Visual Politics: Philosophy of Documentary Image
The objective of this course is, together with the students, to understand how contemporary media (primarily, photography) are related to political issues, freedoms and human rights. How do visual images 'invaded' the territory of history, which, for millennia, was under the control of the text? Are images an instrument of symbolic violence or, on the contrary, contribute to the defense of human rights, becoming bearers of historical memory, documenting personal or universal tragedies? Or is the relationship between image and historical event is based on a different principle? The course will cover such issues as the technological basis of photography and cinema, and their birth with the 19th century industrialization and capitalism; the problem of relations between text and image; the boundaries of visibility, of the seen and unseen in the image itself. We will also consider interpretation of images, a political ban on the production of an image and the destruction of images for political reasons. Another important question is witness through images and their emotional significance. The course is interdisciplinary. It includes references to history, psychology, political theory and aesthetics.