Visual ‘Bildung’ between Iconoclasm and Idolatry

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Abstract

The point of departure for this article is ‘the visual turn’, the proclaimed need for specific competencies, and furthermore the lack of clarity in the concepts and the lack of research that accompany the use of images. Terms like ‘visual literacy’ and “visual competence’ are compared with a concept of visual ‘Bildung’. ‘Bildung’ is presented as a concept that clearly goes beyond qualifications and a dominant market-oriented comprehension of competence. In its origin, ‘Bildung’ has obvious references to ‘image’, and it may also offer interesting new perspectives in the battle between words and images that has taken place throughout history and is a background to today’s situation. ‘Bildung’ opens up an interesting path between iconoclasm and idolatry. The article proclaims an urgent need for a visual and reflective ‘Bildung’, because images are closely related to the world in which we live today.

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