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Christian Berger: Edgar Degas’s
Edgar Degas’s "Ballet class"
(p. 257 – 270)

Christian Berger

Edgar Degas’s "Ballet class"
Latent Motion and the Reconfiguration of Motifs

PDF, 14 pages

  • history of science
  • physiology
  • gaze

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Christian Berger

is a research fellow and lecturer at Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz and a Volkswagen Foundation Fellow at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. His recent book on repetition and experiment in the work of Edgar Degas is based on his PhD thesis, submitted to the Free University of Berlin. In his postdoctoral research project, he addresses issues of materiality and referentiality in conceptual art of the 1960s and ’70s.
Michael F. Zimmermann (ed.): Vision in Motion

Vision is not mere registration of what enters, via the gateway of our eyes, from the outside world into our inner consciousness. Understanding the act of seeing as mirroring the outside world in mental images overlooks its temporal aspect. From Berkeley to Helmholtz, from Goethe to Cézanne, new discourses based on the physiology of the sense organs lead to new conceptions of vision not only conceived of as a mental process, but as a cognitive activity. Even before Freud interpreted dreams, seeing was conceived of as accompanying our life even when we sleep. However, to understand even the stream of the sensations, we have to configure them in pictures. Since the 19th century, the media reflect about the confrontation of seeing as a diachronic activity and of perception as coded in synchronic images. The contributions to the volume investigate the opposition of the stream of sensations and the configuration of time – from early illustrations of plants to the avant-gardes, from gesture to cinema, from decapitation to dance, from David Hume to Bergson and Deleuze. The main objective is a critical examination of images rendering vision in motion, without reducing them to the temporality of narrative.