Images that Move. Analyzing Affect with Aby Warburg
Schankweiler, Kerstin; Wüschner, Philipp – 2019
The increasing dominance of images in contemporary mass communication makes the visual a relevant field of investigation for understanding the role of affects and emotions that resonate within any given society. This chapter addresses the theoretical and methodological foundation of the analysis of images with regard to affects from an art-historical point of view. Art historians can rely partly on their expertise in image analysis and image description, but must also look for ways to address images as ‘storage’ of affect. Aby Warburg and his concept of Pathosformel addresses this ‘storage’ of affective intensity in terms of materialization or formalization of affect. The example of Warburg’s own, often idiosyncratic, research will also be the starting-off point of our discussion on how much of an art historian’s ‘method’ can be made explicit at all, and to what extent it remains a habituated ability to be affected by images in a prolific way.