Witold Kanicki

Witold Kanicki (1979) is an art historian, assistant professor at the Department of Art Education, University of Arts in Poznan (Poland), and guest lecturer at the Zurich University of the Arts (Switzerland). He worked as an independent curator and critic. His PhD book (Ujemny biegun fotografii) was published this year by the Słowo/Obraz, terytoria editorial house. He is an author of more than 50 articles, published in scientific journals, as well as in catalogues of exhibitions and magazines on contemporary art and photography. He participated in numerous conferences (Including: the 2nd International Conference in Photography and Theory, Ayia Napa, 2012, Cyprus; the 3rd International Conference in Photography and Theory, Nicosia, Cyprus, 2014; Photography and the LEFT, Lisbon, 2016, Portugal; Faktizität und Gebrauch früher Fotografie, Rome 2017). His scope of interest includes history and theory of photography, contemporary art, new museology and curating.

We have to be careful not to project a nostalgic glow onto the past, as if magic can only be found there and not in our own moment.

His long-standing interest in the history of early photography makes Geoffrey Batchen the appropriate speaker to discuss the question of photographic magic. Therefore, our conversation oscillates between magic and realism, but also other antonyms within the medium: negative and positive, analogue and digital. Taking in consideration all these oppositional notions, Batchen suggests that theoreticians “need to acknowledge and embrace photography’s abstractions and contradictions”. Different contradictions within photography’s theory and history became pivotal in our conversation. We also discussed the indexicality of digital images. According to Batchen, the negative/positive system of traditional photography can be compared with the binary code of digital images, which “is therefore based on the same oppositional logic, the same interplay of one and its other, that generated the analogue photograph.” Moreover, digitality does not eliminate the magic character of the contemporary photographs; in this context, Batchen mentions the capacity of instant transmission of snapshots from one place of Earth to another. In conclusion, Batchen reveals some details of his upcoming book Negative/Positive: A History of Photography.

Every conceivable object of Nature and Art will soon scale off its surface for us. Men will hunt all curious, beautiful, grand objects, as they hunt the cattle in South America, for their skins, and leave the carcasses as of little worth. – Oliver Wendel Holmes

Archives abounding in collections of nineteenth-century photographs contain numerous examples of works dealing with the subject of bodily anomalies. Information about such pictures being taken used to be published on a regular basis in daily press, in which the readership were notified about photo ateliers which immortalised a variety of “monstrosities”. Although it would seem that such pictures were taken solely for scientific purposes, the many and varied contexts of their use let us link them to a much older tradition of viewing and collecting visual curiosities. Having the above facts in mind, this article confronts the popular habits of photographing peculiarities in the 19th century, with museum practice and the Wunderkammers tradition. The space of a photograph may substitute exhibition space, while a desire to watch all kinds of abnormalities and the culture of curiosity determines the connection between former museum visitors and recipients of photographs.

Contributors

For full size images view click one the image.

sign up

and get the latest news and calls for papers & projects
news

The deadline for contribution proposals (150-word abstracts and/or visuals) is May 31, 2021 (extended to June 11, 2021). The deadline for the finished contributions from accepted proposals is August 9, 2021 (extended to August 16, 2021).

Proposals deadline: July 27, 2020 (extended to August 10!). Contributions deadline: September 21, 2020 (extended to October 5, 2020!)

Please contact the editors at editors(at)membrana.si. The deadline for contribution proposals (150-word abstracts and/or visuals) is December 16, 2019. The deadline for finished contributions from accepted proposals is March 16, 2020. Please send proposals or contact the editors at editors@membrana.org.

Please contact the editors at editors(at)membrana.org. The deadline for contribution proposals (150-word abstracts and/or visuals) is 09.04.2019. The deadline for finished contributions from accepted proposals is 24.06.2019. Please send proposals or contact the editors at editors(at)membrana.org.

Please contact the editors at editors(at)membrana.si. The deadline for contribution proposals (150-word abstracts and/or visuals) is 18.1.2019. The deadline for finished contributions from accepted proposals is 20 March 2019. Please send proposals or contact the editors at editors@membrana.si.

Please contact the editors at editors(at)membrana.si. The deadline for finished contributions from accepted proposals is 30 September 2018.

Please contact the editors at editors(at)membrana.si. The deadline for 150-word abstracts is 7 May 2018. The deadline for finished contributions from accepted proposals is 30 August 2018. Please send proposals or contact the editors at editors@membrana.si.

Please contact the editors at editors(at)membrana.si. Proposals and deadlines the deadline for 150-word abstracts is 10 June 2017.  The deadline for finished contributions from accepted proposals is 15 September 2017. Please send proposals or contact the editors at editors(at)membrana.si.

Please contact the editors at editors@membrana.org. The deadline for contribution proposals is 15 June 2016. The deadline for finished contributions is 30 July 2016.

Please contact the editors at editors@membrana.org. The deadline for finished articles is 30 October 2015.

Our site uses cookies to improve our services. As an user you need to agree to the usage and accept our conditions. We are currently using only necessary cookies for normal web page functioning. For more information visit our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. For more information on the cookies that we use please check the list below.  

PHPSESSID
This cookie is native to PHP applications. The cookie is used to store and identify a users’ unique session ID for the purpose of managing user session on the website. The cookie is a session cookies and is deleted when all the browser windows are closed.

I consent to the cookie usage, agree with the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy and want to continue using the web-page.