Pathosformel (Pathos Formula)
Schankweiler, Kerstin; Wüschner, Philipp – 2019
This chapter argues that the work of art historian Aby Warburg (1866–1929) – in particular, his idea of pathos formula – entails fragments of a theory of affectivity, its formalization, dissemination, and historicity. Pathos formulas “freeze” moments of high affective intensity and create “dynamograms” that work as intensifiers by arranging the affective dynamics in any given medium (though Warburg focused mainly on visual media). As a formalization, a pathos formula enables affectivity to be stored, transmitted through time and space, reiterated and even reenacted. Pathos formula is a key concept to address the relation between affectivity and form from a historical perspective.