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Iconoclasm, Then and Now. A discussion of Aaron Tugendhaft's The Idols of ISIS: From Assyria to the Internet
In 2015, the Islamic State released a video of men smashing the sculpture of a king in Iraq’s Mosul Museum. Twenty-five hundered years earlier, Sargon II's craftsmen sculpted a relief of a similar event. What underlies the persistent drive to destroy images? And why do we regularly make other images showing their destruction? Art historians Christiane Gruber and Ömür Harmanşah will take up these questions in conversation with Aaron Tugendhaft, author of the recent book The Idols of ISIS: From Assyria to the Internet.

The Idols of ISIS is a richly layered reflection on the politics of iconoclasm. The book draws connections across millennia in order to consider the challenges we face in constituting pluralistic political life and how we might better succeed at living with the images that are necessary for such life to flourish. With discussions ranging from Assyrian palace reliefs and first-person shooter video games to Iraqi modernism, medieval Islamic philosophy, and how social media replaces prophecy with an algorithm, Aaron Tugendhaft’s bold new book challenges us to ask whether there can be politics without idolatry.

This event will be held in English.

Nov 23, 2020 06:30 PM in Istanbul

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