SoSe 14: Alienated Time. Literature and Photography
Anke Hennig/Andrew Fisher
This research seminar is an international collaboration that sets out to address theoretical and philosophical questions arising from the seminar leaders' independently developed, but closely related ... read more
This research seminar is an international collaboration that sets out to address theoretical and philosophical questions arising from the seminar leaders' independently developed, but closely related research into the way in which, respectively, photography and literature can be said to act as significant modes of the temporalization of contemporary experience.
The seminar is framed by an interest in the category of contemporaneity, which has come to act as a dominant, though often vaguely conceived, temporal descriptor of the period after postmodernism. We will address the contemporaneity of specific works and tendencies in photography and literature - figured by a concentration on points of relationship between these two forms - and will do so in order to build an understanding of various modalities of the temporalization of late twentieth and early twenty first century experience.
Broadly speaking, the contemporaneity of both photography and literature is often signalled by a central role that is granted to historical allusion and by a marked propensity to encroach onto thematic and material territory conventionally reserved for other forms. Thus this seminar projects contemporary photography and literature as characterised by their adoption of an explicitly inter- or trans-disciplinary as well as historically convoluted form. The main focus of the seminar will be on recent and current photographic and literary works and their theorisations. However, due to the characteristic manner in which many of the works and practices in question are constituted through one or other form of historical allusion, this focus will also extend into consideration of historical works and debates. Historically familiar questions of the forms of alienation at play in photographic and literary works and the contexts they emerge from are transformed and carried forward into the present. The importance of understanding this shift will inform the seminar's exploration of contemporaneity, which will be addressed in terms of certain significant points of indifference that structure the relationships between different aspects of photography and literature. The major strategy adopted will be to explore this knot of relations between current cultural practices, their often self-conscious relation to historical precedents and the manner in which particular works encroach upon other forms through examination of constellations of literary, photographic and theoretical works. This will enable the seminar to explore in critically and theoretically explicit terms, the distinctive character of photography and literature and the spaces existing between them as these structure contemporary modes of the temporalization of experience.
Key works and texts that will be studied include:
Jeff Wall, Odradek, Táboritská 8, Prague, 18 July 1994 (1994)
Franz Kafka, The Cares of a Family Man (1919)
Rolf Dieter Brinkmann's Erkundungen für die Präzisierung des Gefühls für einen Aufstand: Reise Zeit Magazin (Tagebuch) (1971/1987)
Ann Cotton, Glossarattrappen (2008)
Sarah Charlesworth & Barbara Kruger Glossolalia (1983)
Mel Bochner, Misunderstandings: A Theory of Photography, (1967-1970)
Peter Nadas, A Lovely Tale of Photography, (1995)
James Agee & Walker Evans, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, (1939)
Boris Mikhailov, Unfinished Dissertation or discussions with one self (1984-85)
Erica Baum, works from the Dog Ear series (2011)
Mishka Henner, Photography Is, (2010)
Jean Baptiste Ganne, The Illustrated Capital, (2003)
Sophie Calle, Days Under the Sign of B, C & W, ['W'], Saturday March 14, 1998 [under the sign of W for Wallonia], (1998)
Paul Auster, Leviathan, (1992)
The seminar will begin with a number of preliminary weekly sessions that will include a discussion with an invited speaker and a gallery visit. These will be followed by a workshop in artistic research and a student's symposium. Works studied will be in an mixture of English and German. Seminar discussions will be held predominantly in English, though they will also require an understanding of German.