Of art it is argued have no effect in the realm of

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of art, it is argued, have no effect in the realm of deeds. A critical analysis of the image as a social object is needed more urgently than a program that legiti- mates its "culture." We need to be able to read images emblematically and symptomatically, in terms of the most fundamental questions of social life. This means that critical theories are needed, theories that are them- selves visual, that show rather than argue. Such conceptual constella- tions convince by their power to illuminate the world, bringing to consciousness what was before only dimly perceived, so that it becomes available for critical reflection. I do OCTOBER not understand the description of "anthropological" models and "socio- historical" models as antithetical poles of this theoretical project. Any interpretation worth its salt demands both. It needs to provide a socio- historical and biographical story of origins that estranges the object from us and shows us that its truth is not immediately accessible (the object's prehistory), and a story of deferred action (its afterhistory) that comes to terms with the potency of the object within our own horizon of concerns. While the Internet is the topic and the medium for new courses in digital culture, it is striking to anyone who has visited the Internet how visu- ally impoverished a home-page can be. Cyberdigits reproduce the moving image haltingly, and the static image unimpressively. The possibility of computer screens replacing television screens may mean a great deal to stockholders of telephone companies, but it will not shake the world of the visual image. Aesthetic experience (sensory experience) is not reducible to information. Is it old-fashioned to say so? Perhaps the era of images that are more than information is already behind us. Perhaps discus- sions about visual culture as a field have come too late.
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