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The Challenge of Cave Art. On the Future of Visual Culture


Does it make sense to consider cave art—the art of an ancient past—a challenge for vi- sual culture as an academic discipline and as a research field? It might seem an oxymoron, or rather a boutade, a paradox. Yet there are many reasons to believe that this dive into the past in the age of new media, of digital literacy, can show us a way to the future of our discipline and that it can give us new energy for research. It certainly helps us to answer some fundamental questions that contemporary visual culture has faced in recent years—mostly in connection with its stepmother, traditional art history—if only because cave art studies inevitably shifts the research focus from the issue of Art to the issue of Image.