Northampton Electronic Collection of Theses and Research

Taxidermy and the photograph

Murphy, A. C. (2016) Taxidermy and the photograph. Paper presented to: The New and the Novel in the 19th Century, Lincoln, Nebraska, United States, 14-16 April 2016. (Unpublished)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Abstract: The Victorians made significant developments with regards to photographic processes, museum collections and (meta)psychology. Through psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud’s metapsychology, this project explores dialectical connections found between the photograph and the museum collection. Victorian hunter-collectors returning from afar with exotic game for natural history displays bred awe and spectacle in the museum visitor. The specimen reveals a subtle defiance against decay and death, through the conservationist’s craft of preservation. Philosophers, Roland Barthes and Walter Benjamin believed that the photograph captured the presence of the thing it represents: Barthes believed in the photograph’s power to authenticate the existence of something and Benjamin believed in the photograph’s dialectical ability, that it could record something inherent in the subject, not observable to the naked eye. This research project considers the possibility that as a consequence of Victorian cultural and scientific endeavors, both the taxidermy specimen and the photograph possess a simultaneous ability to both represent and defy the death-drive.
Subjects: T Technology > TR Photography
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) > N61 Theory. Philosophy. Aesthetics of the visual arts
Creators: Murphy, Alexandra C
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: Faculties > Faculty of Arts, Science & Technology > Fine Art
Date: 15 April 2016
Date Type: Publication
Event Title: The New and the Novel in the 19th Century
Event Dates: 14-16 April 2016
Event Location: Lincoln, Nebraska, United States
Event Type: Conference
Language: English
Status: Unpublished
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