Arguing with evidence in studying culture and the arts /What is Beyond Self-image?
ESA Student Mini Conference, Lisbon August 31 to Set.1
The twentieth century was the century of images. New technologies for creating and conveying images in the media, in the web or in the arts and the visualization in the sciences of what was formerly invisible have resulted in a paradigm shift, the symbolic or pictorial turn known as postmodernism. This implies that the deluge of images is a sign of a fundamental cultural change. The twentieth century was also the century of the confrontation with the statement and the experience of depersonalization in a ground which hosts the largest contemporary artistic production. This formalization of what appears to limit the capabilities of individualized constructive and aesthetic form is a procedure that should be inserted in a long art tradition of the twentieth century linked to the aesthetic dissolution of individualization known as fragmentation, hybridism or multiplicity of selves. Paradoxically we assist to a revisit to the subject’s idea in social sciences, recurring to biographic methods or methodological individualism, given the importance specified on the agency as well as on the individual action alongside the practice and structuration theory. At the same time, in the arts, a way back to the self is performed with self-portraits mainly in photography, autobiographies in literature, autobiographical works in the cinema and representation, etc. Consequently, importance is given to the body as an object rather barely to the subject’s subjectivity. Self image is treated as an object of its own; the agency of the image appears in this line of action as a new paradigm shift of the actual sciences, arts and aesthetics performing a self disproved from the I. One image, object of personal identification, depersonalized, transforms itself in one thing, linked to the un-form, to the un-subjective subject which holds it. What are the challenges and opportunities posed to the dominant interpretative paradigms of social sciences by the rise of a new fascination with this subject-object whether it is an image or a body? How can the study of visual image come back with what has been variously termed as a postmodernist turn? Can this phenomenological concern with the body and image determine its own reception to be incorporated into approaches that emphasize its visual and sociological implications? Is it possible to conceive the image both as a representation and a presentation at the same time? These are some of the questions that we plan to have opened when doing this research. Questions which would be answered in the course of the analysis of body representation in two case studies of our interest: Helena Almeida e Jorge Molder which serve as reference, as standpoints of analysis, as evidence. By the use of social sciences methodologies mainly qualitative techniques of analysis and observation we intend to question, understand and interpret these paradigm shifts of current theory into and through these cases.
self-image, self-portrait, self-representation, identity, art and culture