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Philippe Descola - The Making of Images: An Anthropological Perspective

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  • UserProfessor Philippe Descola (Professor of Anthropology, Collège de France and Visiting Fellow, King’s College, Cambridge) World_link
  • ClockWednesday 28 January 2015, 17:00-18:00
  • HouseMill Lane Lecture Room 3.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Julien Domercq.

Do join us for a talk by Philippe Descola, one of the most renowned anthropologists. Descola studied under Claude Lévi-Strauss and will be reflecting on a groundbreaking exhibition he curated at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris which sought to investigate how very diverse cultures represent the similarities and differences they see in their surroundings – how and why we make images.

The Making of Images: An Anthropological Perspective

Iconic depiction can be used to trigger and organize memory, to convey information and to express emotions. Beyond these universal functions, however, it also has the power of rendering present and active in images specific sets of ontological properties, i.e. culturally contrasted systems of qualities ascribed to things in the world. If reduced to their basic structural properties as products of different inferential processes, ontologies are limited in number: they can be predicated on the continuity of interiorities and the discontinuity of physicalities (animism), on the discontinuity of interiority and the continuity of physicalities (naturalism), on the continuity of interiorities and physicalities (totemism) or on their discontinuity (analogism). These modes of identification are expressed in the making of images in that they qualify and make visible the types of entities that are perceptually salient in a given ontological context, the nature of their agency, the relations that these entities entertain and the properties which they convey.

The talk is organised by the History of Art Graduate Seminar Series and the Departments of Archaeology and Architecture.

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