Picture Theory: Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation by W.J.T. MitchellWhat precisely, W. J. T. Mitchell asks, are pictures (and theories of pictures) doing now, in the late twentieth century, when the power of the visual is said to be greater than ever before, and the pictorial turn supplants the linguistic turn in the study of culture? This book by one of Americas leading theorists of visual representation offers a rich account of the interplay between the visible and the readable across culture, from literature to visual art to the mass media.
Image and Word – W. J. T. Mitchell
Mitchell published his ' Iconology', with a sequel - an 'applied iconology' - in 'Picture theory'. His program is ambitious: in a postlinguistic, postsemiotic age, 'completely dominated by images' , , W. Mitchell, just like Gottfried Boehm , wants to herald an 'iconic turn': in the footsteps of Pierce , Nelson Goodman , Derrida Grammatology , Foucault, the Frankfurter Schule and Wittgenstein II , 12 , he wants to counter the logocentrism of the 'linguistic turn' by emphasizing the role of 'non-linguistic symbol systems' , In his introduction, the author promises to answer two questions: 'What is an image? But, soon, he confesses that he is not so much out at providing a 'new or better definition' ,9 of the image, as rather to examine the ideologies responsible for the opposition of image and word. Or, to put it with the introduction of 'Picture theory': 'to picture theory' - to analyse the ideology of the image - rather than to construct a 'picture theory' ,6. Below, we will concentrate not so much on these ideological analyses, which are often quite illuminating, as rather on the presuppositions on which they are built.
More broadly, “word and image” designates the relation of art history to and telling (Foucault ; Deleuze ; Mitchell ). .. Mitchell, W. J. T.
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But let us begin with "the object," and return to the more sweeping claims of theory later. In What Do Pictures Want? This is most routinely and literally seen in the effect of the "mise en abime," the Quaker Oats box that contains a picture of the Quaker Oats box, that contains yet another picture of a Quaker Oats box, and so on, to infinity. Technically, I gather, the term first appeared in reference to heraldry, where the division of a coat of arms into increasingly diminutive sectors containing other coats of arms traces the evolution of a genealogy. Second, the picture that contains another picture of a different kind, and thus re-frames or recontextualizes the inner picture as "nested" inside of a larger, outer picture. Third, the picture that is framed, not inside another picture, but within a discourse that reflects on it as an exemplar of "picturality" as such. This third meaning implies, of course, that any picture whatsoever a simple line-drawing of a face, a multi-stable image like the Duck-Rabbit, Velasquez's Las Meninas can become a metapicture, a picture that is used to reflect on the nature of pictures.