Images and Public Culture: Understanding Images Across The Humanities
Visit of Dr. Ariella Azoulay as a Branigin Lecturer,
April 5-6th 2010
Monday April 5th
Film Screening, (7:00 pm, Fine Arts 102).
The Angel of History
A Film by Ariella Azoulay, 2000
The film The Angel of History deals with the troubling presence of unsolved past events in actual and imagined realities. It takes place in various public and private arenas like the artist's studio, the arena of murder, the photographic frame, the museum, the body or the cemetery.
The Angel of History offers new perspectives for understanding the complex relations which are spun around the museum space. The movie probes beyond the standard and limited relationships between artist and work or viewer and work, exposing the fragile, troubled and intimate relations between the various protagonists who participate in the becoming-public of the work of art: between a daughter and her mother, between an analyst and his patient, between father and son, between photographer and photographic subject, between a ghost from the past and contemporary figures, and between hangman and victim.
The film was conceived as a “speaking catalogue” for an exhibition of the same name curated by Ariella Azoulay. The film follows the transformation of the body into a museum exhibit and the transformation of the exhibit into a substitute for the body by means of looking inside actual museums (The Yad Vashem Memorial, the Modern Art Museum) as well as virtual museums (the Museum of Women’s Foreskins or the Museum of the Extinct Jewish Race in Prague).
Tuesday April 6th
Public Lecture (Tuesday April 6th, 5:30- 7:00, Student Building room 150)
"The Necessity to Discuss Photographs That Were Not Taken"
Why should one turn to photography when there are no photographs?
This is a question that arises in times of disaster, when the absence of photographs is symptomatic. But the absence of photographs should also be understood as a possibility of photography itself. In order to link these two claims I propose to discuss the ontology of photography, drawing a basic distinction between the event of photography and the photograph which is only one of its products. I will look closely at traces of one particular disaster, the Palestinian Naqba, examining a series of photographs from the period which were part of the exhibition Constituent Violence 1947-1950 that I curated last year (Tel Aviv, March-June 2009). The exhibition consisted of some 200 photographs (most of which were drawn from Zionist archives) and provided a visual genealogy of the transformation of the Palestinian disaster into a "disaster from their point of view".