BILDERFAHRZEUGE Blog

Online Research Seminar: Locke’s Cannibal

Bilderfahrzeuge Research Associate Oliver O’Donnell is giving a talk as part of the Philosophy and Art History Research Seminar at the University of Essex. Locke’s Cannibal Thursday 5th November 2020, 3pm (ONLINE) This talk analyzes...

Consider the Pigeon

It is now both a convention and also a joke to make the title of pieces about animals “Consider the __” where the blank is the name of the animal. This is because of a now famous essay that David Foster Wallace wrote called “Consider the Lobster”. So now: Consider the Pigeon. I would like to say that, in my exploration of English baroque in comparative context, that this was a deeply thought decision, to consider pigeons. I would like to say that I have brooded over Haraway and theories of the city in the Anthropocene and the now admittedly trendy idea of “animal studies”. This would be both a truth and a lie. A truth because I have been thinking about these things, but also haven’t had the ability to read them, not in any format other than in purloined pdf files. As we will tell our students someday, we’re all Auerbaching it now in academia; that is, if there is a someday and if I am in it, and if someday there are still students.

„Zwischen Kosmos und Pathos. Berliner Werke aus Aby Warburgs Bilderatlas Mnemosyne“

A review of the exhibition „Zwischen Kosmos und Pathos. Berliner Werke aus Aby Warburgs Bilderatlas Mnemosyne“ at the Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, 08.08.-01.11. 2020.

Derzeit zeigt das Haus der Kulturen der Welt die „originalen“ Photographien von Aby Warburgs Bilderatlas Mnemosyne aus der Photographischen Sammlung des Warburg Institute in London. In Ergänzung dieser Schau sind in der Gemäldegalerie diejenigen Objekte aus den Berliner Museen versammelt worden, deren Reproduktionen zum Repertoire des Atlasses zählen.

‘Blick Richtung Europa? 15 Perspektiven’

A review of the workshop ‘Blick Richtung Europa? 15 Perspektiven’ (8-9 July 2020, Berlin) by Anita Hosseini and Judith Rottenburg.

Stets richten und richteten sich Blicke aus Europa in alle Himmelsrichtungen und generierten Ideen und Bilder des ‚Anderen‘. Die dabei selbstverständlich in Anspruch genommene Position des beobachtenden und damit auch deutenden Subjekts kann mit politischen, wissenschaftlichen und kulturellen Machtansprüchen und Expansionsbestreben Hand in Hand gehen. Was passiert jedoch, wenn die Blickrichtung gewendet, wenn die Aufmerksamkeit auf die Tatsache gelenkt wird, dass diese Blicke immer schon gespiegelt wurden?

Aby Warburg: Bilderatlas Mnemosyne (Conference)

HKW Berlin and digital, 25. – 26.09.2020

Former and current Bilderfahrzeuge Project Associates will take part in a conference accompanying the exhibition Aby Warburg: Bilderatlas Mnemosyne at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) (4.09. – 30.11.2020) in Berlin.

Aby Warburg: Bilderatlas Mnemosyne

Exhibition. In the 1920s, Aby Warburg created his so-called Bilderatlas Mnemosyne, tracing recurring visual themes and patterns across time, from antiquity to the Renaissance and beyond. His approach provides inspiration for today’s visually and digitally dominated world. For the first time ever, all 63 panels of the Atlas have been recovered from Warburg’s original images and will be available to view in a special display at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) in Berlin.

A modern antiquity

Plaster casts are image vehicles par excellence. They can reproduce and multiply three-dimensional form, and serve the dissemination of visual ideas from one place to another; they can record lost stages of a work’s appearance, e.g. pre-completion, pre-damage, pre-destruction or pre-restauration. Often perceived as perfect one to one copies of the external form of a three-dimensional work, they can also accidentally or deliberately differ from what they reproduce, and with their white and even surface they can condition the perception of the works they represent. Thus, cast are also works in their own right, objects with their own history. Yet, for long, they proved rather evasive. Until recently, there have been few attempts to date them either through material or technical analysis. Given their status as copies, historicaly they were often not documented, and where archival references to casts exist, the objects under discussion are often either lost or impossible to identify beyond reasonable doubt. This situation is changing, as a recent exhibition at the Villa Medici in Rome (November 2019-March 2020) demonstrated

1 August 1914 – The First Page of Aby Warburg’s ‘Kriegs-Zibaldone’, his war journal

“On 1 August 1914, after all, the mobilisation was announced. Our Kaiser has proven himself so worthy that he could even lose the war without disgrace; what God may prevent.” Aby Warburg began his war journal of the years 1914–1918 with these words. He positions himself in line with the patriotism of the majority of his milieu of the bourgeoisie, supporting “our Kaiser”. In all the praise of the Kaiser, though, he underlines the uncertain outcome of the war, even the possibility of losing it— a notion present already in the very first sentence of this diary.

Essay: “Ephemere Bilder in Zeiten des Coronavirus”

In Zeiten der SARS-CoV-2-Pandemie verlagert sich das öffentliche Leben weiter in die digitale Welt. Neben neuen Motiven entstehen auch andere Kommunikationsformen, von den leeren Plätzen bis zu digitalen Klima-Streiks. Diese Bilder erreichen einerseits eine große Öffentlichkeit, verschwinden aber teils ebenso rasch wieder. Die materiellen Ephemera der Pandemie werden längst von Museen weltweit gesammelt, aber auch für die digitalen Bilder stellen sich Fragen nach ihrer langfristigen Speicherung. In einem Beitrag zum Blog des Zentralinstituts für Kunstgeschichte, München, haben Ursula Ströbele (Studienzentrum zur Kunst der Moderne und Gegenwart, ZIKG) und Steffen Haug einige dieser Bilder kommentiert.

From the Archive II: Reading the Yates Family Archive

In the first half of this two-part blog about the Yates Family Archive I have introduced the parents of Frances Yates (b. 1899), her three siblings Hannah (b. 1885), Ruby (b. 1887) and James (b. 1889) as well as the house in Claygate from where after the scholar’s death in 1981 the Family Archive, an adjunct to Yates’ working papers, had been transferred to the Warburg Institute. I shall now turn to the collection itself.

From the Archive I: Cataloguing the Yates Family Archive

In her “Autobiographical Fragments”, written in the year of her death, Frances Yates (1899-1981) refers to a photograph from her childhood. It relates to a period in 1912, when her family was briefly living on a farm in Ingleton in North-Yorkshire. The twelve-year old Frances had been told by her family to work through the books for the Junior Cambridge examination as to supplement her irregular teaching: “I think that this is why I was making an elaborate study of Macaulay’s ‘Lays of Ancient Rome,’ …. or passionately declaiming ‘Lars Porsena of Clusium By the nine gods he swore’ to the lamb in the field opposite. I have a snapshot of that lamb standing quite alone in the distance … and looking slightly worried.”

Essay: “Warburg on epidemics”

The cholera epidemic in Hamburg almost 130 years ago inspired Aby Warburg’s first ever published text. Turning to 15th century Florence, it tells the story of the matriarch of the Strozzi family who lost her husband and four of her children to illness. In an essay for ‘Mnemosyne. The Warburg Institute Blog’, Steffen Haug and Johannes von Müller discuss this early attempt by Warburg to respond by the means of historical comparison to a crisis of his time that was indeed a health crisis.

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