Forensic Aesthetics – Roundtable III: Animism

ANTHEM

“In the habituated scheme of modernity, objects are conceived as the passive stuff on which human action leaves its imprint or trace. Whenever this passive/active nexus between objects and subject, humans and the non-human is disturbed or even reversed — as in the coming-to-life of seemingly dead matter, the becoming autonomous of inert things — we inevitably step into the territory of animism: that non-modern worldview that conceives of things as animated and possessing agency. With regards to Forensic Aesthetics, the historical discourse of animism provides a foil for a reflection on the boundaries at stake. This session examines a series of objects and liminal cases in which those borders are being destabilized or transgressed, from the crystal ball to educational objects from the 1920s, via the forensics of hair, to rocks.
Forensic Aesthetics positions “things” as “witnesses” and ascribes to them the power of speech and therefore an agency…

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