Photography and the Language of Things
Until the end of June, David Cunningham will reflect on some current debates around photography and what Hito Steyerl terms “the language of things in the realm of the documentary form”. The blog will examine what seems in such debates a widespread desire to withdraw from representation altogether, whereby the image becomes (to borrow Steyerl’s own citation of Benjamin) “without expression”, not a representation of reality but “a fragment of the real world”, a “thing just like any other”. Engaging with the history of a certain avant-garde that lies behind this, the blog will then pose some questions concerning the political as well as ‘aesthetic’ implications of such a thought of the photographic image.
David Cunningham is Deputy Director of the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture at the University of Westminster in London, and a longstanding member of the editorial collective of the journal Radical Philosophy. He has published widely on modernism, aesthetic theory and photography, including the co-edited collection Photography and Literature in the Twentieth Century (2005), and is currently co-editing a special issue of the journal Photographies with John Beck on photography and abstraction.