Representation. Why do we represent things? (Lascaux cave murals)

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    25-Dec-2015

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  • Slide 1
  • Representation
  • Slide 2
  • Why do we represent things? (Lascaux cave murals)
  • Slide 3
  • Altamira
  • Slide 4
  • Why do we represent things/others? To gain power over them (cave paintings) For fun (enjoying the perfection or artistry of representation) We represent what is invisible (thoughts, feelings) We represent what is absent: the past, the dead
  • Slide 5
  • E. Daege: The origin of painting (The Girl from Corinth) Dibutades
  • Slide 6
  • Three senses of representation: (1) to re-present, to portray (photograph) ~ icon (2) to speak on behalf of (parliament) ~ index (3) to stand for (flag country) ~ symbol
  • Slide 7
  • Three laws of representation (1) representation is never the thing itself (2) representations construct their object (3) representations construct their subject
  • Slide 8
  • Factors of representation
  • Slide 9
  • Factors of representations Object Maker representation receiver/audience Mediation: mediatedness of the world media (language, image) technologies institutional frameworks conventions (e.g. genres) circumstances and interests
  • Slide 10
  • 1. a representation is never the thing itself In that Empire, the craft of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single province covered the space of an entire City, and the map of the Empire itself an entire Province. In the course of Time, these extensive maps were found wanting, and so the College of Cartographers evolved a Map of the Empire that was of the same Scale as the Empire and that coincided with it point for point. In the western Deserts, tattered Fragments of the Map are still to be found, sheltering an occasional Beast or beggar (Jorge Luis Borges)
  • Slide 11
  • 2. representations are always constructed Chinese encyclopaedia of animals: In its remote pages it is written that animals are divided into a, belonging to the emperor b, embalmed c, trained d, sucking pigs e, sirens f, fabulous g, unleashed dogs h, included in this classification i, which jump about like lunatics j, innumerable k, drawn with a very fine camel-hair brush l, etcetera m, which have just broken the pitcher n, which look from a distance like flies. (J. L. Borges)
  • Slide 12
  • Representation as construction Commercials: construct the product History TV news reality shows editing; framing, selection, ordering
  • Slide 13
  • Visual representation Aristotle: we can only think in terms of images Man can understand nothing without images (St. Thomas Aquinas)
  • Slide 14
  • IDOLATRY - ICONOCLASM Thou shalt not make any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth (Deuteronomy 5.8)
  • Slide 15
  • Kurt Westergaard s cartoon of Muhammad
  • Slide 16
  • What is wrong with images? (1) philosophical argument - Plato: images are copies of copies (Ideas or Forms) (2) theological argument: worshipping objects instead of the real thing Christianity: started out as iconoclastic Changed strategy in C7 Protestantism: new turn (the host and the wine)
  • Slide 17
  • Images are dangerous. Images, no matter how discreetly chosen, come loaded with conscious and unconscious memories; no matter how limited their proposed use, they burn lasting outlines into the mind. Often images overwhelm the idea they are supposed to be carrying. (Thomas Mathews) Emotional charge of concrete images language requires abstraction (anti-smoking campaign)
  • Slide 18
  • Different representations of death philosophical religious artistic scientific (biological, medical) anatomia = cutting up (paradox: looking for the secret of life by cutting up dead bodies)
  • Slide 19
  • Vesalius: Fabrica (1543)
  • Slide 20
  • Rembrandt: The Anatomy Lesson of Dr.Tulp (1631)
  • Slide 21
  • Tulps Anatomy (detail)
  • Slide 22
  • Slide 23
  • Tulps Anatomy Lesson Celebration of modern science Ritual punishment of the thief the two bodies: Anatomical atlas: mechanistic view of the body (whose body?) The body as a feeling, suffering, lived body (the wrong hand)
  • Slide 24
  • Medium and technology Photography and painting take a photo vs make a painting forged painting vs. forged photograph painting: follows artistic, generic conventions photograph: this really was there art vs reality
  • Slide 25
  • Leonardo da Vincis guidelines for war paintings: The conquered and the defeated must be pale, wearing a frown, their foreheads wrinkled with pain, their mouths open, like people who are wailing The dead must be fully or partly covered in dust; the blood trickling from the corpse into the dust must be marked by its colour. Others, in their agony, are snarling their teeth, their eyes rolling, their clenched hands close to their bodies, their legs all distorted.
  • Slide 26
  • US Civil War photo
  • Slide 27
  • Robert Capa: Death of a Militiaman (1936)
  • Slide 28
  • National Geographic February 1982
  • Slide 29
  • Verbal and visual representation Ut pictura poesis (?) Laocoon and his sons Priest in Troy Punished by Pallas Athene
  • Slide 30
  • Laocoon group (2nd cent. B.C) dug up in 1506
  • Slide 31
  • Laocoon
  • Slide 32
  • The serpents / Went straight for Laocon. First, each snake knotted itself Round the body of one of Laocons small sons, hugging him tight In its coils, and cropped the piteous flesh with its fangs. Next thing, / They fastened upon Laocon, as he hurried, weapon in hand, To help the boys, and lashed him up in their giant whorls. With a double grip round his waist and his neck, the scaly creatures Embrace him, their heads and throats powerfully poised above him. All the while his hands are struggling to break their knots, / His priestly headband is spattered with blood and pitchy venom; All the while, his appalling cries go up to heaven - A bellowing, such as you hear when a wounded bull escapes from The altar, after its shrugged off an ill-aimed blow at its neck. (Virgil: Aeneid)
  • Slide 33
  • Ekzben a hllk Lokonra, azaz kt kicsi gyerekre vetdnek, Nylegyenest, s tfonvn testk gyrikkel, Sznand, cspp tagjaikat tpdesve lemarjk; Majd az atyt, ki rohan fegyverrel vdeni ket Fojtjk rmsges hurkokba: a pikkelyes izmok Trzse krl ktszer, ktszer tekerednek a tarkn, mde nyakuk s a fejk fent mg gy is kimagaslik. Gennytl s mocskos mregtl szennyes a papnak Szentelt szallaga, marka pedig tpn a csomkat, m rmlt ordtssal csak bg az egekre: Mint sebeslt bika bg, mely rosszul kapta a taglt S oltrtl elszabadulva kirzza nyakbl
  • Slide 34
  • Visual verbal representation Different genres, conventions A single moment ----- movement Composition Triangular structure ----- narrative Different rules of representation Nakedness ----- clothes Face: spirit ----- scream of pain Only beauty ----- ugliness is ok
  • Slide 35
  • Third rule of representation Representations construct their viewers/readers
  • Slide 36
  • Diego Vel zquez Las meninas (1656)
  • Slide 37
  • Las meninas (detail)
  • Slide 38
  • Las meninas the mirror
  • Slide 39
  • Las Meninas The spectator as the focus of attention (the model: the king/queen of the country) The spectator derealised by the painting (ghosted)