Iconoclash: Beyond the Image Wars in Science, Religion, and Art

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Bruno Latour, Peter Weibel
Center for Art and Media, 2002 - Religion - 703 pages
This book, which accompanies a major exhibition at the Center for New Art and Media (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, Germany, invokes three disparate realms in which images have assumed the role of cultural weapons. Monotheistic religions, scientific theories, and contemporary arts have struggled with the contradictory urge to produce and also destroy images and emblems. Moving beyond the image wars, ICONOCLASH shows that image destruction has always coexisted with a cascade of image production, visible in traditional Christian images as well as in scientific laboratories and the various experiments of contemporary art, music, cinema, and architecture.

While iconoclasts have struggled against icon worshippers, another history of iconophily has always been at work. Investigating this alternative to the Western obsession with image worship and destruction allows useful comparisons with other cultures, in which images play a very different role. ICONOCLASH offers a variety of experiments on how to suspend the iconoclastic gesture and to renew the movement of images against any freeze-framing.

The book includes major works by Art & Language, Willi Baumeister, Christian Boltanski, Daniel Buren, Lucas Cranach, Max Dean, Marcel Duchamp, Albrecht Durer, Lucio Fontana, Francisco Goya, Hans Haacke, Richard Hamilton, Young Hay, Arata Isozaki, Asger Jorn, Martin Kippenberger, Imi Knoebel, Komar & Melamid, Joseph Kosuth, Gordon Matta-Clark, Tracey Moffat, Nam June Paik, Sigmar Polke, Stephen Prina, Man Ray, Sophie Ristelhueber, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and many others.

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About the author (2002)

Bruno LaTour was born in the French province of Burgundy, where his family has been making wine for many generations. He was educated in Dijon, where he studied philosophy and Biblical exegesis. He then went to Africa, to complete his military service, working for a French organization similar to the American Peace Corps. While in Africa he became interested in the social sciences, particularly anthropology. LaTour believes that through his interests in philosophy, theology, and anthropology, he is actually pursuing a single goal, to understand the different ways that truth is built. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, LaTour has written about the philosophy and sociology of science in an original, insightful, and sometimes quirky way. Works that have been translated to English include The Pasteurization of France; Laboratory Life; Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers through Society; We Have Never Been Modern; and Aramis, or the Love of Technology. LaTour is a professor at the Center for the Sociology of Innovation, a division of the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Mines, in Paris.

Peter Weibel is Director of ZKM - Center for Art and Media Technology, Karlsruhe, and coeditor of other ZKM books, including "Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy" (MIT Press).

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