19 Uhr
Salon des ehem. Palais Dürckheim, Cranachstraße 47, Weimar

Having Twins. Biological Reproduction, Painting, and Early Film Vortrag von Antonia Lant

This talk discusses the early twentieth century filmmaking of Parisian surgeon Dr. Eugène Doyen, and that of micro-biologist Jean Comandon in France, as well as contemporary painting by Mary Cassatt, and of other non-filmic processes of reproduction (such as etching) that enquire into heredity. In around 1909, scientists started to be able to register cell splitting with the motion picture camera. Citosis had been observed with the microscope since earlier in the nineteenth century, but now these dramatic micro instances of growth could be shared as moving image events, and could soon help to sustain the new genre of popular science cinema. Drawing on these historical examples, I argue for a clear emphasis around twinning in this period, a leaning that invites us to take the joined condition as primary; the double as the basic state. It would then be the splitting of the double--the departure of the conjoined twin, the separation of the plate from the paper in etching, the dividing of the cell into two--that generated the singular. Following Derrida’s definition of language, we would say, “in the beginning was the repetition.” My talk contributes this perhaps surprising orientation to the IKKM’s focus this year on operations of reproduction, duplication, replication, and repetition. My talk also forms part of a broader inquiry into how the artistic and scientific arenas shared an engagement with reproduction and duplication in the early Twentieth Century, and argues for film’s affinity for linking these two realms.