[Writer and theorist, b. 1932, Paris, lives in La Rochelle, France.]
Images contaminate us like viruses.
... the blinding Hiroshima flash... literally photographed the shadow cast by beings and things, so that every surface immediately became war’s recording surface, its film.
From the original watchtower through the anchored balloon to the reconnaissance aircraft and remote sensing-satellites, one and the same function has been indefinitely repeated, the eye’s function being the function of a weapon.
While the human gaze becomes more and more fixed, losing some of its natural speed and sensitivity, photographic shots, on the contrary, become even faster.
[When everything becomes visible,] we’ll dream of being blind. This is the engine of art.
To regain our liberty (and our distance), we must slow the images down.
Digital messages and images matter less than their instantaneous delivery; the “shock effect” always wins out over the consideration of the informational content.
In industrialized warfare, where the representation of events outstripped the presentation of facts, the image was starting to gain sway over the object, time over space. Soon a conflict of strategic and political interpretation would ensue, with radio and then radar completing the picture.