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Basis voor Actuele Kunst - BAK

Public Institution
On Post-Secularism: Iconoclasm, 01.02.2009
  On Post-Secularism: Iconoclasm
01.02.2009, 15.00 uur/hrs

On Sunday 1 February BAK, basis voor actuele kunst presents the second session of the discourse program On Post-Secularism, entitled Iconoclasm with contributions by Jan Assmann, Arnoud Holleman, and Silvia Naef, and screening of Iconoclastic Delights by Boris Groys.

In the context of western culture's obsession with the media, our culture of "media religion" is marked by a constant visual and conceptual battle between cultural divisions and identities, fought on the diverse platforms of contemporary media. This raises questions of (self)censorship and the limits of freedom, but also perhaps more fundamental questions regarding the contradictions of iconoclasm. As philosopher and writer Boris Groys has noted, even while various groups and individuals are attacking each other's images, their categorical rejection (i.e. prohibition on graven images) has become almost nonexistent. Here iconoclasm can be seen as a redefining and re-imagining of images, rather than as mere iconophobic vandalism. Art historical studies such as Joseph Leo Koerner's The Reformation of the Image (2004) analyze the transformation of images during the Reformation, but what do today's "image wars" do to-and with-the image? How can we make sense of the re-imagining of images in our current culture of iconoclasm-for-the-media? This session explores various contemporary forms of iconoclasm in its religious and its secular versions, and their problematic status in the media spectacle.

Boris Groys, Iconoclastic Delights, 2002, DVD, 20 min.
A philosophical film essay on iconoclasm, the moving image, and embodiment consisting of found footage and conceived for the exhibition Iconoclash. Beyond the Image Wars in Science, Religion and Art, ZKM, Karlsruhe, 2002.

The discourse program On Post-Secularism examines the popular assumption of the revival of religious faith, issues of iconoclasm, and the changing character of secularism in a series of lectures, presentations, and research meetings investigating different perspectives on the manifestation of religion in the public sphere. On Post-Secularism is co-organized with the Centre for the Humanities, Utrecht University (

Venue and time: Instituto Cervantes, Domplein 3, Utrecht, 15.00 hrs
Entrance fee €2
BOOKS@BAK members free
Language: English
Participants are invited to join us for drinks and snacks following the session.
Reservations recommended, please contact: t. +31 30 2316125 or e:

For more information, please visit

Upcoming sessions:
Revolution & Critique, 15.02.2009
Mark Boulos, Marc De Kesel, Natascha Sadr Haghighian

Alternatives to Monotheism, 01.03.2009
Lars Bang Larsen, Wouter Hanegraaff, and screening of works by Kenneth Anger and Joachim Koester

The exhibition The Art of Iconoclasm, curated by art historian and writer Sven Lütticken, which is also part of the project The Return of Religion and Other Myths, is on view until 1 March 2009 at BAK, Lange Nieuwstraat 4, and CM Studio, Centraal Museum, Agnietenstraat 2, Utrecht.
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