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Visual Scepticism. Towards an Aesthetic of Doubt

Objective

"In early summer 2020, numerous monuments around the world were demolished after the death of George Floyd. The iconoclastic acts raise the pressing question of how this historical legacy should be dealt with. In a publication of the same name, Norbert Huse, a conservator of cultural heritage, spoke of ""uncomfortable monuments"" in this context. Since monuments of fascism and colonialism in particular also express the inhuman ideology of the regimes aesthetically, the frequently chosen solution of placing an information board next to the monument is not convincing, since in this way the effectiveness of this rhetoric in public space remains unchallenged. With the concept of ""visual scepticism"", the project proposes a different approach to these monuments. The monuments are to be aesthetically re-framed without completely erasing them from historical memory.

The project therefore pursues three goals:

Firstly, the concept of ""visual skepticism"" is to be explored to fundamentally examine whether and how visual media are capable of calling themselves into doubt. How do they succeed in generating insight with the help of inner contradictions. The thesis is that this form of knowledge production takes place on a purely visual level. It will be analysed how images can generate inner tensions and operate with dialogical structures that release knowledge.

Secondly, monuments of colonialism will be examined in order to find out how this memory becomes effective for the public not only in terms of content but also aesthetically. This aesthetic appeal to the viewer's experience of space and his or her bodily senses will be analysed in detail.

Thirdly, monuments that have been successfully re-framed will be discussed to show how artistic interventions have found aesthetic answers to inhuman ideologies.
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Call for proposal

ERC-2020-ADG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-ADG - Advanced Grant

Host institution

UNIVERSITAET HAMBURG
Address
Mittelweg 177
20148 Hamburg
Germany
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 2 369 431

Beneficiaries (1)

UNIVERSITAET HAMBURG
Germany
EU contribution
€ 2 369 431
Address
Mittelweg 177
20148 Hamburg
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments