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Events 01|2006

ZKM Symposia

The Role of Pictures in Society.
New Ways of Using Images

An interdisciplinary symposium

01/20/-01/22/2006
ZKM|Media Theater

[=> Intro: dt. | engl.]
[=> Speakers: Abstracts | Biographies]
[=> Panellists]
[=> Programme]

Abstracts ::::

Hubertus von Amelunxen | Volker Böhnigk | Cornelius Borck | Horst Bredekamp | Peter Chelkowski | Michael Diers | Thomas Dworzak | Tom Fürstner | Jim Gehrz | Philip Jones Griffiths | Boris Groys | Wilhelm Krull | Armin Linke | Scott Mc Kiernan | Klaus Neumann-Braun | Susanne Regener | Hans-Jörg Rheinberger | Birgit Richard | Florian Rötzer | Rolf Sachsse | Peter Weibel

Hubertus von Amelunxen :: »Geneticon or the Creative Infertility of Images«

-> Biography

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Volker Böhnigk :: »Image and Type. On the background to National Socialist aesthetics«

-> Biography
-> Abstract auf Deutsch

The lecture attempts to substantiate the proposition that the National Socialist understanding of aesthetics was determined first and foremost by the concept of human type that had its roots in genetics and the biology of race. It maintains that the descriptions applied to National Socialist aesthetics hitherto that it is regressive, restorative, reactionary or quite simply naive are of secondary importance. (From the point of view of its ideological proponents the legitimisation of National Socialist aesthetics is thoroughly modern.)

To what extent a determination of this kind is appropriate to distinguish the National Socialist approach from other anthropologically based, totalitarian concepts of aesthetics, such as those to be found in Italian fascism and Stalinism, will be discussed in conclusion in a number of theses.

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Cornelius Borck :: »The Machine Image as the Mind's Eye. Visualization in the Neurosciences«

-> Biography
-> Abstract auf Deutsch

Visualization is neither new nor specific to the neurosciences. The recent neuroimaging technologies, however, show a remarkably wide and swift distribution via mass media and enjoy particularly broad public attention. In various respects, theses images appear to be perfect pictures; they portray the human brain's topography with extraordinary morphological acuity in vivo, and at the same time, highlight centers of functional activity. Sites of specific interest show up with hitherto unknown precision and impose as unprecedented evidence. Resulting from advanced data manipulation technologies, these images look, nonetheless, remarkably 'natural' and appear to reveal the nature of the human mind. In a historical perspective however, the recent imaging technologies share this potential to kindle public fasination with earlier advances in the neurosciences, and in particular with earlier strategies to visualize the brain in its functional organization. From Paul Flechsig's anatomical demonstration of the pathways of thinking via Oskar Vogt's identification of the cellular substrate for Lenin's intellectual acrobatics to the online observation of the mind at work by electroencephalography, there are plenty examples of how new visualization techniques have marked periods of alleged breakthroughs in the history of the neurosciences. In this perspective, a zooming-in effect that goes along with any new technology seems to furbish machine images with the particular credibility for far reaching claims. This, in turn, calls for a careful epistemological evaluation of visual evidence.

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Peter Chelkowski :: »The Role of Pictures in Iranian Society during the Revolution and War«

-> Biography
-> Abstract auf Deutsch

The pictures that I am going to show and discuss were produced by a nation mobilized to its highest sacred sensibilities, set on a course of self-revelation, exposing itself to the world. It was as if a whole nation went public, became transparent, revealed and unveiled itself, put itself on exhibit it was as if a whole national psyche turned itself into a gallery of 'furious art' that was the Iran of the 1970s-80s, a nation engaged in revolution and war, relentlessly remaking itself in images and forms, shapes and colors, frames of anger and anxieties.
I am going to tell the stories of these pictures as they narrate themselves on posters and walls, postage stamps and textbooks, bank notes and coins. I will try to trace the pictures to the inner corners of the minds of those who produced them, of those who saw and read them, interpreted and acted upon them. This is the story of the Iranian Revolution of 1978-79 and the War with Iraq, 1980-88 in pictures with some necessary words.

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Tom Fürstner :: »Gesture, Time and Metadata«

-> Biography
-> Abstract auf Deutsch
The importance of digital artefacts lies not in their capacity to extend the field of art but rather in the change they inevitably bring about in the way people think about art. Like all works of art, digital artefacts store the process of their own generation. What is special about them, though, is that they make it possible to reconstruct and comprehend their genesis right down to the very last detail. The reception of a work of art is thus extended in that the finished work can be contrasted with the process of its generation. This capacity to reconstruct the artistic gesture at any time lends an added dimension of dynamism to the context of art, thus underlining the significance of metadata on art. In my presentation I focus on what new rules of reception thus gain in relevance for art.

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Jim Gehrz :: »Finding my personal vision: It's All About A Moment«

-> Biography
-> Abstract auf Deutsch

The basic theme of my talk will revolve around the idea of how important it has been for me over the course of my career to find my own vision and how/why it has evolved. The world of newspaper photojournalism is incredibly competitive and in order to survive in it, I had to find what path that would allow me to keep a newspaper job and also continue to grow as a photojournalist. All I ever really wanted to do is take meaningful photographs, images that would tell a story and perhaps make a difference, and then be allowed to share them with others. I have always perceived myself to be a "home town" photographer in the sense that I wanted to work in the area where I grew up and raise a family. This meant that I could not travel as much as others and so I developed a style to accommodate: that being to find the remarkable moments that occur all around us, all the time in the course of our everyday lives. I began to look for the amazing, fleeting slices of time that, when captured in well-composed photographs, would allow readers/viewers to see just how amazing everyday life really is. Moments preserved through photography allow people to study spontaneous occurrences that, if viewed only in the cluttered, full-speed motion of everyday life, would quickly pass through the consciousness and become lost forever. Of course not all moments are inspirational, and as a photojournalist my mission is to capture all aspects of life, from moments that expose the most terrible aspects of man's inhumanity to fellow man as well as those that serve to inspire.

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Boris Groys :: »Curating images«

-> Biography
-> Abstract auf Deutsch

Giorgio Agamben states in his book Profanazioni (Profanations) that 'An image is a being which is in essence manifestation, visibility or appearance'. Unfortunately, this determination of the essence of an image is not sufficient to bring about and secure its visibility. By dint of its self-definition an image cannot establish a presence for itself and force the observer to look at it. It does not have the vitality, energy or health to do so. Rather, the image appears to be sick and helpless visitors have to be taken to it, just as visitors to a hospital are taken by medical staff to look at a sick person lying in bed. It is no accident that the word 'curate' is etymologically related to the word 'cure'. To curate is to cure. Curating cures the powerlessness of the image, its inability to show itself. A work of art needs external help; it needs an exhibition and a curator to put it on its feet. The staging of exhibitions is the medicine that makes the originally sick image appear healthy.

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