Toward a Post-Culturalist Art History: Symposium on the Work of Whitney Davis at the Center for Humanities, Freie Universität, Dahlem, Berlin, April 27/28, 2016
Symposium Description: Art-historical and visual-culture writing has often assumed that pictures produced in a given historical and geographical milieu track a visual culture, that is, established ways of seeing informed by a relatively stable configuration of shared meaning. Is this just an indispensable methodological abstraction, or is it possibly detrimental to our understanding of the temporally and/or geographically distant forms of pictorial experience? The symposium will tackle this question taking as its departing point the recent analytic work by Whitney Davis (in A General Theory of Visual Culture and the forthcoming Visuality and Virtuality: A Historical Phenomenology of Images and Pictures), who has been developing a model of “succession to visuality” as a historical process that is never totalized and is not well characterized in strong culturalist terms that assume a consolidated culture constituting one’s visual experience. Professor Davis will present a public lecture in the evening of April 27 and in the morning of April 28 an overview of his position, followed by response papers by Prof. Gerhard Wolf (Florence), Prof. Kitty Zijlmans (Leiden), Dr. Hans-Christian Hönes (Warburg Institute, London), and Dr. Jakub Stejskal (Berlin).