The Material Photographies Research Group meets regularly online to explore critical thinking/making around the photograph in its multiple forms and dynamic manifestations—to welcome new ways of thinking and celebrate the increasingly complex photosphere we inhabit.

24 May 2023 at 12.30 pm – 1.30 pm (GMT).

We will be reading/watching the following (texts attached):

Jacques Rancière’s essay “Is History a Form of Fiction?” from the book The Politics of Aesthetics.

and watching,

Chris Marker’s science fiction photo-roman “La Jetée”, see here:


following last session’s reading of Walter Benjamin’s On Language as Such and on the Language of Man, we will read the artist Hito Steyrel’s 2006 response, “The Language of Things”.

Chris Marker (29 July 1921 – 29 July 2012) was a renowned French New Wave filmmaker, writer, and multimedia artist. Known for his innovative approach to documentary filmmaking, he combined photography, personal narratives, and poetic commentary in his works that explored themes of memory, time, and political upheaval. Marker’s most acclaimed and influential film is “La Jetée” (1962), which broke boundaries with its experimental storytelling.

Jacques Rancière (born 10 June 1940) is a French philosopher and intellectual, celebrated for his groundbreaking contributions to political theory, aesthetics, and the philosophy of history. Educated at the École Normale Supérieure, Rancière’s work encompasses an extensive analysis of power dynamics, democracy, and the role of aesthetics in shaping society. His seminal texts, such as “The Ignorant Schoolmaster” and “The Nights of Labor,” challenge conventional pedagogical and political paradigms, fostering a reimagining of social structures. A prolific writer and influential thinker, Rancière continues to inspire academic discourse and ignite conversations on contemporary political and aesthetic issues.

Hito Steyerl (born 1 January 1966) is a renowned contemporary German filmmaker, artist, and writer, whose work explores the intersections of politics, digital culture, and contemporary art. With a unique blend of documentary filmmaking, experimental video art, and critical theory, Steyerl examines pressing societal issues, such as the impact of technology on society, surveillance, and the dynamics of power. Holding a PhD in Philosophy, she is also a prominent thinker and educator, and a professor at the Berlin University of the Arts. Steyerl’s work has been exhibited globally.

We hope you enjoy the readings/watching and look forward to seeing you in May.

Let us know if you need the texts.

Allyn, Helen, Sam, Simon, Stephanie.