Madness and Montage

Thursday 22 May 2014, 6.30PM

Speaker(s): W. J. T. Mitchell (Chicago)

Annual Jacques Berthoud lecture

One of the central “image operations” in the practice of forensics, criminology, surveillance and targeting operations, and art history is the Billderatlas, the structured array of images that allows a comprehensive overview of a situation.  Typically, the “situation room,” the cinematic editing room, and the evidence wall deploy the same technique of assemblage and montage.  Yet there is a thin line between the rational use of this technique and certain forms of madness, a line that is defined as the realm of “conjectural knowledge” (to echo Carlo Ginzburg’s phrase).  This lecture explores that intermediate zone of knowledge with examples from spy thrillers, science fiction, and art historical practices inspired by  the iconology of Aby Warburg.

W. J. T. Mitchell is Professor of English and Art History at the University of Chicago. He is editor of the interdisciplinary journal, Critical Inquiry, a quarterly devoted to critical theory in the arts and human sciences. A scholar and theorist of media, visual art, and literature, Mitchell is associated with the emergent fields of visual culture and iconology (the study of images across the media). He is known especially for his work on the relations of visual and verbal representations in the context of social and political issues.

Location: Berrick Saul Auditorium, Berrick Saul Building, Heslington West Campus

Admission: Free and open to all, no ticket required

Email: matthew.campbell@york.ac.uk

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