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Toward an iconology for temporal object

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The advent of cinema brought with it a different kind of image montage, to which Warburg’s iconological project was strangely oblivious. Are we meant to believe, then, that the cinema does not produce icons? Is iconology destined to be only a science of classical culture, or can it also evolve to integrate into its own study new forms of kinematic art? We would like to ask the question of organogenesis of iconology here, that is to say, the invention of an iconological science for temporal objects by means of appropriate instruments for this new medium. The instrument is both conceived as a means of acting upon the real, and as a means of activating noetic capacities. The aim of our study will be to first outline the iconographic and iconological consequences stemming from animation and flux that have governed images since the birth of cinema, precipitating a crisis in classical iconology. Secondly, through the analysis of the noetic function of animated GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format) in digital streams, we will introduce the notion of ‘temporal gesture’ – as a tertiarized retentional technology, which can be reused for imagining an iconology of temporal suspension and insistence. This will be presented in the third part of this work to reflect on an iconological device for temporal objects by the grammatization and the engramming of ‘temporal gesture’, as an art of delay and repetition. This thinking will be based on the video artwork produced in collaboration with Gregory DassiĆ© titled Iconologie pour objet temporel.
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Keywords: attention span; grammatization; iconology; organogenesis; temporal gesture; temporal object; tertiary retention

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Centre de Recherches sur les Arts et le Langage (Paris)/Institut de Recherche et d’Innovation, Centre Pompidou (Paris)

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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