T.H.: Okay, but what about, for example, the historical form of the portrait. Would you agree that a portrait could also be close to what you call an art subject? As an image that regards us, that provokes a response? This dimension of responsivity underlines the possibility of the living as being regarded by images. This kind of response is not necessarily a force of pure re-presentation.

E.K.: A portrait cannot be an art subject, unless the portrait is itself literally alive. An inert image is not alive and only the living can be a subject. I can make my point in simple terms, by pointing out the difference between your mother giving you a kiss and saying «welcome son», and a photograph of your mother hanging on your wall. The existence of artworks that are truly alive, a physical and intellectual fact that did not exist before, calls for a reconfiguration of tropes, an adjustment on our part concerning our use of figures of speech that ascribe lifelike qualities to images and inert objects. Now that we do have real living artworks, we can no longer look at an image or object and say that it is alive. New realities do change perception and language.

T.H.: Let’s not talk about Roland Barthes now. But what about the power of images in concrete politics, for example the omnipresent case when an enraged crowd of people is burning the image of a dictator on the streets.

E.K.: It’s a trope. If one confuses a trope with the thing it is a problem. I cannot imagine that anybody who is engaged in serious intellectual analysis and discussion fails to recognize a trope. «Alive» is not the best word to describe what actually happens with an image in that case. Images can be powerful but desire is not an image. A crowd burning the image of a dictator on the streets expresses the desire to overcome biological reality (in other words, overthrow or kill the dictator) through the employment of a trope.

T.H.: I would like to address the last question on the relation between art and science, or aesthetics and epistemology. Let me thereby come back once again to the comparison between Leonardo and Eduardo. When we think about Leonardo’s epistemological studies, his drawings of anatomy, his studies for military purpose or his sketches of birds’ flight, there is always an attempt to discover an already existing being that is already in the world. Let’s simply call that nature. It’s a rather Aristotelian way of a description, imitation and maybe also perfection of nature, the legibility of world, in a way Hans Blumenberg described it in his essay on the imitation of nature and the idea of the creative being. [9] If I understood you right, this is not exactly your point, because in your work there is a very strong dimension of communication, which belongs to the new possibilities of a postmimetic world making.

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