[Open Access] Emmanuel Alloa & Cristian Ciocan, Phenomenologies of the Image: Editors’ Introduction


Images have been a remarkably constant preoccupation for the phenomenological tradition. Beginning with Husserl’s early investigation of image‑consciousness, with its threefold conceptual articulation of material Bildding, appearing Bildobjekt, and referential Bildsujet (Hua XXIII), phenomenological accounts of the image can be found in the classic works of Martin Heidegger, Jean‑Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau‑Ponty, and Eugen Fink, all the way to current phenomenologically inspired approaches such as those of Jean‑Luc Marion or Georges Didi‑Huberman. The plural in “phenomenologies of the image” stresses the diversity of the aspects that these analyses have addressed: the relationship between image and perception, image and imagination, image and embodiment; the issue of the world‑image; and the question of the dialectics between the visible and the invisible. Besides such basic phenomenological implications, the image has also been considered from an aesthetic point of view. In its application to visual arts—especially to painting, to photography, or to the filmic image—phenomenology has made decisive contributions to visual studies and to the “iconic turn.” The contemporary metamorphoses of imagineering technologies and of its correlated visualities, which profoundly modify the very experience we have of images, nevertheless ask for a renewed phenomenological reflection on this matter. What does it mean for the image to be considered as an act rather than as a thing? What is implied if we think of images in terms of correlations between an appearance and a viewing subject? Is the space of images a space of freedom or of capture? Can phenomenological resources help us to understand what it means to be absorbed, provoked, or injured by images? What does it mean for an image to be moving, both in temporal and in affective terms? What is the difference between “thematic” images that are contemplated for their own sake and “operative” images that serve other purposes? The questions addressed in the papers of this issue, and the manifold angles of interrogation, follow the different stages of the phenomenological tradition: Husserl and his influence; Heidegger’s turn; developments in French phenomenology; and contemporary openings.

Table of Contents: Studia Phaenomenologica, Volume 23/ 2023: Phenomenologies of the Image