Studio 01: The Pensive Image

Aikaterini Gegisian

The Pensive Image, will yet again change everything you thought you knew about images in a way you never expected! It will guide you in a journey through diverse cultural texts, by revisiting philosophy, art history and visual culture and challenging distinctions between symbols, images, photographs and digital traces.

In our immediate Western cultural landscape, images are read in opposition to language (text) and understood in correlation to technological progress. Although text and language remain the dominant modes of expressing thought and constructing meaning, images bring people together; they construct identities and worlds of ideas. Are images and texts simple antagonists in the construction of meaning? Do images in the information age displace texts and become the main vehicle for expressing thought? How do images communicate? What are they are saying? Can images write histories?

Topics and keywords

  • From Image to Image Histories: Symbols, Photographs and Visual Thinking
  • Images across Cultures: Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas and the Cultural Logic of Association
  • ‘Technical Images’ Displacing Text: Flusser’s Philosophy of Photography
  • Fragments and Gaps: Deleuze’s thinking in the moving image 
  • What Pictures Want? The multiplicity of perception
  • Automation, Mobility, Velocity: The Poor Image (Pixels and Data)
  • Simultaneity and Circularity: Towards a non-linear understanding of the visual


Studio bibliography

  • Azoulay, Ariella. The Civil Contract of Photography. Zone Books, 2012
  • Benjamin, Walter. The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction. London: Penguin, 2008
    Deleuze, Gilles. Cinema 1, The movement-image. London: Athlone Press, 1986
  • Didi-Huberman, Georges. Knowledge: Movement (The Man Who Spoke to Butterflies). In Aby Warburg and the Image in Motion, New York: Zone books, 2007
  • Flusser, Vilém. Towards a philosophy of photography. London: Reaktion Books, 2000
  • Mitchell, W.J.T. What do pictures want? The lives and loves of images. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005
  • Groys, Boris. Modernity and Contemporaneity. Mechanical vs Digital Reproduction. In the Flow, Verso, 2016
  • Ranciere, Jacques. The emancipated spectator. London. Verso, 2011
  • Russell, Legacy. Glitch is Remix. Glitch Feminism. London: Verso, 2020
  • Sekula, Allan. The Traffic in Photographs. Photography against the grain: essays and photo works 1973-1983. Halifax (N.S.): Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 1984
  • Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa (eds). The Lives of Images, Vol. 1: Repetition, Reproduction, and Circulation, Aperture, 2021
  • Steyerl, Hito. In Defence of the Poor Image. The wretched of the screen. Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2012


Studio image: Carmen Winant, The History of My Pleasure, installation view. Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago), 19 January – 23 May 2021. Banner image: Hans Op de Beeck, Staging Silence (3), video still (detail), 2019

Carmen Winant, Installation view The History of My Pleasure. Collage of photographs


Tutor Aikaterini Gegisian

Dissertation Studios 2022–23