26th June at 2 p.m. Evelina Januškaitė, doctoral student of Art History and Theory, will defend her dissertation "Volatile Mimesis: Experiencing an Alert Image in Contemporary Art" (Art History and Theory H 003) at Vilnius Academy of Arts, 102 auditorium (Malūnų str. 3, Vilnius).

The dissertation defence meeting will be held in Lithuanian.

The institution where the dissertation was prepared: Vilnius Academy of Arts.

Doctoral supervisor:
Prof. Dr. Giedrė Mickūnaitė (Vilnius Academy of Arts, Humanities, Art History and Theory H 003)

The dissertation will be defended in front of the Joint Academic Board of Art History and Theory of Vilnius Academy of Arts, Lithuanian Culture Research Institute and Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre:

Prof. Dr. Agnė Narušytė (Vilnius Academy of Arts, Humanities, Art History and Theory H 003)

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vaiva Daraškevičiūtė (Vilnius University, Humanities, Philosophy H 001)
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Lolita Jablonskienė (Vilnius Academy of Arts, Humanities, Art History and Theory H 003)
Prof. Dr. Nidesh Lawtoo (Leiden University, Centre for Arts in Society, Humanities, Philosophy H 001)
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Odeta Žukauskienė (Lithuanian Culture Research Institute, Humanities, Art History and Theory H 003)


The focus on perceiver‘s relationship to an image poses the question of the intersection of a surface and subjective gaze. An image needs an external medium to emerge before the perceiver; hence, the importance lies not only in what is being represented, but also in where the image settles down. Today, the actively displaying and gaze-mediating surface becomes a temporary medium of reality that fluid and impatient image demands for. Such image starts to be alert; moreover, it thickens, repeats, and multiplies reality, thus bringing the issue of mimesis back into the discourse of visual culture.

The subject of this thesis is the dynamics of mimesis in contemporary art. The analysis begins with artworks employing physical mirror reflection, which is termed spontaneous mimesis; then discusses photography as a fixed reflection of reality, termed stabilized mimesis; continues by exploring the screens of contemporaneity – fluid mimesis; and finally concludes with an evaporating imprint of reality – volatile mimesis. The rhetoric of theoretical shift is formed in this sequence, and the fluctuation of mimesis is based on the interpretation of contemporary artworks where activating surfaces are employed.

The thesis argues that the alert image, as a (non-)fixative medium, manifests itself in activating surfaces as one of the aspects of contemporaneity. In contemporary art, the alert image is an extreme expression of conceptually suppressed, yet experienced mimesis. Constant multiplication of perceived reality reinforces the experience of temporality and the ever-passing present.

This dissertation offers a revised concept of mimesis, with changeability as its key feature. Such fluid and volatile mimesis circulates in contemporary art, where the alert image desires to find itself in the presence of the viewer.


Photo: The fragment of Dalia Truskaitė‘s artwork From Above. Exhibition “Suiten. Spaces of changing Perceptions”, 2023
Photo by Tomas Terekas.