Imagination in the Contemporary Society of the Spectacle

Talk by Jacob Lund @Borough Road Gallery, 17.00, 4th March 2020. All welcome.

Assuming that images are as foundational as language in the construction of the world – and now perhaps even more so – the talk will reflect on some of the ways in which digitalization effects changes in the status of the image. At first sight, these changes are happening primarily at a technical and infrastructural level, but naturally they problematize also the cultural and social significance of images and the role of the human subject. The digital, technologically distributed and networked image is, amongst other things, an important factor in interconnecting geopolitical regions, cultures and individuals around the globe; that is, in the production of a global contemporaneity. At the same time, the image circulation in contemporary media culture seems increasingly to abandon the agency of human perception and imagination – thereby challenging our ability to imagine (the world differently).

Jacob Lund is Associate Professor of Aesthetics and Culture and Director of the research program Contemporary Aesthetics and Technology at the School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University, Denmark. He is also Editor-in-Chief of The Nordic Journal of Aesthetics. Lund has published widely within aesthetics, art history, critical theory, and comparative literature. Currently he is completing a collective research project called The Contemporary Condition, that he directs with Geoff Cox, and which focuses on the concept of contemporaneity and changes in our experiences of time as these might be seen to be registered in contemporary art. His publications as part of this project include The Contemporary Condition: Introductory Thoughts on Contemporaneity and Contemporary Art (Sternberg 2016, with Geoff Cox) and Anachrony, Contemporaneity and Historical Imagination (Sternberg 2019).

image: Forensic Architecture located photographs and videos within a 3D model to tell the story of one of the heaviest days of bombardment in the 2014 Israel-Gaza war. The Image-Complex, Rafah: Black Friday, Forensic Architecture, 2015.