Issue 7

We are working on the seventh edition. Submissions are now closed. This issue is scheduled for publication in March 2021.

Information on the theme of the seventh edition:

Material Image: Affordances as a New Approach to Visual Culture Studies

Within disciplines concerning artworks from prehistoric artifacts to virtual realities, it is self-evident to discuss the materiality of objects and images. Paradoxically, however, the study of historical and literary sources often shifts the scholarly focus away from this material dimension of visual culture studies. While the so-called material turn tries to counter this development and has a high impact on public discourse, other studies emphasize that objects and images gain meaning through their involvement in human activities. In this respect, the concept of affordance offers new perspectives on the study of ancient and modern artworks.

The concept of affordance is rooted in the studies of the American psychologist J. J. Gibson, who revolutionized the field of perception studies in the 1960s. According to him, things (natural and artificial) inhere affordances; in other words, they offer a certain range of possible activities and, thus, become part of human–thing interactions, depending on their shape and material qualities. This includes a social dimension, as more recent researchers such as A. Costall and D. A. Norman have stressed. The perception of affordances underlies social conventions and mental frameworks of experiences and expectations, as described by frame theories in social and cognitive sciences (e.g., by E. Goffman and A. Ziem).

This has further implications for the field of visual studies: It opens a new methodological pathway in addition to formal analysis and iconology and sheds light on the role of human perception and cognitive activities within reception processes. Besides the intellectual deciphering of images and image-bearing objects, affordances help to describe and discuss rather instantaneous and unconscious modes of perception and reception and, thus, a mode of direct human–thing interaction. The material qualities, the aesthetic effects or “feelings,” and the integration of images into social practices become crucial factors for the unconscious and intellectual aspects of reception processes. Since the design of images and image-bearing objects is an expression of the understanding of affordances by their creator(s), affordances have a historical dimension and allow us to study the socio-cultural and economic frameworks in which they were created.

The special issue of Art Style Magazine, “The Material Image. Affordances as a New Approach to Visual Culture Studies,” shall discuss the impact of affordances for visual culture studies in art history, design theory, new media, archaeology, classics, and related fields. Papers should offer both a critical review of the theoretical background and an in-depth analysis of the socio-historical importance of affordances respect to one of the following aspects, preferably linked to case studies:

– The potential of affordances as a new approach and perspective in visual culture studies.

– New methodological pathways inspired by the concept of affordance and their relation to traditional approaches and/or the so-called “material turn.”

– The potential and limits of cognitive studies/neurosciences for understanding reception processes.

– The relation of “natural” affordances, as proposed by J. J. Gibson, and “artificial” affordances, as discussed in design theories.

– The dependency of affordances on social and historical frameworks.

– The impact of affordances on the study of aesthetic effects and the interdependency of aesthetics and functionality.

Click here for PDF file with references.

Author Guidelines 

Language: American or British English. Everything written should be proofread.  

Required structure of the extended essay: title; abstract (approx. 300 words); introduction; body of the essay; conclusion; author biography (at least 150 words), endnotes, bibliography (only authors cited in the text should be referred to in the bibliography). Please, use The Chicago Manual of Style system, in Microsoft Word format (.docx). The extended essay must be of a word count of minimum 3,000 and maximum 5,500 (excluding figures, endnotes and bibliography).  Page setup A4 (210 by 297 mm), default settings (based on the normal Microsoft Word template).

Title: Times New Roman 16 pt, flush left.

Sub-title: Times New Roman 14 pt, flush left.

Sub-section Heading: Times New Roman 14 pt, flush left.

Text body: Times New Roman 11 pt. Line spacing: 1.15, justified. Quotations: more extended quotations should be single-spaced and separated from the text.

Figures: images are required – color or monochrome in RGB color mode. Please, set the resolution of images destined for web pages to 72dpi, and save images in .jpg or .png format only. Resolution: between 1500 and 2500 pixels wide. Don’t enlarge a small image to avoid pixelated images. The related images to incorporate into your paper should have permission from the image owner or use pictures in the public domain. You can choose royalty-free photos with a Creative Commons or similar license. Otherwise, you can create some images of your own. The editorial team will evaluate the images, and choose the most appropriate.

Captions for figures

Works of art can be cited using this format:

Figure 1: Artist’s name, Title, Date, Medium, and support. City, Collection. License information.

But include the publication citation for where the artwork’s image was found unless you have viewed the artwork in person. Any image that is being reproduced publicly should consider adding copyright information, i.e., who owns the right to an image or if it is under a Creative Commons Attribution License.


Figure 2: Will Bradley, The Chap-Book, 1895. This image is available from the United States Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Washington, D.C., USA. Image in the public domain.

Figure 3: Jeff Koons, Sculpture Tulips, 1995-2004. Photo by Pawel Biernacki.
June 10, 2018. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Figure 4: Caspar David Friedrich, Monk by the Sea, 1808-1810.
© bpk Bildagentur / Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.
Photo: Jörg P. Anders / Art Resource, New York.

Author Biography: your full name, e-mail, recent position, and institution, and a short bio with no more than 150 words.

Before you submit your essay, please ensure your paper is ready for submission.

Extended essay submissions that do not meet these recommendations will be returned.

The author is responsible for the images used in the article, attending to the recommendations indicated in this guide, besides using the image under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).

Peer-Review Process

Essays submitted to Art Style Magazine are subject to strict peer review and published online as soon as the two external reviewers have approved them.


Papers submitted to Art Style Magazine are automatically checked for plagiarism; if a paper is plagiarized, it will not be accepted. All published articles go through the plagiarism scanner and must meet the ethical standards of academic conduct. If plagiarism is discovered in a published article, the plagiarized piece will be removed, and the author will no longer be able to publish in this magazine.

Research Publishing Ethics

Art Style Magazine outlines the best practice principles for our publications. We defend the best practices in our publications and follow top institutions’ directions on teaching, science, and research worldwide. With this practice, we wish to remember the fundamental values of recognition of merit and the originality of researchers and authors. Therefore, we present here the central notions of good conduct and research publishing ethics, based on the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the United States National Science Foundation’s policies and procedures, the European Science Foundation’s code of conduct, and the FAPESP São Paulo Research Foundation’s code of good scientific practice.

“Authorship credit should be based only on: (1) substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; (2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and (3) final approval of the version to be published. Conditions (1), (2), and (3) must all be met. Acquisition of funding, the collection of data, or general supervision of the research group, by themselves, do not justify authorship” (ICMJE criteria 2000 and COPE 2020).

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Terms & Conditions

Publishing in Art Style Magazine is free of charge for anyone, there are no article processing charges or other publication fees. Art Style Magazine is independent and supports the Open Access Movement. Art Style Magazine is following what is recommended in international guidelines of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities.

This magazine is available under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). All authors (have) permitted the publication under this license. There is no copyright transfer towards Art Style Magazine, the authors hold the copyright and publishing rights without restrictions. Papers submitted to Art Style Magazine are automatically checked for plagiarism; if a paper is plagiarized, it will not be accepted. All published articles go through the plagiarism scanner and must meet the ethical standards of academic conduct. If plagiarism is discovered in a published article, the plagiarized piece will be removed, and the author will no longer be able to publish in this magazine. The editors of Art Style Magazine cannot be held responsible for errors or any consequences arising from the use of information contained in essays published on the Art Style Maganize’s website. Authors agree to the terms and conditions and assure that their submissions are free of third parties’ rights. The views and opinions expressed in the essays are those of the author and do not reflect the views of Art Style Magazine. The authors of Art Style Magazine’s essays are responsible for its content. Images from other sources should be fully acknowledged in the caption. The Art Style Magazine website provides links to third-party websites. However, the magazine is not responsible for the contents of those linked sites, nor for any link contained in the linked site content of external Internet sites.

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Authors are required to sign a License and Publishing Agreement, when an essay is accepted for publication, retaining copyright while allowing the Art Style Magazine to publish under the terms of that agreement. Authors of Art Style Magazine are invited to accept and agree to be bound by the terms and conditions of Creative Commons.