Kunsthistorie: Kunst og kulturforskning 1/Værkanalyse/periodestudie: IMAGING RAPTURE.THE POWER OF IMAGINATION


This is an interdisciplinary course within the field of the anthropology of image focused on how images in art and media construct special psychological effects and shape the human imaginary.

The course will make the students part of the unique experience in which the teachers will share their own current research (or/and doctoral project) around a fascinating theme regarding the conundrum in art history and visual studies, that is, the “animated image.” We will first clarify the spurious matter of the term “animation” in all its modes of manifestation, from “primitive” magic (animism) to electronic simulation technology. But the course will dwell at large on animation as part of the innate faculty of mind – the imagination – and how it operates, so that it injects life in inanimate images. “Image belief” – a mode of symbolizing the world in collective images, as well as images triggered by powerful words invested with energy to create the ambiguity between life and imitative art, between presence and illusion of presence, will be important chapters of our course. How they generate extreme psychological states of perception from aesthetic wonder and stupefaction to magic charm and erotic, even pathological, disturbances.

The force of imagination is not a literary figure of style, or a metaphor, but a conceptual instrument to describe the mechanism of image. Most importantly, a means to assess the relationship between image and the imaginative body, where body has an important share in the process. “What do pictures want?” – asks himself rhetorically W. J. T. Mitchell in his 2005 book with the same title. “They want your body,” answers the author. Images need a body so that they may become alive. Similarly, already in 2001, Hans Belting argues about the perceptive body as the place of images. His book Bild-Anthropologie. Entwürfe für eine Bildwissenschaft is a breakthrough in the understanding of the mechanism of images, in which he puts forth the constellation of image, body, and medium as an intertwined and indispensable set of relations in the process of manifestation of images, outwardly and inwardly, in the imagination. These theoretical tools and argumentations will be, among others, at the core of our research together in this course.

Engelsk titel




To make students able to:

1. Examine a variety of manifestation of the power of images, as well as strategies of making image operate as a living, performative phenomenon, through critical reading of texts from art history, cultural visual studies, media studies, as well as literature, film and music;

2. Critically discuss the ways in which image as power has shaped artistic expressions, as well as performative phenomena that exceed the realm of art, and giving Life another dimension.



Making use of teaching and learning strategies, in which the following tools are used:

• Image and texts analysis, interpretation of visual materials, class discussion, workshop or group work during class meetings;
• Active student-centered teaching approach in the presentation of course material to engage the students;
• Critical-thinking and learning activities to help students building up confidence in independent study;
• Student presentations to encourage their involvement in the learning process;
• Special events and activities, such as collaboration with international scholars (VIStoichita) in debates and events organized, or visits to museums to study and challenge their frame, thus engaging the students’ creativity and their engagement in addressing new visions upon images and their “life”;
• Individual assistance during office hours for further discussion of the materials, and in the process of the preparation of their assignments.
• Additional materials, texts and audiovisual documentation, posted on Absalon;
• Other relevant teaching materials in the library.

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