Vie scientifique | Séminaires / Conférences

	The Eternal Time of Photography: Comparative Perspectives from South Asia

The Eternal Time of Photography: Comparative Perspectives from South Asia

Christopher Pinney

22 février 2019 | 10h30 - 12h30

Salle 737, 54 boulevard Raspail 75006 Paris

Dans le cadre de l'atelier thématique du CEIAS « Approches anthropologiques et historiques du sensible »


The boldest 20thcentury theorization of photography, by Walter Benjamin, has pitted photography against the cultic. Benjamin’s approach was hardly ethnographic and he often has cause to lament the divergence between the effects photography should have and the uses to which it was actually put. The massed studios, of the Nepali pilgrimage destination of Dakshinkali seem intent on trying to supress the contingency that so enthused Benjamin. Dakshinkali images speak to that repetitive and ‘arthritic’ nature of ritual performance that Maurice Bloch has described so well, and through the mobilization of repetitive structures and actions attempt to conjure what Eliade described as illud tempus. Dakshinkali photography provides an entrance into a “sacred time” which is “indefinitely recoverable, indefinitely repeatable”. How should be understand the time and the event of photography ?


Christopher Pinney is Professor of Anthropology and Visual Culture at University College London. He has held visiting positions at the Australian National University, University of Chicago, University of Cape Town, Northwestern University, Boğaziçi University (Istanbul), and Jagiellonian University (Krakow). His research interests cover the art and visual culture of South Asia, with a particular focus on the history of photography and chromolithography in India. He has also worked on industrial labor and Dalit goddess possession. Amongst his publications are Camera Indica (1997), ‘Photos of the Gods’ (2004), The Coming of Photography in India (2008), Photography and Anthropology (2011), The Waterless Sea (2018), and Lessons from Hell (2018).




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