The light of the world enters through our eyes, but we are far from fully understanding the factors that determine how our visual images are synthesized in our brains. Our field of vision does not correspond to physical space. It is only in union with the other senses that we transform visual perception into meaningful sight, at once a representation of the world and a mode of being in it.
In the Western tradition, sight is considered the superior sense. Seeing and knowing are often synonymous; darkness is associated with ignorance. But does sight alone provide us with a true picture of the world? Is seeing not always in thrall to idols and illusions that lead us astray? Can we distinguish truth and deception with certainty in the act of seeing? Is blindness – physiological or metaphorical – not at times a prerequisite for seeing properly, while in other cases it is precisely the naked eye that allows us to apprehend the emperor’s new clothes for what they are? Or does the ubiquity of images not impel us to overvalue the visual? Do we not need a critique of visual reason to understand that what we see is less a reflection of the world than of our beliefs about it?
Concept: Dominic Bonfiglio und Matthias Kroß, Potsdam
Participants: Peter Bexte, Köln; Christian Breuer, Berlin; Mazviita Chirimuuta, Pittsburgh; Arielle und Joann Eckstut, New York; Wolfgang Einhäuser-Treyer, Chemnitz; Peter Lamont, Edinburgh; Karlheinz Lüdeking, Berlin; Nicholas Mirzoeff, New York; Christa Pfafferott, Hamburg; Siegfried Saerberg, Wiehl; Martin Schaad, Potsdam; Alexander Strahl, Salzburg; Kate E. Tunstall, Oxford