The Digital Image
The Priority Program (SPP) “The Digital Image” (since the end of 2019 under the joint direction of Hubertus Kohle in Munich and Hubert Locher in Marburg), which brings together exemplary projects from a multi-perspective view, addresses the central role played by the image in the complex process of digitizing knowledge in theory and practice. It involves a critical thematization and reflection of this dimension as a profound epistemological upheaval. As we understand it, this can only take place in a decidedly transdisciplinary exchange and with the special involvement of the information sciences: Projects were included in the SPP which, firstly, reflect the role of the image in the digitization process in order to contribute to a theory of the digital image as it is used in art, science and culture. Secondly, they describe and interpret the phenomenon of the manifestations and practices of the digital turn in its visual dimension, to which, for example, the digital turn is subjected. Thirdly, they address the practice of the technologies associated with the digital image, e.g. the development of innovative methods of using the digital image as a medium of knowledge in the scientific environment. The weighting of these three aspects can be fundamentally different within individual projects. The idea is to provide a fruitful interconnection between them under the umbrella of the SPP. One focus of the SPP is therefore to be on the field of practice, in this case the investigation and reflection of technological instruments and social infrastructures.
The transdisciplinary debate will occupy a special place in the events, which will be organized both in the form of cooperative workshops at the two locations in Munich and Marburg, and in the virtual research space provided by joint discussion and publication platforms. These measures can be implemented as a conceptual and development-oriented and/or media-reflexive position. This should establish the transdisciplinary debate as central to the SPP and facilitate the transfer of knowledge. Not included here are projects which aim only at the “digitization” of an inventory or which exclusively offer new tools for the processing of this inventory. In principle, the projects of the SPP should contribute to a better understanding of the role of the digital image in the knowledge society and thus reflect the pictorial character of knowledge in digital space. The specific format of the Priority Program was chosen because of the novelty of the approach with its focus on the pictorial, avoiding concentration on a single or small number of locations within research groups or Collaborative Research Centers. This single Priority Program enables the competences in this field distributed throughout Germany to be brought together. The concept of cooperation at two active, relevant and proven locations presented here guarantees the competent combination of the various aspects and offers the necessary openness in a developing environment subject to extreme dynamic change.