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IAS Talking Points: Enchantment and iconoclasm in an age of images

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IAS Common Ground

Ground Floor, South Wing

UCL, Gower Street

London, WC1E 6BT

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IAS Talking Points Seminar

Enchantment and iconoclasm in an age of images

Dr Anna Marazuela Kim, Visiting Research Fellow, Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL

Respondent: Professor Martin Holbraad (Department of Anthropology, UCL)

At least since antiquity, the nearly magical, deceptive potential of images has been an issue of serious ethical and epistemological concern. What histories, theories and concepts can we leverage to address the multiple challenges they pose in their present, at times troubling, technological forms? In her talk, IAS Visiting Research Fellow, Dr Anna Marazuela Kim discusses her project on image-worlds, ethics and iconoclasm, drawing together insights from philosophy, technology and histories and anthropologies of the image. Professor Martin Holbraad (Department of Anthropology, UCL) will act as respondent.

In his primal image of the cave, where citizens are held captive to flickering images of a physical world and ideas beyond, Plato seems to have anticipated a significant feature of our contemporary milieu: the thoroughgoing mediation of information and experience through images and image-rendering screens. Philosophy, Plato argued, was the only means of escape from the deceptive enchantment of the image-world. As technologies of the image become ever more absorbing and ethically fraught – shaping individuals and societies in deeply transformative, incalculable ways – it would again seem an urgent, critical task to break free of their grip. But given the “post-human turn,” in which subjects and technological forces are ranged along a continuum rather than a divide, does it make sense to speak of a world beyond images – or are we simply part of the picture?


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IAS Common Ground

Ground Floor, South Wing

UCL, Gower Street

London, WC1E 6BT

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