Dr W.J.T. Mitchell from the University of Chicago, was a key-note speaker at the event Visual Studies Today – The Power of Images, which was organized by the Center for Visual Studies, Zagreb from 7th to 8th November 2013, as well as at the conference Visual Studies as Academic Discipline . Dr Mitchell is the most famous authority of visual studies in the world.  (Schedule) Dr Mitchell’s talk was titled “Seeing Madness: Insanity, Media, and Visual Culture” and it raised two questions:”1) Is it possible to “see madness” or to represent it visually with any kind of certainty? 2) What motivates the desire to see madness, to put it on stage, or to capture its variable manifestations in visual images?” Examples were drawn mainly from photography, operatic spectacle, and cinema.

NGO “Culture, Media and Education” president and Media-Via editor Dr Vesna Srnic attended the lecture and because of the lack of time asked Dr Mitchell a question in writing, that he will possibly answer.

This is a question of Dr Srnic:

“In Critical Inquiry, in 1991st, you interviewed famous American conceptual artist Barbara Kruger. When you elaborated the relation between Image and Word, as well as about Gender and Embodiment, you provoked Barbara Kruger with this /quotation:

„You  can go back  to  the Old Testament to find sentiments like  “a silent woman  is  the gift of God.”

and KRUGER said: Oh,  let me write that down.“ /unquote (Critical Inquiry, 1991, p. 445)

 I think this is a very interesting moment in that interview, because of several possible interpretations: on charismatic, feminist, Leftist level Kruger was understandably surprised, although she should have known the point of that religious view, and did not mock; another Rightist level is well known for its meaning as the mystical power of silence.

 What I would like to ask you is if you can see the theses of third meaning in the phenomenology of Time and Space as Here and Now, in the performative middle way, thus artistically rejecting Gender differentiation, rejecting Images and Words completely, as well as Leftist and Rightist positions and oppositions?

 Is this „spinning wildly or standing still“ significant Spiritual Embodiment for you and can be seen as, although marginal, the rejection of the Madness?”

MV

 

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