Volume 49, Issue 1, Spring 2019
Frames, World-Pictures and Representations
Heidegger’s Critique of the Picture
This essay analyzes key aspects of Heidegger’s critique of the picture (Bild) based on an objection to world-pictures as well as a negative understanding of two other related concepts: Gestell and Vorstellen (representation). The restrictive frames of world-pictures, Heidegger claims, must be opposed by instances of thinking and language use associated with poiesis. For him, the revelation of the world in poiesis results in a subject-less experience of things and words, akin to the experience of art and literature, and presumably outside the representational hold of pictures. I argue against Heidegger’s repudiation of the picture by underscoring the inescapability of Vorstellen. Heidegger’s world may be seen as a world-picture as well as a particular system of representation that we associate with affective uses of language, i.e., a literary system similar to the one discussed by Wolgang Iser.