KUN2235 – Archaeology of the Moving Image

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

Technologies of light and shadow – from the camera obscura to cinema and beyond – represent a relatively recent but crucial development in the history of images. Screen-based projection, which was industrialized by the movies and is today experimented with in the gallery space, has its background in 17th-century developments in optical media, whilst the idea of capturing shadows, although as old as the history of picture-making itself, one could argue, was technically implemented by inventions in photography (“writing with light”) in the early 19th Century.

This course investigates the media history of light and shadow, situating itself within the emerging field of inquiry called “media archaeology,” which looks at the history of images and technologies, not in the sense of teleological development, but in terms of repetitions and ruptures. The course studies specific technological and conceptual turning points – from the magic lantern to chronophotography, for instance – so as to understand the recurrent forces, motives and forms of experience that have animated images for the past 500 years. It explores images of all kinds – artistic, scientific, religious, and popular. It investigates images in relation to the body and its sensations and movements as well as the mind and its concepts and imaginations, in addition to the systems of power within which these have been variously shaped.

The course requires willingness to engage in interdisciplinary study across art history, media studies and philosophy. Furthermore, the course requires students to critically reflect on their own relationship to the history of visual media – relationships that may be productive, poetic and arbitrary as much as they are disciplined, rationalised and controlled.

Learning outcome

After the completion of the course you should be able to:

  • Analyse, contextualise, historicize and theorize past and current developments in visual media
  • Evaluate and articulate key historical, anthropological and philosophical approaches to the study of images and technologies
  • Prepare and deliver clearly argued and informed work
  • Locate, retrieve and present relevant information for a specific project


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Recommended previous knowledge

It is recommended that you have passed 60 studiepoeng (equal to ECTS) in Art History, Aestethics and/or Media studies before taking this course

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with KUN4235 – Archaelogy of the Moving Image


Coronavirus: there may be changes in teaching, compulsory assignments and examination. You will be notified of all changes.

Classes consist of combined lectures and seminars (one to two sessions per week). The classes will be held at Blindern Campus.

We expect you to meet prepared for classes and to actively participate in discussions and to give a presentation on assigned topics/texts.

In order to qualify to the final exam, you must complete these compulsory assignments:

  • Compulsory attendance at class. You have to attend class, at least 7 out of 9 classes.
  • Oral presentation

This is how you apply for a valid absence from compulsory activities/compulsory attendance. Attendance will be taken at the beginning of every class.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


The examination is a semester essay (independent research project on archaeology of visual media).

The essay must consist of 8-10 pages (each page à 2300 characters without spaces, not including illustrations, notes and reference).

The assignment will be handed in using Inspera. You must familiarize yourself with the login and submission procedures in timely manner before the exam. Read more about Inspera below.

When writing a semester essay you are entitled to individual guidance by you teacher. To be eligible for this guidance you must submit a draft of your paper that meets certain requirements. More detailed information about guidance and how to submit your draft will be given by the teacher during class or in Canvas.

Grading guidelines

Examination support material

Submission in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read more about how to submit in Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

The Department's assessments of courses are available at our web-pages, but generally only in Norwegian

Did you find what you were looking for?

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language