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Framing By Image / essay part 1

Image is a mirror. Since the dawn of civilization, it is by image that we have made sense of the world. It also how we have too often failed to see the world. Today, this relationship between representation and reality, this mirror is made manifest through pictorial clouds. What we see is at once a myriad of world views and a virtual screen that separates us from the physical world—the wall of the modern citadel.

An essay on the new nature of image by Erik Adigard, M-A-D

An image begins and ends with a frame, departing it only to be re-framed, carrying with it a trail of references-—both personal and historic. Our perceptions isolate and extract scenes from the world and the mind and combine them into representations, which can be fragmented into sub-perceptions that generate entirely new frames.

The comet’s tail of accelerating technology pulls us with ever greater force into a black hole of exploding image capture, distribution, and consumption… which we can see now will proliferate endlessly.

/ Our yearning to accumulate and organize visual symbols has a long history traceable from the earliest images found in caves, to ancient Rome and now to social media. A taxonomy of imagery involves structuring pictorial clusters, which serve to annotate the evolution of knowledge—and the nature, ecology and economy to which they contribute. Doing that is one thing. Not being able to stop ourselves from doing
it is something else entirely. The journey of the image has penetrated interstellar perceptions, and nothing
we see will ever be the same.

/ Life today is a flow of pictorial annotations. Entangled in our self-representations we have joined Narcissus by the side of a pool that has now expanded its reflection to include the new infinity of the digital dimension.

/ The modern image is not just mechanical and set; it is also spontaneous, viral, and fluid. Through this recent process of accumulation, images are put into unimaginable combination with other images to which they may or may not bear any resemblance. Some encounters will compound the sources while other will force them into a distillation. The results of these encounters and reactions alter the very meaning of the images that set the process into motion. Suddenly, images become beatific and take on a unique and soul-like aura. How we begin to speak of images in a way that allows both their individual and collective origins to be more precisely perceived and articulated is the point of this book.

Framing By Image—Full Essay PDF

Erik Adigard, M-A-D / 2016