The article addresses the duplicity in our approach to the image that stems from an ambiguity towards the realm of the visual itself. Having inherited Plato's distinction between forms and shadows we remain locked in an unhelpful tension between truth and falsity, and forget that truth for Plato remains visual in nature. A form, the Greek word for which is eidos, refers to both essence and idea, but is also the way something looks, or how it gives itself to be seen. However, the image has been stripped of its share of brilliance and has been relegated to the shadows. The aim of the article is to move beyond the dualism and duplicity that still dominates our approach to images, arguing there is a need to think of the image as a three-fold problem that treats the image positively, rather than something merely derived, impoverished, or coming after-the-fact. That is, to conceive of the image in a tripartite schema that accentuates the radical quality of the image in relation to the active formation of the world(s) we know. Using the work of Nancy, Castoriadis, Althusser, Rancière, and Mitchell, the argument is developed around the following three realms: the image as creative ground; the role the image plays in the specular interpellation of subjects into such worlds; and the communicative capacity images have to cross social, cultural, institutional and media borders thereby contributing to increasingly complex organizations and communities of sense. The activity of the image is thus to effect worlds: to bring them into being; to regulate and maintain them; and to extend and distribute them. These three moments in the activity of the image are referred to as the imagination, the imaginary, and imagery. One further key element is to show these three areas are perpetual sites of dissensus or conflict over the form of the created world.


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pp. 1112-1114
Launched on MUSE
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