Embodying Cultural Memory between Symbolic Forms, Dynamograms and Dance: Ernst Cassirer, Aby Warburg

David Quigley

On a basic level, citation and appropriation are ways of relating to the past. This presentation begins with considering Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Image Atlas along with reconstructions of his legendary slideshow lectures as precursors of both contemporary art and the contemporary practice of art theory. Warburg’s analysis of ancient hermetic theories of divinatory and magical practices as they have been expressed and passed on in sculpture, painting, and ritual dance indicates a different way of understanding the presence of myths, images, songs, and conscious body movement not only as forms of knowledge, but also as expressions and embodiments of forces between temporally and spatially separate fields.

David Quigley is a professor of cultural theory at Merz Akademie in Stuttgart, Germany. He was born in New York, USA and studied in California; Vienna, Austria and Paris, France. He has been a lecturer in the philosophy department at the University of Vienna as well as a visiting researcher and lecturer at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, Spain. He is the author of Carl Einstein. A Defense of the Real and numerous catalog publications. He also writes for journals including Afterall, Spike Art Quarterly, and Multitudes.