Bildlektüren und Migrationen


  • Silke Wenk
  • Rebecca Krebs



The reading of images and migration

The article is an extract taken from the larger essay “Analyzing the Migration of People and Images: Perspectives and Methods in the Field of Visual Culture”, which was written within the context of the EU-funded interdisciplinary project “Research Integration. Changing Knowledges and Disciplinary Boundaries through Integrated Methods in the Social Sciences and Humanities” (2004-2007). The complete text discusses methods of art history (from iconology to semiology) and their productivity concerning the analysis of visual culture as a field that is structured by debates on visibility, by power and hegemony. The extract published here argues against the phantasm of a universal comprehensibility of images that re-occured through the claiming of a pictorial turn in the mid-1990s. In focusing various scenarios of migration – the photograph of the one-millionth Gastarbeiter in Germany, 1964, or the “full boat” as central metaphor of contemporary European discourses on migration –, it analyzes the pre-conditions of “correct” reading on the one hand and the functioning of a culturally determined image repertoire on the other. The complete text can be downloaded here: