Before the Sight
The international conference at the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies (ZiF) Bielefeld was organized by the art history subproject C01 of the SFB 1288. It mainly focused on practices which constitute, adjust, and manipulate the viewing of images.
Divided into three sections—discursive arrangements, medial and spatial arrangements, and (im-)material arrangements—case studies with a theoretical perspective, historical or contemporary case studies were presented and discussed. One central point were practices of observing and comparing which accompany the aforementioned arrangements and presuppositions of viewing images. Moreover, the multifaceted doing of different actors was contemplated in many contributions, e.g. artists, curators, art historians, or viewers who actively or subconsciously direct the act of viewing.
The various medial examples and approaches coming from image studies revealed how interconnected the different conditions prior to the viewing of images and accompanying the act of viewing are: there is no viewing without presuppositions. It argues for the well attuned routine of the—at the conference mainly thematized—western sight that the viewing of images usually works flawlessly and rarely is reflected in itself. Only the closer look is able to unfold the interconnected net out of presuppositions.
Photos: Simon Grunert, Corinna Mehl