Chronicle

Regarding the Pain of Others
November 16, 2017

On November, 16, Małgorzata Radkiewicz has a lecture on "When We Take a Look at Other Persons’ Suffering." Modern World of Film and Photography."

The title of the lecture is related to the 2003 essay by Susan Sontag where she analyzes selected images and media stories to show how viewers, the common people, shape their vision of the world based on the media images. The American intellectual in the first place reflects on how viewers respond to dramatism and sufferings of others. She poses the question on where the room for vulnerability and compassion to others is found in such perception.

The lecture will use samples of selected images and film fragments to illustrate different problems of the present world: from artistic visions to actual documents. The presented overviews will show the possible perceptions of reality, as well as of the painful and often controversial topics. It is important to note that the power of impact of images or film fragments does not necessarily have to be related to displaying violence or atrocities. Instead, a simple but very emotional story is often more convincing.

In the world dominated by mass media and visual culture, it is worth remembering that the ability to “look at somebody else’s suffering” requires two things from us as viewers. Firstly, special attention is needed to be able to notice the images. Secondly, one needs to be able to interpret things in order to understand their meaning and the response thereto.

Photo from the multimedia installation "Unity" by the Hypnotica  group of visual performance in the Azerbaijani pavilion at the Modern Arts Biennale 2017 in Venice. Author – Malgorzata Radkiewicz.

Małgorzata Radkiewicz – professor at Jagellonian University. She deals with issues of cultural identity in contemporary cinema and visual art. She studies creative work of women in film, photography, and art. The publications include, among others, The Female Gaze. Film Theory and Practices of Women Directors and Actresses ("Władczynie spojrzenia". Teoria filmu a praktyka reżyserek i artystek) (2010) and The Faces of Queer Films (Oblicza kina queer) (2014) . She edited five volumes of the Gender series. She is coordinator in the research project financed by the Polish National Science Centre: Women Pioneers in Film and Photography in Galicia in 1896-1945 (NCN: Pionierki kina i fotografii w Galicji 1896-1945). She was a scholarship holder of the Ministry for Culture and Cultural Heritage, and results of research was published in a book : “Modern Women on Cinema” in which she analysis selected film texts and reviews written by women in Poland 1918-1945.

The open lecture is part of a public program to accompany the exhibition "(un)named".