Multimedia dimension of culture, which until recently could be treated as an object of prognosis and theoretical description, became nowadays common human experience, shaping social relations and forms of artistic expression. A general belief about growing significance of visual aspects of culture is the effect of this process. However, the moment when visuality is perceived as a predominant form of communication did not revoked the former ways of expression but on contrary strengthened and triggered their hidden and forgotten functions of representing the world. 

By depriving writing of its function as an exclusive vehicle (medium) of organizing social relations, visuality reminded us about cultural relation between word and image. The importance of these changes is confirmed by interdisciplinary field of research conducted under a common name of an “iconic turn”, in which visuality is considered an ideologically varied (diverse) cultural phenomenon. Here we see the crucial point of thesis opening the conference discussion. 

In reference to the academic trends, mentioned above, the aim of our conference is a debate on the meaning of culture created under conditions of double reference of word and image. We assume that situation, when objects of cultural and artistic expression become languages themselves, leads to verification and negotiation between a rhetorical and allegorical dimension of message, thereby restoring their artistic and iconic aspects. This is the moment when iconicity, through shapes and textures, leads to discover, among the new, hidden foundations of anthropology and permanently looking for new references in the reality of cross-cultural world.

For all these reasons we choose fashion and fashion model as a cultural symbol of this quest. Fashion is a domain, which organizes the principles of public life in its most quotidian (daily) aspects. It makes clothes a matter of social praxis and combines common beliefs about beauty with new artistic trends. Together with architecture, fashion co-organizes different elements of public space in its most popular dimension (street life) as well as in sophisticated forms of changing fashion tendencies regarding design aesthetics and cultural etiquette. In view of fashion nobody can remain indifferent, even if a personal or collective reaction towards it takes the form of a conscious negation.

The figure of fashion model, whose visual functions are exposed to ongoing verification in terms of changing fashion trends, becomes a symbolic object constructed in a visual space. Fashion model and fashion itself become objects of cultural pressure and collective expectations, demanding a visual representation. We view fashion model as an iconic form of cultural construct, in which non-verbalised, but visually explicit problems of social science and cultural anthropology interpenetrate.

We are interested in all forms of visuality, which reveal themselves as objects of a shaping discourse, just as a model is shaped by an actively variable narration of fashion. Such kind of implicated visuality once again sends us back to a textual reflection of contemporary humanities. Fashion model regarded as an icon poses questions about culturally constructed and negotiated female figure. It also conceptualizes functions of bodility and universal conditions of an identity of a today’s man.