Language: English (without subtitles)

Speakers: Wang Mingnan, Yang Beichen

Time:2018.12.16  15:00-17:00

Venue: OCAT Institute

This is a free event. Please register with us by sending “1216+name+email” to the OCAT Institute WeChat platform. Reservation is successful upon completion.  

The exhibition “Metapictures” is curated by the OCAT Institute’s 2018 scholar of the year, W.J.T Mitchell. It presents an incomplete but open set of images and texts mainly drawn from Western arts and sciences. Reflecting on the role of images from Plato to Deleuze, on the definition of media from Aristotle to McLuhan, and on the exhibition practices from Warburg to Malraux, “Metapictures” leads the audience into a labyrinth of concepts built upon various fields of knowledge, all of which attempt to understand the role of images in human affairs.

The OCAT Institute will be screening the documentary “Aby Warburg: Metamorphosis and Memory” on 16 December. Yang Beichen, scholar in contemporary art and film studies, and Wang Mingnan, art historian and researcher in museum studies, will be invited for a discussion with the audience after the screening.

Seismographs record underground movements that cannot be seen nor sensed. George Didi-Huberman, in L’Image survivante, revisits Warburg’s analogy of "seismograph", which compares historians to the “receivers” and “capturers” of historical life (geschichtliches Leben) -- the “mnemonic-waves” (mnemische Wellen). Intersected by the historian-seismographer, the seismic waves transmitted exterior manifest his knowledge of the symptom, “pathology of time, while those transmitted to his own interior become experience of the symptom, “empathy of time.  This experience is a trial, as Warburg migrating between his own trembles and ruptures opens up the images and problematizes the registration of time.

"Atlas" may be a set of continuous moving-image – different images and their interval constitute a vaccillating montage system. As montage became a cinematic method of operation after its invention or prevalence, we can constantly encounter the logos and other various incarnations of "atlas" in artistic' creations. What exactly is the relationship between Warburg in the film and the "motion-image" he created? This documentary on Warburg may give us some form of an answer.


Aby Warburg: Metamorphosis and Memory

Director: Judith Wechsler 

Language: English (without subtitles)

Year: 2016

Duration: 59 min

The film is provided by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York.

Aby Warburg, (1866-1929), an influential art historian, came from the renowned Warburg banking family of Hamburg, Germany. This documentary traces the development of Warburg's ideas in the context of his life and times and his personal struggle with depression and psychosis. From his early studies on the early Italian Renaissance to his ventures in the American Southwest observing Hopi and Zuni ritual dances in 1895, Warburg sought the legacy of ancient Greece in the images and symbols of cultures, which he followed through iconographic studies that he pioneered. He explored the nachleben (afterlife) of antiquity, the tentions between the rational and the irrational, between the secular and the religious. Warburg was plagued by mental problems, especially during the First World War, when his interest towards political propaganda and war photography intensified his illness and eventually led to his hospitalization. Following which, he returned to Hamburg and developed his project,Atlas Mnemosyne (the personification of Memory in Greek mythology,) which consists 1000 images arranged thematically, concerning memory, astrology and mythology, archaeology, survival of the ancient gods, vehicles of tradition, eruption of antiquity, the reemergence of classical antiquity at the moment, etc. This film also includes interviews with a number of academics from the UK, the United States and Germany.


About Speakers

YANG Beichen is a contemporary art and film studies scholar, who teaches at Dramatic Literature Department in Central Academy of Drama. He got his M.A. in University Paris Nanterre and his Ph.D. in Beijing Film Academy with a dissertation titled Film as Archive. He worked as senior editor at Artforum China since 2012. Yang is devoted himself to the interdisciplinary research between contemporary art and cinema through his curatorial practices, and his current research interests focus on the contemporary Moving-Image theory, Media Archaeology and New Materialism. His doctoral dissertation Film as Archive will be published soon.

WANG Mingnan is a scholar in art history and museum studies and a translator. She graduated from Beijing University, Sciences Po, École du Louvre. Among her translations are three works by Georges Didi-Huberman (under publication):The Surviving Image:Phantoms of Time and Time of Phantoms: Aby Warburg’s History of ArtImage,History, Poetry: Three Lectures on the Visual Arts of Eisenstein;Survival of the Fireflies.