Backstage of the Eye: On interrupting sight in order to see

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An often-overlooked performative aspect of Roland Barthes' influential approach to the analysis of photography in his Camera Lucida lies in the act of closing one's eyes while studying a photograph. In his article ‘The backstage of the eye—On interrupting sight in order to see’, Jan Kühne presents Barthes' approach as a technique of interrupting eyesight in order to enable a unique experience, which fuses projections of dynamic visual and sonic imagination on the stage of the mind. For its case study, the article focuses on a bilingual ekphrastic poem by renowned Hebrew poet Dan Pagis, which turns a photograph into the stage for an imaginary poetic performance. As key to this synesthetic experience is the phenomenon of simultaneous bilingualism (or: homophonic translation), whose axiomatic principles are further illustrated with the help of a short story by Franz Kafka.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)86-92
Number of pages7
JournalPerformance Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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