Slavko Kacunko, Copenhagen:

University Copenhagen, The Department of Art and Cultural Studies
 / HUM Campus, Copenhagen
10. September 2014, Wednesday, 15.45-16.45, ROOM 27.0.09 

The interrelated phenomena and concepts of frames, mirrors, and visual ‘immediacy’ can be regarded as blind spots of both ‘visuality’ and ‘visibility’. The present talk aims to take the semantics of dissolution related to the mirrors as a point of departure for a discussion about the ‘image’ within a pragmatics of performativity. The ‘here and now’, squeezed between the ‘immediacy of image’ and the ‘image of immediacy’ reveals its material and medial origins on the surface of the speculative difference. The notion ‘speculative difference’ itself points to some constants in the debates, parallelisms and divergences between the Visual Culture Studies and Bildwissenschaft. In recent years, the terms like ‘iconic difference’ have become common topoi of discussion, themselves in turn inspired by the theories of ‘ontological difference’ and alike. The difference between ‘image’ and ‘reality’ as conveyed by the mirrors, frames or on the edges of ‘immediacy’ resists to such demarcation attempts and is therefore suitable to its identification as speculative difference. This ‘difference’ keeps the central relevance related to the performativity of ‘images’ (or their processuality) while maintaining its own highly speculative or gradual character. The fact that some ontological or anthropological oriented image-theories take that difference for granted by baptizing it for example ‘iconic’ do not change its character, but it even ads another, rather arbitrarily, metaphysic or transcendental connotation of the adjective ‘speculative’ to the alleged difference in question.

Slavko Kacunko is professor for Art History and Visual Culture at the University of Copenhagen. Key foci of his scientific profile are Processual Arts, Visual Studies and its Boundaries, History of the Aesthetical Discourse and the interdisciplinary study of Bacteria. Kacunko is the author of Spiegel. Medium. Kunst (Fink 2010) and Closed Circuit Videoinstallationen (Logos 2004), which is described as “the pivotal source book” and a “milestone in the history of media art”, while his Marcel Odenbach. Konzept, Performance, Video, Installation (Chorus 1999) is awarded as an “Art history pioneer achievement in the field of video art”. His work has been published in German, English and Croatian and has been translated into Polish, Japanese, and Spanish. Kacunko has furthermore authored monographs Wiederholung, Differenz und infinitesimale Ästhetik. Matthias Neuenhofer (2012), Las Meninas Transmedial (VDG 2001), Dieter Kiessling (2001).

Kacunko was born in Osijek in Croatia where he studied art history, philosophy and pedagogy. He moved to Germany in 1993 and received a Ph.D. from the University of Düsseldorf (1999). His Ph.D. dissertation (summa cum laude) traces the origins of video, installation and performance art and was the first dissertation on one German video artist. He received the post-doctoral qualification (habilitation with venia legendi for Art History) from the University of Osnabrück with a thesis on the History and Theory of Media Art (2006). He received grants from Andrea von Braun Stiftung, Fritz-Thyssen Stifting, Messe Düsseldorf, Universität Düsseldorf, Lufthansa and Goethe Institute. Between 2003 and 2009, Kacunko was a Junior Professor for Art History of the Modern Period at the University of Osnabrück. In addition, Kacunko was a lecturer at Institute for New Philologies at the University of Frankfurt, at Center for Image Science at the Danube University Krems and a Visiting Professor at Institute for Art History, University of Düsseldorf. Since 2000 he works in the field of artist-based research related to the media of photography, video, bio-media as well as the natural and cultural World Heritage together with Sabine Kacunko.

Through the privilege of practicing Art History in Southern-Eastern, Central and Northern Europe, Kacunko have used insights in the national affected local disciplines in Croatia, Germany and Denmark to induce a trans disciplinary academic practice between the German ‘Bildwissenschaft’ and Anglo-Saxon ‘Visual Culture’ on the one hand and the globally envisioned ‘Media-Art‘, ‘Bio-Art’ and ‘Bio-Media’ on the other. The cultural (dis-)continuity is crucial for his comparative cultural studies on the continent’s frontiers and at its changing centers, while the reflection of non-European perspective remains an important constant.