The Visual Potential of History. Images of the Past in Film, Television and Computer Game

  • Ralf Adelmann


In a famous quote Marx said: “Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.” Today one would like to add, that film, television and computer games alter the historic event through modern visualizations of the past. Not only the historic facts and personages appear more than once, but also the representation of history multiplies itself in visual reconstructions, re-enactments and simulations in the media. What happens to history and its epistemology when it becomes an audiovisual experience? What are the different visual modes of knowledge production in historiography? Which uses of history become part of popular media culture? These questions are the starting point for an analysis of current examples of 'histotainment' and theoretical considerations about popular historiography.