Activity: Participating in or organising an event › Workshop › Academic
Masterclass by Benjamin Schmidt: ‘Violent images, violence against images: the visual culture of violence in the in early modern period’
Prof. Schmidt will present a keynote at the conference ‘Imagineering Violence’ on ‘fumi-e’, [‘stepping-on pictures] the symbolic iconoclasm that Europeans were forced to perform in early modern Japan. In particular, the keynote will explore the way in which such acts would have necessitated a re-performance of iconoclasm (in this case, literally stepping on icons) for Europeans in Japan. It is clear that there were non-Dutch among the ‘Dutch’ in Deshima, including Catholics and Lutherans; yet it is also likely that Calvinists, too, would have had misgivings about the performance of iconoclasm. What were the material dimensions of such Asian-European encounters, and how did they influence this clash in attitudes over religious imagery and violence?
During the masterclass, participants will have the chance to relate their own research to the broader issue of the relationship between visuals and violence. Using the chapter on print culture and violence from Schmidt’s latest work, Inventing Exoticism, participants are invited to reflect on the ways in which early modern media grappled with the representation of violence, and how they positioned such representations in terms of geography, as well as religious and political identities.
Imagineering Violence Conference
The keynote is part of the two-day conference Imagineering Violence, which aims to analyze early modern techniques of representing violence and their transformations over time. In particular, the conference will cover the technical and performative aspects of the depiction of violence, whether in print or painting, on stage, in the anatomical theater, the scaffold, and elsewhere. What regimes of representing and staging violence can we trace? We assume that by zooming in on the concept of violence, we are forced to rethink traditional boundaries, between secular and religious realms, between East and West, between baroque and classical styles, between theatricality and spectacle, between the public and the private sphere.