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This is the original second commandment, although, in both Lutheran and Catholic tradition it has been deleted. Instead the tenth commandment is divided in two, whereupon "your neighbour’s house" and "your neighbour’s wife" (and slave and donkey) now has commandments of their own. It is of course impossible to come to any certain conclusions regarding the intentions or significance of this fact, but the change of focus is inevitable; from a defence from human depiction of the divine, to an increased protection of our private property.
Today, when the clash of East and West seems to have its epicentre somewhere between Muhammad caricatures and the fatwa, we tend to forget the historical and theological implications of this question, from a European perspective. Depiction of the worldly, as well as the divine, has often been an essential and charged issue, not least in the conflict between East and West Rome. This course of events, known as the Iconoclasm, involves the different attitudes towards images of God, and is manifested in the split between the Orthodox and the Catholic churches, which gave rise to Europe as we know it today.
In Critique of Cynical Reason German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk works out the concept of ideology as a "false conscious", on the thesis of cynicism as being the dominating function of ideology. The cynical subject is fully aware of the distance between reality and the "ideological mask," but nevertheless he holds to the mask. Could images represent the equivalent aesthetical disguise, as the paradox construction of an "enlightened false conscious"?
We know Europe is not the centre of the world, but still, in maps we find the continent in the middle, as always since the days of Colonialism. Is this because of practical circumstances, like if it would be an enormous undertake to have the whole world "re-learning"? On the contrary, could this be a strategy, in which we communicate both our values and political colour, as a refusal to "re-learn"?
This week is devoted on different approaches to the image as signifying practice; politically, but also socially and emotional – what colour is number 5, and what taste has the colour red?