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Good Looking: Essays on the Virtue of Images

Stafford, Barbara Maria

Verlag: The MIT Press, 1998
ISBN 10: 0262692104 / ISBN 13: 9780262692106
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Titel: Good Looking: Essays on the Virtue of Images

Verlag: The MIT Press

Erscheinungsdatum: 1998

Einband: Soft cover

Zustand: New


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Inhaltsangabe: Building on the arguments of her previous books, Body Criticism (MIT Press, 1991) and Artful Science (MIT Press, 1994), Good Looking challenges the reflexive identification of images with vice. Today rampant criticism, both inside and outside the academy, condemns the immoralities of aesthetic illusion, museum display, cable television, and hypermedia. Believing with the American pragmatists that it is harder to do than to denounce, Barbara Stafford urges imagists to abandon Foucault's bankrupt paradigm of verbal combat. Instead of more "improving" theoretical discourse, she calls for developing a positive visual praxis on the interpretive ruins of linguistic postmodernism.

Organized around three major themes?the explosion of optical information, the urgency of inventing an imaging interdiscipline, and the ethical dilemmas of technological transparency?these twelve essays connect a disappearing lens culture to the digital diaphanousness of the twenty-first century.

Rezension: In a world with an ever-increasing number of visual images bombarding our every moment, art historian Barbara Maria Stafford wants readers to face the future with a more practiced and educated visual vocabulary. In Good Looking, Stafford begins by positioning contemporary culture in historical context. She compares the current fin-de-siécle anxiety and excitement about changing modes of communication and transfer of information with that of the Enlightenment. She likens 18th-century wonder cabinets to virtual reality and traces the complications of seeing versus believing to a history of mistrust of visual media. The 12 essays that comprise the book focus on visual information's continued low status in culture even as its impact continually increases. In the hopes of beginning to change this, Stafford organized a symposium in 1993, "Imaging the Body: Art and Science in Modern Culture." She "wanted to find out if past modes of visualizing the invisible physical and mental processes had any current relevance." In other words, it might be wise to take a look at our inherited relationships to what we learn and understand through visuals because, thanks in part to the Internet, this medium is becoming even more pervasive. --Jennifer Cohen

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