HKUK03618U Art History/Visual Culture/Moderne Culture: RADICAL IMAGINATION: The Invisibility of Image

Volume 2015/2016

In trying to address the problematic of contemporary visibility and visuality, the theory of image should not exclude the ever expanding new phenomena of the invisibility of image. Yet many “invisibilities” have been called upon the image since the Nietzsche momentum. The task of art today, argues the philosopher John Sallis, pertains to the collapse of the distinction between the sensible and the intelligible, the visible and the invisible marked by this dramatic moment in the history of humanities. This is the moment when Nietzsche’s thought twists free of Platonism, and of metaphysics, when the sensible is released from all determination and opposition to a higher supersensible. The “true world” becomes obscured by the briefest shadow of the new horizon, and the new world opens completely anew from and within the sensible alone. The invisibility (which stood before for the intelligible) must be radically redefined under the new premises, and revised da capo.

This course will explore the consequences of this colossal event described by Nietzsche in the Twilights of the Idols, the story of “How the True World Finally Became a Fable” in the post-Nitzschean imagery. Classical phenomenology has already provided the frame to address the sensible things in their own character, and at the same time to allow image to present an in-visible entirely embedded in-the-visible. But it will be our prime concern to stress the remaining task of Bildwissenschaft to assess as well the dramatic shift in the imagination produced by this major event. The fact that the sensible is no longer apparent, but blatantly shining on its own premises calls upon serious questions relative to the nature and dynamics of imagination: How could one define ontologically and epistemologically phenomena one cannot even imagine imagining, indeed, imagining only by a radical imagination; how could one ponder the in-visible, the latent, and the dazzling trace of the new and only shining sensible?

Theories of extreme vision, indeterminacy and dissapearance (Böhme, Sallis, Virilio), or of the saturated phenomena or phenomena in excess (Jean-Luc Marion) will help us assess the exorbitant event in its most fascinating contemporary forms of manifestation (hologram, disappearance, or teleportation), or artistic poietic experienced in Bill Viola’s video installations or in Eliasson’s light installations – a distinct and unparalleled manifestation of the invisible. Through Bill Viola’s works (Déserts, Tiny Deaths, The Hall of Whispers, The Unspoken,The Raft), or of Eliasson’s (Din blinde passage, Your Rainbow Panorama) we will be able to exemplify such a density of the visible which leads to paradoxical visual consequence occasionally bedazzling. The obscurity of the event sets representation in act creating not only awesome visions, but exposes body to devastating and transformative experiences due to its power. Radical imagination of the in-visible by default (l’invu) appears as the most appearing possible, as well as the unbearable appearing of dazzling radiance.

Selected bibliography: Gottfried Boehm, “Indeterminacy. On the Logic of the Image,” Dynamics and Performativity of Imagination. The Image between the Visible and the Invisible, Routledge: Taylor&Francis New York and London 2009; John Sallis, “The Invisibility of Painting,” Transfigurements: On the True Sense of Art, University of Chicago Press, 2011; John Sallis, “Adumbrations,” Shades – Of Painting at the Limit, Indiana UP, pp. 1-21; J. Sallis, “Shades of Time: Monet’s Wheatstacks,” Shades – Of Painting and the Limit, Indiana UP, 1998, 22-56; J. Sallis, “Speaking of Light and Shining,” Continental Philosophy Review 35: 97-102 (2002); Bill Viola, “Video Black: The Mortality of the Image,” Illuminating Video: An Essential Guide to Video Art, Doug Hall and Sally Jo Fifer eds., New York: Aperture, San Francisco: Bay Area Video Coalition, 1990, pp. 476-486, 520; Peter Sellars, “Bodies of Light,” The Passions, The J. Paul Getty Museum and The National Gallery London, 2003, pp. 158-185; M. Morse, “Video Installation Art: The Body, the Image and the Space-in-Between, Illuminating Video, pp. 153-167. G. Youngblood, Metaphysical Structuralism: The Video-tapes of Bill Viola, Voyager Press, 1987; N. Isar, From "World Picture" to Image/Sound World: The Spatialization of Sound in Viola's Video Installations, Cinematographic Art. 3 (2008), pp. 41-49; N. Isar, Vision of the Unspoken: Viola’s Hierotopy, Arken Museum Bulletin, vol.. 2, 2004, Arken Museum of Modern Art, 29-39; D. Kuspit, D., “Deep TV: Bill Viola’s via negativa,” Artforum International, May 1995, pp. 86-91; Bill Viola, “Sight Unseen: Enlightened Squirrels and Fatal Experiments,” Video 80, no. 4 (Spring-Summer 1982), pp. 31-33; Gene Youngblood, “Metaphysical Structuralism: The Videotapes of Bill Viola,” Millennium Film Journal, nos. 20-21 (Fall-Winter 1988-89), pp. 80-114. First published for the laserdisc edition of Bill Viola: Selected Works, Los Angeles: Voyager Press, 1987; M. Heim, The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality, New York, Oxford University Press, 1993; Anne Wagner, “Performance, Video, and The Rhetorics of Presence,” October no. 91 (Winter 2000), pp. 59-80; Donald Kuspit, “Bill Viola: Deconstructing Presence,” Bill Viola: Installations and Videotapes, Barbara London ed., New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1987, pp. 73-80; reprinted in Donald B. Kuspit, The New Subjectivism: Art in the 1980s, Ann Arbor, London: UMI Research Press, 1988, pp. 251-260; R. Myers, “Directions/Questions: Approaching a Future Mythology,” Illuminating Video, ed. Doug Hall and Sally Jo Fifer, Aperture /BAVC, 1990, pp. 448-455; Emanuela de Cecco, “Bill Viola: Tra fisica e metafisica,” Flash Art, no. 179 (November 1993), pp. 31-34; Barbara London, “Bill Viola: The Poetics of Light and Time,” Bill Viola: Installations and Videotapes, Barbara London, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1987, pp. 9-22; David A. Ross, “Foreword A Feeling of Things Themselves,” in Bill Viola Curated by David A. Ross and Peter Sellars, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1998, pp. 19-29; “Conversation Lewis Hyde and Bill Viola” in Bill Viola Curated by David A. Ross and Peter Sellars, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1998 (?), pp. 19-29 and 143-165. ‘A Conversation Hans Belting and Bill Viola’, The Passions, The J. Paul Getty Museum and The National Gallery London, 2003, pp. 188-220; Hans Belting, Toward an Anthropology of the Image, Anthropologies of Art, Clark Studies in the Visual Arts, Yale University Press, 2005, pp. 41-58; Paul Virilio’s “Aesthetics of Disappearance” and the Rhetoric of Media, Configurations, Vol. 10, Number 1, Winter 2002, pp. 129-148. P. Virilio, The Futurism of the Instant, Polity Press, 2010. Scott McQuine, “Blinded by the (Speed) of Light,” in John Armitage, Paul Virilio: from modernism to hypermodernism and beyond, SAGE 2000, 149-160; Martin Seel,.Atmospheric Appearing 92 (3), Aesthetics of appearing, Stanford, Calif. 2005; Olafur Eliasson, “Some Ideas about Colour” In Olafur Eliasson: Your Colour Memory. Edited by Ismail Soyugenc and Richard Torchia. Exhibition catalogue. Glenside: Arcadia University Art Gallery, 2006: 75-83; Jonathan Crary, Your colour memory: Illuminations of the Unforeseen.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 80
  • Guidance
  • 1
  • Lectures
  • 33
  • Preparation
  • 306
  • Total
  • 420
Type of assessment