,000-3,000 words): 1 September 2024.

Issue editor: Horea Poenar



Note to authors: Both the proposal and the final text should observe the submission guidelines to be found on our website: and the recommended MLA citation style.  

The articles should be original material not published in any other media before.

Ekphrasis is a peer-reviewed academic journal, edited by the Faculty of Theatre and Television, “Babes-Bolyai” University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Ekphrasis is indexed in Emerging Sources Citation Index (Clarivate Analytics), SCOPUS, ERIH PLUS, EBSCO, NSD, and CEEOL.