Towards a New Visual Politics between Global Icon and Iconoclash: Transatlantic Visual Worlds in Intercultural and Intermedial Comparison

Given the increasing totalization of a global community in the form of the spectacle, in which it seems that people are uniformly trapped in a globalized circulation of products and images, this project highlights two elements: Firstly, the negotiation of the global flow of images (global icons) will be interculturally compared, examining to what extent a “work on image” can be observed in film and theater media and from which conclusions can be drawn about a critical and cultural differentiation made in an independent visual language. Secondly, an intermedial comparison will be aimed at, which takes into account the circulation of images in television, film, and theater. The concept of iconoclash (generally, the phenomenon of cultural confrontation in an image; Bruno Latour, 2002) can be understood as a new critical approach to the issue of the worldwide circulation of images and their special function in intercultural communication concerning aspects of religious, social, or ethnic identity. The aim of the project is to investigate film and theater as “visual stages for performance” in the sense of intercultural negotiation and self-assurance. Discussion of North American mass media and the globally prevalent film industry will be considered paradigmatic and essential to examining the two aspects mentioned above, which are mediated through Hollywood films and television news programs. In regard to this illusionistic North American image machinery (the Hollywood industry), two different geographical reference points will be observed in transatlantic comparison: current theater productions in Europe (Germany) and Latin America (Argentina) respectively will be examined. Both perspectives counter the images of Latin America produced by the film industry in Hollywood and Germany.

Project Term: 2005-2006

Project Members:
Prof. Kati Röttger (Theatre Studies, University of Amsterdam)
Prof. Norbert Grob (Film Studies)
Alexander Jacob, M.A. (Film and Theatre Studies and Philosophy, University of Amsterdam)

RÖTTGER, KATI/ ALEXANDER JACOB (Hrsg.) (2009): Theater und Bild. Inszenierungen des Sehens. Bielefeld (=Theater, 4), 318 S.