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Warburgian Vertigo: Devising an Activist Art Historical Methodology by Way of Analysing the “Zine” Family Fun

Journal article
Authors Astrid von Rosen
Published in Konsthistorisk Tidskrift
Volume Epub ahead of print
ISSN 0023-3609
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Cultural Sciences
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1080/00233609.2016.12...
Keywords Warburg, methodology, Pathosformel, Affect theory, Wetherell, Nachleben, Denkraum, activism
Subject categories Art History

Abstract

Inspired by art and culture historian Aby Warburg, this article seeks to devise an activist methodology by way of analysing Una’s Family Fun, a graphic novel (“zine”) dealing with mental health problems and women’s experiences within the socio-psychological domain. The article first briefly contextualizes and discusses the “bipolar” character of the methodology, then expands on Warburg’s key concepts Pathosformel, Nachleben and Denkraum, and introduces the knowledge montage as a practical and unifying methodological apparatus. It also proposes a theoretical updating of Warburg’s methodology through socio-psychological research on the affective turn. The second half of the article is devoted to working through the methodology by way of an exploration of Family Fun, and aims to present an honest account of the exploratory process, so that others can follow it and make their own assessments. As the methodology refuses closure and stays in motion, it is suggested that it potentially opens for an “activist” art history, providing space for unheard and marginalized voices, and engaging in societal, political and individual change with and through visual, embodied, hybrid and moving expressions.

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