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The Editorial Team

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On_Culture is an Open Access refereed journal created and edited by doctoral researchers, postdocs, and professors at the GCSC.

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Contributions by Author: The Editorial Team

Editorial: Ambiguity

Conditions, Potentials, Limits

1_Ambiguously Lured Although the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic can be described, inspired by Pauline Boss, as trigger for an “ambiguous loss,” [1] a collectively experienced loss that remains unclear and undefined and thus lingers indefinitely, especially in times of crisis simple answers to complex questions seem to be growing in popularity. Instead, in this issue we as the Editorial Team plead for a “near-sighted, case-study oriented analysis with ambiguity-pragmatic intention,” [2] thereby focusing on the following questions: Are there different stages, degrees, levels [3] or variations of ambiguity, and can they be differentiated terminologically and analytically? Is there a connection between ambiguity and (socio-)political engagement? [4] How can we include ambiguity’s historicity in our conceptual reflections and theoretical discussions? To what extent are the production, perception, transformation, and functions [5] of ambiguity shaped by the occidental Western tradition of thought, and what are the challenging phenomena? Fig. 1: Tim Lorenz, NordWest 2.03, 2019. © Courtesy of the artist To make it a bit more concrete: The teaser image (Fig. 1) to this issue persists in an associative mode of aesthetic ambiguity [6] with a corresponding mode of reception that Verena Krieger identifies as a “continuous cycle of searching for meaning, but this search remains, in the end, unresolved.” [7] Because NordWest 2.03 (2019) by Tim Lorenz is characterized by a striking ambiguity on a formal-aesthetic level (due to its abstract design vocabulary together with its focus-and-blur relations), it triggers a variety of associations in our Editorial Team: I see a nice warm summer day with green spots as grass. (Çiçek Tanlı) My first association was energy and power, I specifically had to think of energy and glowing wires inside a light bulb; my second association was movement, flying particles, sudden moves and turns of flying animals defying expectation and prediction. (Jens Kugele) The yellow reminds me of a flower in the sun. It gives rise to a feeling of comfort, which is then disrupted by the green-black scratches. (Eva Zimmermann) My immediate impression was that of power, energy or electricity (due to the vibrant colors, but perhaps also because the green lines vaguely remind me of wires), chaotic potential, movement, or even rage which has the power to transform the status quo and trigger chaos which results in new possibilities. Relatedly, I’m also thinking of the process of emitting light — which kind of resonates with the notions of hope, creativity,…

Preface: Illness, Narrated

Going past ten issues of On_Culture, it is time for us to explore the further potentials of being an online journal and take a new approach in our teaser images. The current issue, Illness, Narrated, guest edited by Silvia Boide, Benjamin Brendel, Maaike Hommes, Melanie Kreitler, gave us the opportunity to open up our visual style to new possibilities, while challenging us to illustrate illness and narrative via a visual medium.
We wanted to move away from the dominant and paternalistic representations of illness such as pictures of […]

Preface: Metaphors of Migration

The Editorial Team of On_Culture presents the 10th Issue of the journal entitled “Metaphors of Migration,” guest-edited by Jörn Ahrens (Giessen) and Axel Fliethmann (Monash). In view of the surreal times of the COVID-19 pandemic, the preparations of this issue faced hitherto unprecedented challenges. Unsparing to all of us — scholars, writers, family members — the pandemic has compelled us to (re-)consider our priorities and time investments. In order to accommodate authors who might have found themselves in stressful circumstances while still adhering to our bi-annual publication rhythm, the 10th issue of On_Culture is published in two parts: with the first part of contributions in December 2020, and the second part in spring 2021. In line with On_Culture’s visual tradition, this issue’s teaser image aims at avoiding first-glance associations and preconceptions related to migration. The heightened blurriness of the lines seeks to move our vision beyond the assumption of linearity. Inspired by the sphere-like shape of “The Global Flow of People” by the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital, [35] the image features thinning, thickening, crossing and overlapping lines at the core instead of around the globe. Yet, by adding cut and decentered lines surrounded by flecks, we aimed to distance the image from a reductive conception of migration as movement, and to include the notions of staying, home-making, displacement and never-reaching. As the guest-editors write in their introduction, this issue seeks to engage with some of the “less explored facets” of migration, “focusing on the idea that the lived reality of migration is always also framed by discursive formations.” We hope the readers will enjoy discovering these facets, these discursive formations On_Culture may provide. Giessen, December 2020 The Editorial Team   _How to Cite The Editorial Team. “Preface: Metaphors of Migration.” On_Culture: The Open Journal for the Study of Culture 10 (2020). <http://geb.uni-giessen.de/geb/volltexte/2020/15784/>. CC-BY 4.0

Editorial: Love

Politics, Practices, Perspectives

Love as a concept has been simultaneously central and marginalized within the humanities and the arts. It has been theorized in various and often contradictory ways, positioned as both oppressive and liberating; on the one hand, serving political and economic agendas and, on the other hand, fostering solidarity within political action. This issue of On_Culture seeks to open up the complexity presented by love and its relevance to cultural discourses within academic debates, social practices, and the political present. […]

Editorial: Distribution

As a concept and topic for the study of culture, ‘distribution’ can point to a variety of flows of objects. These may range from material goods and media formats to ephemeral opinions, but can also include power structures, the dissemination of knowledge or the traveling of cultural works and theoretical concepts. Distribution is thus ideally situated to grasp changing landscapes of cultural production, academia, and knowledge institutions. This issue of […]