Herman Siemens
Leiden University
This paper draws on Alexander Baumgarten, the founder of modern aesthetics (1714- 1762), to tackle two fundamental questions: What is an image or representation “of violence”? And what makes an image violent, in the sense that it can provoke acts of political violence? In the mediatized environment we inhabit, I argue, our perception has become damaged by generalized logics of image-exchange and -sharing, so that we have become immunized against perceiving concrete particularity. Baumgarten’s notion of clear and “con-fused” or “fused” (“verworren”) representations describes well how certain images – “violent” images – can break through these mediatized logics and capture the concrete particular in its qualitative singularity. The complexity and plurivocity of such images defeat our cognitive capacity to determine truth/untruth univocally, provoking a fear of ambiguity, which is one of the small beginnings of violent political acts and events.
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DOI 10.22618/tp.pjcv.20193.1.192007
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