Publication 4348

Malafouris L. (2007) Before and beyond representation: Towards an enactive conception of the Palaeolithic image. In: Renfrew C. & Morley I. (eds.) Image and Imagination: A global history of figurative representation. The McDonald Institute, Cambridge: 287–300. Fulltext at
For most archaeologists the meaning of prehistoric art appears to be grounded upon, if not synonymous with, the notion of representation and symbolism. This paper explores the possibility that the depictions we see already 30,000 years before present, for instance, at the caves of Chauvet and Lascaux, before and beyond representing the world, they first bring forth a new process of acting within this world and at the same time of thinking about it. It is argued that the unique ability of those early depictions to disrupt or question the ways the world is experienced under normal conditions makes possible for the visual apparatus to interrogate itself and thus acquire a sense of perceptual awareness not previously available.


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