“What (or who) is an image?” An Introduction to W.C.T. Mitchell’s Image Science
by Francesco Gori
Friday, February 3 at 6pm at SACI’s Palazzo Jules Maidoff, 1st floor
Open to SACI faculty, students, and alumni (presented in English)
“Image is everything” (Canon commercial)
“Image is nothing, thirst is everything” (Sprite commercial)
Whether we like it or not, we live in the age of images. Hopping across the media, restlessly swinging from verbal to visual, from reality to fiction, images surround us, unleashing our fantasies, either dreadful or idyllic, scaring us as well as they can make us fall in love, asking us to buy a shampoo or vote for somebody at the next elections. We flirt with images, but we are afraid of them at the same time, we dream of images and we could die for them, images can trigger a war or shut down a government, terrorize an entire country or promise the redemption of all our sins, like the golden calf of the Bible. We might faint before a painting or cry in front of a photograph of our grandma, shake of fear watching a movie or burst out for a comic. Whatever they are, images seem to address our emotions much more than our intellect, as if they were talking to our bellies and hearts more than to our ears and heads, as if they were not talking at all. Nonetheless, images are anything but inert objects: they address us like living creatures. For this reason, they have always slipped away from all intellectual attempts to grasp their nature. No logical theory can ever be applied to images, but perhaps a “picture theory” can be drawn, a theory which is itself a pictorial practice, a visual art in its own right. This is the challenge of the “image science” drawn by W.J.T. Mitchell during over four decades, whose Iconology, Picture Theory, What do Images Want? and Cloning Terror are become milestones of contemporary visual studies. (Francesco Gori, PhD)
Francesco Gori (PhD), fellow of the Department of Education at the University of Milan Bicocca, is a specialist of aesthetics, visual culture and media theory. His research concerns all human forms of expression of thoughts, ideas and emotions in media and arts, either archaic and modern. Italian translator of the iconologist W.J.T. Mitchell (Cloning Terror. The war of images from 11 September to the present, Chicago 2011), in 2014 he was his assistant for the course of Theories of Media at the Univeristy of Chicago and in 2017 has coauthored W.J.T Mitchell’s Images Theory. Living Images. Alongside the academic research, he works in the Educational Department of the Florentine Civic Museums as historical-artistic guide and theatrical performer. He’s also a stage actor and has collaborated as performer with the painter Paolo Chiasera (Artinternational-Istanbul, 2015, Galerie Daniel Marzona-Berlin, 2016).