SEMINAR: Thinking Through Images
Where: Palau de la Virreina
La Rambla, 99
Barcelona
Barcelona

Upcoming activities / Seminars and talks

Laura Huertas Millán, “La Libertad”, 2017
Laura Huertas Millán, “La Libertad”, 2017

SEMINAR: Thinking Through Images
Andrea Soto Calderón

05.06.2024 – 07.06.2024


Wednesday 5, Thursday 6 and Friday 7 June, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Espai 4
Sold out

In this course we propose to question a hypothesis that, at least until the 20th century, was widely accepted: that thinking is, as Kant stated (KrV, A69 B94), “knowing through concepts”. We maintain that there is a thought through images, which is equivalent to saying that there is a type of understanding and relationship with reality that is established in the material deployment of images. This problem presents us with the challenge of considering the specificity that images provide.

The conflict arising from images is not that of making abstract knowledge concrete. The cognitive, affective and sensible function of images does not operate in the manner of propositional language, in which events can be causally connected with initial premises, but rather develops its relationships through another logic. It is therefore necessary not only to resemanticize the images but also to try out other categories for describing the logic of images, such as scene, rhythm, gesture and staging.

The scene is not an allegory that is constructed to illustrate an idea; from the outset and on principle, the scene is an encounter. This understanding allows us to avoid thinking of images as fixed entities or units and to conceive them as shifts of scenes: it redefines their status. When you show something, it becomes necessary to show many things, because what makes an image is not an element or an index that designates the whole gathered in it. What makes an image is the movement that links, the vibration in which something different emerges: that which is moving.

The course will be divided into three sessions:

Session One: Notes for Visual Thinking
This session will undertake a critical approach to understanding thinking on the basis of conceptual primacy. Thinking through images means that one’s own thought must be aroused. A thought that does not yield to what is thought is left on the threshold of a task that it never begins. Thinking through images is a process that does not allow itself to be carried away by the assumed relationships of each case.

Session Two: Against Habits of Abstraction
In 1960 Siegfried Kracauer published the book Theory of Film. The Redemption of Physical Reality, in which he formulated a radical critique of the habits of abstraction that modern rationality has introduced in practically all areas of existence. Though Kracauer later reconsidered many of his reflections during his exile, in this early work he was interested in the cinema’s ability to create links and compose relationships with the world whose loss has weakened our sensibility. On the basis of this analysis, we will explore the capacity of images to address the singularity of things, concrete relationships, in which things should not be understood as objects but as those insignificant and unconsidered relationships of everyday life that range from the smallest movements to the greater ones that subsume us in the city.

Session Three: Trying Out Categories
When a critical analysis of images is carried out, the general tendency is to use discoursive analogies. It is said that we need to read the images, to understand what they want to tell us, or that an alphabetization or decoding of images is necessary. I would like to argue that these analogies make it difficult to understand logics of operation of images. Therefore, if we wish to state that there occurs a particular type of thinking that cannot be assimilated by the concept, we must try out other categories and operations as a basis for thinking. It is thus proposed to analyse images from the scenes they configure, their rhythms and gestures, to understand a thought that is also a form of experience that is attentive to what makes up a situation.

Andrea Soto Calderón
Photo: Cecília Coca