27 Feb 2024 · 12.30 pm

Sigrid Weigel: Images of the A-Visible

Venue: University of Southern California, Taper Hall (THH), 309K, 3501 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA

Lecture at the Visual Studies Research Institute at the University of Southern California

The critical grammatological theory of images focuses on the question of how a-visible phenomena—such as the mind and the soul, emotions, transcendental ideas and figures—or acts of adoration or discrimination get re/presented as images. Departing from the governing maxim of Derrida’s Of Grammatology “Il faut penser la trace avant l’étant”, it is a matter of different procedures and techniques of ‘imaging’ [Bildgebung] and their history. When imaging something that is not invested with a physical body, any kind of materiality or visuality of its own, the scene or moment of ‘making an appearance’ is of special interest: that is to say the threshold between immaterial phenomena and pictures of any kind—be it a painting, drawing, an effigies, a photography, or digital produced image. At stake is the examination of the ways and modes by which an-iconic, non-mimetic images get access to the visual world and the tradition of iconography. In the light of this approach, one may discover unexpected correspondences between quite diverse and even vastly scattered historical constellations, e.g. between images from the history of religion and present days natural sciences’ labs.

Sigrid Weigel is the former director of the ZfL and Professor emerita at the Technical University of Berlin.