This book uncovers an underlying dispute over the role images play in contemporary society and, consequently, over their values and purposes. Two decades after the concepts of the pictorial and the iconic turn changed our vernacular involvement with regard to images, it has become clear that it was not only a newly discovered social, political or sexual construction of the visual field that brought turbulence into disciplinary knowledge, but that images have their own “pictorial logic” with powers exceeding those that are purely iconic or visually discernible. Instead of underscoring previously defined concepts of the picture, the contributors to this book view visual studies and Bildwissenschaft “merely” as a place for the theory of images, making a case for the hotly-debated topic of their powers and weaknesses on the one hand, and of their respective theories on the other. Therefore, as the title indicates, this book theorizes images, but it does not present a theory of images, because visual studies cannot lead to a unified theory of images unless a unified ontology of images can be agreed upon first. Although that would be a different task altogether, all the contributions in this book (in different ways and at different paces), by theorizing images in their aesthetic, historical, media and technological guises, pave the way for the future of visual culture and for the image science that will make this future more comprehensible.
Žarko Paić is Associate Professor at the University of Zagreb, where he teaches courses in Aesthetics, Social Sciences, Fashion and Media Theory. He holds a PhD in Sociology from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb. He is chief editor of TVRĐA – Journal for Theory, Culture and Visual Arts, and has authored more than fifteen books in philosophy, aesthetics, political sciences, art theory, and fashion theory.
Krešimir Purgar is the founder and Head of the Center for Visual Studies in Zagreb. He holds a PhD in Kunstwissenschaft and is Assistant Professor of Visual Studies, Art History and Semiotics at the University of Zagreb. He authored three books, and edited three collections of essays. His forth-coming publications include the edited collection W.J.T. Mitchell’s Image Theory: Living Pictures (2016).
“Overall, Theorizing Images is, in many places, an impressive synthesis of the highly interdisciplinary landscape of visual studies. Scholars needing a foundation in visual culture would benefit from this text, as would those needing to give voice to the often unnamed or poorly explored relationships among objects, time, language, and meaning-making.”
T.J. Thomson, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly (2018)
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