Luke Niebler

Picture/Show.

Luke Niebler

Q: Where is my pictures?

 

A: This is a cogent and important question. While we can look at this from the point of view of temporality or meaning, neither approach will bring us any closer to a conculsion.

 

I.               A Plague of Images

Over time, the image has radically transformed with technological innovation. From the earliest cave paintings through the Middle Ages, the image took a particularly privileged position due to its rarity and ineffable presence. One had to be physically present in order to see the image, thus endowing visual texts with economic and spiritual value that has been lost due to the availability of infinite reproduction that arose during the Gutenberg and Digital revolutions. We need only look to the Judeo-Islamic injunction against graven images to see how closely the concept of divinity was tied to visual representation.

 

As images bred and reproduced like a plague of locusts, they lost their aura of power. We need only turn on the nightly “news” to see how little images of indescribable violence or beauty impact us. We have become infinitely distanced from what Slavoj Zizek terms the “abject Real” by the intervention of these symbolic interpretations of Reality. While the abject Real cannot be fully reconciled in symbolic representation, we can seek to minimize the distance.

 

Therefore, stop looking for your pictures—they were never yours to begin with. Instead, abandon society in order to escape the corruption of images, making your own simple representations of reality with twigs, charcoal, and animal blood.

 

II.             Where Does My Pictures Mean?

 

The image serves to decenter our traditional understanding of meaning, offering a variety of (re)interpretations rather than the false consciousness of a simple signifier/signified relationship of representation to meaning. Indeed, the popular phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words,” while incredibly phallogocentric, shows that we can assign multiple meanings to the same image. Indeed, looking at an image you have seen before may evoke a totally new relationship. Perhaps you found existential hope in the work of Hieronymus Bosch during undergrad, while now you only see despair.

 

Use this realization to understand that all forms of representation contain numerous gaps, slippages, and breaks of meaning! Everything you say can be terribly misconstrued and will never approach the “essence” of meaning you intend to give it!

 

Therefore, eschew all forms of accepted meaning. Insist on communicating with your coworkers and loved ones only through imaginary letters you’ve chewed out of chocolate bars. At least you’ll be able to eat some chocolate.

(Courtesy of Yahoo!Answers)