‘Guldgubbars’ changing ontology
Scandinavian Late Iron Age gold foil figures through the lens of intra-action
in Images in the making
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This chapter discusses minuscule gold foil figures from the Scandinavian Late Iron Age and demonstrates how the figures are continuously in the making, rather than being still representations of gods. In the past, the figures’ affectual qualities, such as their small size, their shininess and their human-like and foldable character, invited play and experimentation, stressing the figures’ ongoing-ness. Equally, their capacities to be simultaneously image, object and component allowed them to be reconfigured into new arrangements, stressing their fractal, emerging and open-ended character. By contrast, in the present, they become ‘victims’ of representationalist thought, through the framing and boundary making practices set up by for instance museums, keeping the figures in complete motionlessness. Instead, it is only through the help of different apparatuses (digital photography, copying etc.), that they become generative and are in the making in the present, stressing that we today to a greater extent deal with gold foil figures’ hauntology, rather than their ontology.

Images in the making

Art, process, archaeology

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