The Image of, or in, Sublation

Cassar, Ignaz. 2010. The Image of, or in, Sublation. Philosophy of Photography, 1(2), pp. 201-215. ISSN 2040-3682 [Article]

No full text available

Abstract or Description

Following thinkers of the archive such as Derrida, Foucault and Groys, among others, one of the ethical functions of the archive is to enable differentiation: to do archival work is to unlock difference. Yet how is one to deem the archival content outside of those moments in which we deliberately engage with it? More specifically, how is one to think the spectatorial relation to images that, assigned to the sequestered space of the archive, remain most of the time without spectators? In approaching the archival mode through the philosophical lens of sublation and its Hegelian precursor of Aufhebung that performs alteration through preservation-as-cancellation, this essay sets out to articulate a phenomenology of the archived photograph as an image of, or in, sublation. Exploring the fragile dynamics at stake between the archived and its non-archived outside, emphasis is laid on the critical contradictions inherent in the logics of archivization: seeking to preserve its documents, the archive cannot do so without also provoking further differentiation.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


spectatorship; photographic document; archive; negation; sublation; Aufhebung

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



December 2010Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

15 Feb 2014 22:12

Last Modified:

15 Feb 2014 22:12

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


Edit Record Edit Record (login required)