Image and Imagination

Thursday, October 13 - Saturday, October 15, 2005 at New York University

During the last few decades, the growing importance of images has triggered intensive public debate. Following the "linguistic turn" of the humanities during the 20th century, an "iconic turn" could lead to an equally fundamental reconstitution not only of the humanities but also our ways of communication. The conference will bring together experts from the USA and Europe who will address issues of the individual and collective imagination in creating and understanding images.

We hope you will join us in this thought-provoking event.

For further information, or if you have any questions, please contact

Deutsches Haus at NYU
42 Washington Mews
New York, NY 10003
+1 212 998 8660 or 998 8663
or visit our website at


Morana Alac (University of Chicago)
Gottfried Boehm (Universität Basel)
Gabriele Brandstetter (Freie Universität Berlin)
Marvin Carlson (City University of New York)
Lisa Cartwright (University of Chicago)
Erika Fischer-Lichte (Freie Universität Berlin)
Gunter Gebauer (Freie Universität Berlin)
Claude Ghez (Columbia University)
Bernd Hüppauf (New York University)
Gertrud Koch (Freie Universität Berlin)
Karlheinz Kohl (Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt)
Gabriele Leidloff (Artist, Berlin)
Dieter Mersch (Universität Potsdam)
W.J.T. Mitchell (University of Chicago)
Anthony Movshon (New York University)
Ludwig Pfeiffer (Universität Siegen)
David Poeppel (University of Maryland, College Park)
Roland Posner (Technische Universität Berlin)
Martin Puchner (Columbia University)
Britta Schinzel (Universität Freiburg)
Rebecca Schneider (Brown University)
Peter Sloterdijk (Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe)
Christoph Wulf (Freie Universität Berlin)

Conference Program

Thursday, 13 October

Location: Juan Carlos Center, 53 Washington Square South

10:00-10:15 Introduction
Bernd Huppauf/Christoph Wulf
10:15-11:45 Theories of the Visual Imagination
W.J.T. Mitchell: The Unimaginable and the Unspeakable

Christoph Wulf: Mimesis, Image, and Imagination

11:45-12:00 Break

12:00-14:00 Contemporary Art and Image Theory
Video presentation by artist Gabriele Leidloff (Berlin)
Imaging and Imagining the Face. Image generating techniques and what they do not generate.
Round table discussion with Claude Ghez, Gabriele Leidloff, David Poeppel

Afternoon session at Jurow Lecture Hall, Silver Center Rm 101, 32 Waverly Place

15:30-17:30 Constructing images 1
Lisa Cartwright and Morana Alac: Affect, Identification, and Embodied Experience: Participant Observation in MRI and Robotics
Britta Schinzel: The body in medical imaging between reality and construction

Friday 14 October

Morning sessions at Deutsches Haus at NYU, 42 Washington Mews

9:00-10:45 Constructing images 2
Anthony Movshon and collaborators: Images and the Neurosciences
10:45-11:00 Break

11:00 - 12:00 KEY NOTE ADDRESS
Peter Sloterdijk: Image and Imagination
Followed by reception
Location: Jurow Lecture Hall, Silver Center Rm 101, 32 Waverly Place

Afternoon sessions at Deutsches Haus at NYU, 42 Washington Mews

14:00-15:30 Creating Images and the Visual Imagination
Gabriele Brandstetter: Doodling, Scraping, and Painting Over. Erasure as a Narrative Technique
Dieter Mersch: Imagination and Creativity
15:30-15:45 Break
15:45 -17:15 Rituals as Images
Michael Taussig: Ritual Aspects of Vision as in Abu Ghraib and the Colors of the "Fascination of the Abomination"
Rebecca Schneider: A Small History of Images as Ritual: Reenactment and the Optical Unconsciousness
17:15-17:30 Break
17:30-19:00 Imagining moving images
Gertrud Koch: Moving and Removing Images. The Cinematic Construction.
Erika Fischer-Lichte: Performative Spaces and Imagined Spaces

Saturday 15 October

Location: Deutsches Haus at NYU, 42 Washington Mews

9:00-10:30 Signs, Perception and the Senses
Gunter Gebauer: Language games and Imagination
Roland Posner: Synaesthesia. Physiological Diagnosis, Practice of Perception, Art Program - A Semiotic Re-analysis
10:30-10:45 Break
10:45-12:15 The images' fuzzy logic
Gottfried Boehm: The Logic of the indeterminate
Bernd Huppauf: Blurring lines and creating spaces for the imagination
13:30-15:00 Imaging and the Intuitive Self
Karlheinz Kohl: Popular Images and the Conception of Self
Ludger Schwarte: Intuition and Imagination. How to see something that isn't there
15:00-15:15 Break
15:15-16:45 Entertaining the Imagination with Images
Ludwig Pfeiffer: Sport Rituals, Media Images, and the Imaginary
Martin Puchner: Kierkegaards Shadow Figures and the Ethics of Squinting
16:45-17:45 Final discussion, chaired by Marvin Carlson