The Digital Wunderkammer

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2011-08-31
  • Publisher: Wilhelm Fink Verlag Munich
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As digital technology advances at breakneck speed, Images are circulating quicker than ever before. But what is the status of the image in the digital era? In The Digital Wunderkammer, art historian Hubert Burda (born 1940) examines the "iconic turn" in ten themed chapters and conversations with leading cultural theorists. In the first chapter, "The View Through the Window," Burda traces the connection between perspectival painting and the television, demonstrating in the second chapter how the image requires a frame, which in turn requires a material vehicle--the topic of the third chapter--that in our era has become a non-material vehicle with its own formal parameters. In the fourth chapter, "The Mobile Image," Burda shows how images have always been linked to portability, but now migrate to an unprecedented degree, so that anyone with a personal device can globally disseminate, say, footage from a concert via Youtube. A discussion of the capacity of individual images to placate or ennervate leads to a seventh chapter on the appetite for the Sublime and the rhetoric and representation of power throughout art history. Following a discussion of the democratization of celebrity culture, Burda proposes that the Google search box is perhaps the most interesting "interface" of our times, analogous to the seventeenth-century cabinet of curiosities (or wunderkammer). Conversations with Friedrich Kittler, Peter Sloterdijk, Bazon Brock, Horst Bredekamp and Hans Belting further extend this imaginative debate on the "iconic turn."

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