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Contemporaneity, memory, and image-politics

The technological proliferation and ubiquity of images, through photography, cinema, and digital media, is an important factor in interconnecting geopolitical regions, cultures, and individuals around the globe – and thus in the production of contemporaneity. This subproject investigates contemporary artistic practices that take existing images and their circulation as their material with particular focus on ways in which contemporaneity and global image-circulation, this iconomy, influence processes of individual and social memory and time experience.

The subproject aims to develop a theoretical framework that combines recent theories of contemporaneity (Osborne; Smith; Augé) with theories of image-politics (Rancière; Didi-Huberman; Groys) and “trans-individuation” (Stiegler; Simondon). Trans-individuation designates processes of co-individuation within media or symbolic environments in which the I and the we participate and are transformed through one another. It thus conditions all social transformation, and the individual’s participation in the social also imply a participation in the much vaster individuation of the media, language, images etc. through which we communicate – i.e. the media that interconnect and make us contemporaneous. Focusing on the interrelation of the individual, the social and the media environments, and on communication as being about time-sharing (Ernst 2013), the subproject deals with three dimensions of contemporaneity in contemporary artistic practices: 1) as representation of spatial contemporaneity (e.g. Camille Henrot and Alfredo Jaar); 2) as image-critique of contemporaneity in spectacular culture (e.g. Hito Steyerl and Thomas Hirschhorn); 3) as creation of temporal contemporaneity through image-montage (e.g. William Kentridge and Jean-Luc Godard, Historie(s) du cinéma).

Jacob Lund