Filed under book | Tags: · art, body, gender, image, masochism, porn, sex, sexuality, theory
Bodily existence is an existence lived in constant fascination with a world beyond one’s reach. Embodiment, desire, metaphor. To exist on the verge of nonexistence. In the headlong pursuit of the real, of the other. Of the base materiality of the world, of religious hypothesis, of absolute relativity. Every utopia is a pornography, a recrudescence and pathological disillusionment, a lure into the vortex–paradoxical annulment of pure reason, compulsion, repetition, consumption.
A fact of bodily existence is to know that the body is our most complex and multi-faceted machine in a world of incessant technological progress. The body is a marvel of engineering; it is the outward face of primal nature; it is a disgusting vessel in which to house the soul; it is a primitive device, fragile and disposable. Bodies are re-produced, experimented upon to the limits of their tolerance, dissected and debated to every last cell, mended, prosthetically enhanced, moralised, abused and adored. The interface with the world we live in means that the body is always laid open to scrutiny without ever simply constituting some thing within our grasp: it is the site where violence and metaphysics interchange, technicity and catatonia, the sublime and the grotesque.
The body cannot be neutral or indifferent. Its design is such that it must respond to both exterior challenge and interior impulse. Our means of survival, the sex act, galvanizes the body into a unique state of existence, which, though transient, becomes the essence of being; the concentration of an idea, the heightening of sense, the ultimate dissolution.
How to write this purposeful transformation? How to write this instantaneous, ephemeral shattering of perception? This is the task of pornography. Our project will present the body in its most extreme of forms and behaviour, all of which demonstrate the human attempt to satisfy, and solve, the oft-inchoate needs of our psychology and physicality. We seek papers which deal with pornography as condition, symptom, addiction, spectacle, product, simulacrum. Above all as a fundamentalism embedded in the very structures of representation, knowledge, non-knowledge and the unpresentable.
Contributors include Georges Bataille, Johannes Birringer, Karmen MacKendrick, Benjamin H. Bratton, Lara Portela, Louis Armand, Stewart Home, Jane Lewty, Thierry Tillier, Ruark Lewis, Malwina Zaremba, Darren Tofts, Bonita Rhoads, Stuart Kendall, Ian Haig, Jena Jolissaint, Pierre Daguin, Vadim Erent, Florian Cramer, Beth Lazroe, Andar Nunes.
Publisher Faculty of Philosophy of the Charles University, Prague, December 2008
Litteraria Pragensia Books series
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Filed under book | Tags: · 1600s, 1700s, 1800s, architecture, art history, cartography, diorama, image, landscape, mapping, panorama, topography, vision
Geography of the Gaze offers a new history and theory of how the way we look at things influences what we see. Focusing on Western Europe from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, Renzo Dubbini shows how developments in science, art, mapping, and visual epistemology affected the ways natural and artificial landscapes were perceived and portrayed.
He begins with the idea of the “view,” explaining its role in the invention of landscape painting and in the definition of landscape as a cultural space. Among other topics, Dubbini explores how the descriptive and pictorial techniques used in mariners’ charts, view-oriented atlases, military cartography, and garden design were linked to the proliferation of highly realistic paintings of landscapes and city scenes; how the “picturesque” system for defining and composing landscapes affected not just art but also archaeology and engineering; and how the everchanging modern cityscapes inspired new ways of seeing and representing the urban scene in Impressionist painting, photography, and stereoscopy. A marvelous history of viewing, Geography of the Gaze will interest everyone from scientists to artists.
Originally published as Geografie dello sguardo: Visione e paesaggio in età moderna, Giulio Einaudi, Torino, 1994
Translated by Lydia G. Cochrane
Publisher University of Chicago Press, 2002
ISBN 0226167372, 9780226167374
Filed under book | Tags: · art, art history, computer art, computing, film, film history, history of photography, image, media archeology, painting, philosophy, photography, technology
This major new book provides a concise history of optical media from Renaissance linear perspective to late twentieth-century computer graphics. Kittler begins by looking at European painting since the Renaissance in order to discern the principles according to which modern optical perception was organized. He also discusses the development of various mechanical devices, such as the camera obscura and the laterna magica, which were closely connected to the printing press and which played a pivotal role in the media war between the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation.
After examining this history, Kittler then addresses the ways in which images were first stored and made to move, through the development of photography and film. He discusses the competitive relationship between photography and painting as well as between film and theater, as innovations like the Baroque proscenium or “picture-frame” stage evolved from elements that would later constitute cinema. The central question, however, is the impact of film on the ancient monopoly of writing, as it not only provoked new forms of competition for novelists but also fundamentally altered the status of books. In the final section, Kittler examines the development of electrical telecommunications and electronic image processing from television to computer simulations.
In short, this book provides a comprehensive introduction to the history of image production that is indispensable for anyone wishing to understand the prevailing audiovisual conditions of contemporary culture.
First published in German as Optische Medien / Berliner Vorlesung 1999, Merve Verlag, Berlin, 2002
Translated by Anthony Enns
With an introduction by John Durham Peters
Publisher Polity, 2009
ISBN 0745640915, 9780745640914
Filed under book | Tags: · history of photography, image, journalism, photography, violence
In The Cruel Radiance, Susie Linfield challenges the idea that photographs of political violence exploit their subjects and pander to the voyeuristic tendencies of their viewers. Instead she argues passionately that looking at such images—and learning to see the people in them—is an ethically and politically necessary act that connects us to our modern history of violence and probes the human capacity for cruelty. Grappling with critics from Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht to Susan Sontag and the postmoderns—and analyzing photographs from such events as the Holocaust, China’s Cultural Revolution, and recent terrorist acts—Linfield explores the complex connection between photojournalism and the rise of human rights ideals. In the book’s concluding section, she examines the indispensable work of Robert Capa, James Nachtwey, and Gilles Peress and asks how photography should respond to the increasingly nihilistic trajectory of modern warfare.
A bracing and unsettling book, The Cruel Radiance convincingly demonstrates that if we hope to alleviate political violence, we must first truly understand it—and to do that, we must begin to look.
Publisher University of Chicago Press, 2010
ISBN 0226482529, 9780226482521
Filed under book | Tags: · astrology, image, mythology, philosophy, poetry
Some 400 years since his death, the Renaissance philosopher Bruno still excites interest. Thus, this modern translation of his De Imaginum Signorum et Idearum Compositione, first published in 1591, is valuable to a wide range of scholars. De Imaginum defies easy classification, combining poetry, astrology, philosophy, mythology, and science. Meditating on the nature of reality and the limits of human knowledge, Bruno anticipates modern semiology, exploring the creation and meaning of signs and images. While the editor and translator are more interested in Renaissance arcana than the history of philosophy, they have included thorough notes as well as a helpful introduction.
Originally published as De Imaginum, Signorum, Et Idearum Compositione, Frankfurt, 1591
Translated by Charles Doria
Edited and annotated by Dick Higgins
Foreword by Manfredi Piccolomini
Publisher Willis, Locker & Owens, New York, 1991
ISBN 0930279182, 9780930279189
Roland Barthes: Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography (1980-) [FR, EN, PT, GR, HU, ES, IT, CZ, RU, PL]
Filed under book | Tags: · image, photography, theory
A graceful, contemplative volume, Camera Lucida was first published in 1980. Commenting on artists such as Avedon, Clifford, Mapplethorpe, and Nadar, Roland Barthes presents photography as being outside the codes of language or culture, acting on the body as much as on the mind, and rendering death and loss more acutely than any other medium. This groundbreaking approach established Camera Lucida as one of the most important books of theory on the subject, along with Susan Sontag’s On Photography.
Publisher Gallimard/Seuil/Cahiers du Cinéma, Paris, 1980
Translated by Richard Howard
Publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1982
ISBN 0374521344, 9780374521349
La chambre claire: Note sur la photographie (French, 1980, no OCR)
Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography (English, trans. Richard Howard, 1982)
A câmara clara: Nota sobre a fotografia (Portuguese, trans. Júlio Castañon Guimarães, 1984, no OCR)
Ο φωτεινός θάλαμος: Σημειώσεις για τη φωτογραφία (Greek, trans. Γιάννης Κρητικός, 1984, no OCR)
Világoskamra: Jegyzetek a fotográfiáról (Hungarian, trans. Ferch Magda, 1985, no OCR)
La cámara lúcida: Nota sobre la fotografía (Spanish, trans. Joaquim Sala-Sanahuja, 1990)
La camera chiara: Nota sulla fotografia (Italian, trans. Renzo Guidieri, 1992, no OCR)
Světlá komora: Vysvětlivka k fotografii (Czech, trans. Miroslav Petříček jr., 1994, no OCR)
Camera Lucida: Комментарий_к_фотографии (Russian, trans. Михаил Рыклин, 1997)
Światło obrazu: Uwagi o fotografii (Polish, trans. Jacek Trznadel, 2008)
Régis Debray: Vida e Morte da Imagem: Uma história do olhar no Ocidente (1992/94/95) [Portuguese/Spanish]
Filed under book | Tags: · art, art history, image, mediation, philosophy, philosophy of art
A imagem sempre dominou os homens, mas o olhar ocidental tem uma história e cada época seu inconsciente ótico. Antes de ser artístico, nosso olhar foi mágico. Atualmente tornou-se econômico.
Não há imagem em si. Seu estatuto e seus poderes modificaram-se ao sabor das revoluções técnicas e das crenças coletivas. Foi a lógica dessa evolução surpreendente que se pretendeu seguir aqui, passo a passo, desde as grotas ornadas até o painel de computador. Reconciliando, por uma abordagem midiológica, as visões material e espiritual do mundo da arte – tratadas, quase sempre, de forma exclusiva. A era das imagens terá sido apenas um breve parêntesis entre o tempo dos “ídolos” e o tempo do “visual” em que estamos mergulhados?
Em todo caso, a elucidação dos códigos invisíveis do visível dissipa alguns mitos tenazes, tais como “a história da Arte” ou “a Civilização da imagem”. Entrando na vídeosfera, com o salto decisivo do cinema para a televisão e, em breve, com a revolução numérica, vai ser preciso, sem dúvida, dizer adeus também à “sociedade do espetáculo”.
De Régis Debray, já. foi publicado -igualmente pela VOZES -o livro Curso de Midiologia Geral, que apresenta um estudo sobre os fatos de mediação e transmissão do verbo.
Originally published in French as Viet et mort de l’image: Une histoire du regard en Occident, Editions Gallimard, 1992
Portuguese edition: Vida e Morte da Imagem: Uma história do olhar no Ocidente
Translated by Guilherme Teixeira
Publisher Vozes, Petrópolis, RJ, Brazil, 1994
Spanish edition: Vida y muerte de la imagen: Historia de la mirada en Occidente
Translated by Ramón Hervás
Publisher Edicios Paidós, Barcelona/Buenos Aires/México, 1994