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Image Critique and the Fall of the Berlin Wall
Intellect Books, 2008, ISBN 9781841501901
[Available in Kindle]
‘Required reading for all those in visual culture’ – Nicholas Mirzoeff, New York University
Taking the fall of the Berlin Wall as a key marker in recent history – a period in which increasingly we find ourselves watching ‘instant history’ unfold live on air – the book presents a new critical concept of image critique: a double procedure of both a critique of images and the use of images as a means to engage with our contemporary mediated culture for new critical purposes. The book, then, is not so much about the fall of the Berlin Wall in itself, but rather about the recent and lively theoretical debates about visual culture. How do you attend critically to visual culture and how do we appropriate visual culture for critical purposes?
Thus, whilst much has been written about Berlin and the Berlin Wall (mostly in the context of WWII or German reunification), the book focuses specifically on the media angle of the event, to use it as a case study to think more broadly about the development of politics and political rhetoric vis-a-vis media and visual culture. The book can also raise questions about how we might approach an analysis of other moments of what can be termed Instant History – events captured on film that range from the assassination of John F. Kennedy to the Nelson Mandela’s ‘Long Walk to Freedom’, from the Landing on the Moon to the Beijing Olympics, or from the Gulf War to September 11 and so forth. Whilst all of these events differ greatly from one another, and need their own differing treatments of analysis, we can understand them all as part of an ever more mediated culture, frequently based upon the dissemination and consumption of images.
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