abstract

ERC Advanced Grant An-Iconology: History, Theory, and Practices of Environmental Images

AN-ICON has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Grant agreement No. 834033 AN-ICON. The project is hosted by the Department of Philosophy “Piero Martinetti” – Department of Excellence at the State University of Milan.

Recent developments in image-making techniques have resulted in a drastic blurring of the threshold between the world of the image and the real world. Immersive and interactive virtual environments (VEs) have enabled the production of pictures that elicit an unprecedented reality effect, creating in the perceiver a strong feeling of “being there”, namely of being incorporated into a quasi-real world. In doing so, they conceal their material mediateness (by simulating immediateness), their separateness (by aiming at unframedness), and their referentiality (by emphasizing presentness), paradoxically challenging their status as images, i.e. as icons: they are veritable “an-icons”. Subjects relating to an-icons are no longer visual observers of images isolated from the real world by a framing device (be it the pedestal of a statue, the frame of a painting, or the cinema screen); they are experiencers living in a quasi-real space-time that offers multisensory and synaesthetic stimuli and allows interactive sensorimotor affordances, promoting an environmentalization of the image.

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