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_Image Aesthetics and Terror

The use of “aesthetics” and “terror” in the same sentence is more than disturbing. What is meant by each term, and how can they be linked? From the start, let me emphasize that I do not equate the word “terror” only with the actions of “terrorists” and war with its opposition, as in “the War on Terror.”

As for the use of “aesthetics,” I use this term in a neutral sense, as in a study of the forms and principles by which the images under investigation are used, not with a reference to the word’s popular connotations of beauty or value. I am in search of what can be termed an “aesthetics of terror” much in the way that the nomenclature “fascist architecture” immediately connotes a style of building. At this stage, we may not have the clarity of distance as in the aforementioned example, but such an aesthetic of terror is, I believe, permeating our popular culture and that of the visual arts.

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Sat, January 9 2016 » the new image