On the Notion of ‘Capture’: arché, techné, epistemé
What happens when one writes about or photographs another? In this lecture, celebrated artist and scholar Thomas Zummer speaks to the idea of “capturing” subjects in media—photography, cinema, radio, digital video, transmission—and how the captured subject is drawn into the fabricated media space while its own world is forcibly occluded. Zummer will trace this phenomenon through the depiction of places, people, and events in all such media—how the media start to “speak for” the captured, take the place of the captured, and make the otherness of the captured disappear. In establishing power through composing and distributing the captured, media produce a narrative of their own place in the world, defined by the authority over that which it captured and now represents.
Thomas Zummer is a scholar, writer, artist, designer, and curator. He is currently completing a book-length study on the early history of reference systems, entitled Intercessionary Technologies: Database, Archive, Interface, and a small book on photography. He is the founder and director of Z-Grafik, a design bureau based in Brussels and New York City. His drawings and sculptural works are exhibited worldwide, and as a curator he has organized exhibitions at the Wexner Center for the Arts, CinéClub/Anthology Film Archives, Thread Waxing Space, the Katonah Museum of Art, and the Palais des Beaux-arts/Brussels. Zummer holds a PhD in philosophy and media/communications studies. He has taught at Brown University, New York University, The New School, the Transart Institute/Linz, Tyler School of Art at Temple University, and currently teaches philosophy at the European Graduate School, Saas-Fee, Switzerland. He is also an assistant professor of graphic/information design at Central Connecticut State University and an adjunct professor in the Digital + Media Department at the Rhode Island School of Design. He lives in Brooklyn.