Nina Power (University of Roehampton)

August 7, 2024, 6:30pm - 8:30pm

2 Clunbury Street
London N1 6TT
United Kingdom



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This four-part course will examine one of the deepest anthropological, religious, political, and aesthetic aspects of human existence: the question of images, their effect on us and what use we make of them. Iconoclasm, the prohibition and/or destruction of images, is no mere historical phenomenon. While in the West there appears to be a total disinhibition of images – after all, hardcore pornography is widely available, and images of horror, violence, and murder, fictional and real, are freely shown – we have nevertheless witnessed flashes of a new iconoclasm, perhaps as a response to the now-overwhelming flood of visual stimuli afforded by contemporary media.

This course, through collective reading and discussion, will seek to understand this deep human impulse, tracing it from the beginning of image making 45,000 years ago to religious and political controversies that persist today. Special mention will be made of the Eikonomachía (icon struggle) of the Byzantine period, and we will discuss various strategies adopted by Christianity, Islam, and Eastern modes of thinking in relation to prohibition and the seduction of human image-making.

The course will arrive at the modern day. Do we have any capacity left to critically analyse the power of images, or are we crushed by their weight? Is the recent spate of politically motivated destruction or sabotage of statues best understood as iconoclasm or do we need different approaches?

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August 6, 2024, 9:00am BST

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Custom tags:

#iconoclasm, #destruction, #aesthetics, #art, #