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Hades as an accumulation of tertiary retentions

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This article examines Aby Warburg’s enterprise as an anamnesis, as a question of memory in exosomatisation in relation to the pharmakon. Here the pharmakon is considered as a ‘support’ in relation to questions of ‘care’ and as a therapeutics, prescribing the way by which such a pharmakon can become or remain curative, rather than toxic. The discussion looks at how the pharmakon makes possible the transmission of the condition of knowledge, that is: as a preindividual milieu that contains, retains and re-activates traumatypes, providing opportunities for bifurcations in the future. Warburg’s employment of photographic montage is considered as an exploration of pharmacological possibilities inherent to tertiary retentions and providing the condition for revenance. Such revenance is proposed as the return of the serpent in absentia: as a new form of tertiary retention that today appears as digital tertiary retention. At stake is the libido’s economisation, interactivity and algorithmic governmentality all of which effect the faculties for dreaming, imagination and knowledge.
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Keywords: exosomatisation; pharmakon; serpent; tertiary retention; traumatype

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: L’Institut de recherche et d’innovation Translated by Daniel Ross

Publication date: October 1, 2017

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  • Philosophy of Photography is a new peer-reviewed journal devoted to the scholarly understanding of photography. It is not committed to any one notion of photography nor, indeed, to any particular philosophical approach. The purpose of the journal is to provide a forum for debate on theoretical issues arising from the historical, political, cultural, scientific and critical matrix of ideas, practices and techniques that may be said to constitute photography as a multifaceted form. In a contemporary context remarkable for its diversity and rate of change, the conjunction of the terms 'philosophy' and 'photography' in the journal's title is intended to act as a provocation to serious reflection on the ways in which existing and emergent photographic discourses might engage with and inform each other.
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