Images, Texts, Places

Workshop as part of the "Politics of the Image" research project

Sometimes classical, sometimes cryptic or ironic, Alfred Döblin allowed himself to be presented photographically in very different ways. He then immediately queried these staged scenes of his authorship. The Marbach collection of Döblin's photographs is a wonderful resource for exploring this famous writer's complex relationship with his own image, said head of the MWW’s "Politics of the Image research project" Ellen Strittmatter in a lecture on "The Politics of the Image and Poetics" which she gave at the workshop "Images, Texts, Places".


Close intertwining of text and image: the autobiographical book "Alfred Döblin. Im Buch – Zu Haus – Auf der Straße" was published in 1928 marking the writer's 50th birthday. © DLA

As part of the "Politics of the Image: Authors’ portraits and iconic authorisation" research project, current collaborative research was discussed in a dialogue with guest speakers from Freiburg and Mainz at a two-day workshop which took place from 21st to 22nd September 2015 at Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg. The research was subject to expert assessment by the external advisory group. The central question was: how significant are the places of publication of authors' portraits from the 16th to the 20th centuries in terms of functionality and reception?

The lectures and discussions addressed a wide range of themes and periods such as early branding processes in portraits of Luther, portraits of Goethe in the homage paintings collection from the 1825 Weimar anniversary, and the Döblin photograph collection mentioned earlier.

At the same time, the workshop took inspiration from other current portrait research projects. A summary of these focussed workshop discussions is available here (in German).