back to:






Visual Art and Embodiment in a World of Subjectivity

©Beth Carruthers 2003

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 bibliography    

If an artwork is a presence, a subject, what of the mass-produced images ubiquitous in our culture? Images and fragments of artworks are re-worked in the context of marketing and political persuasion. Images, aside from our own intentions when using them, are not innocent of an inherent presence and intention. If they were, they could not be as effective as they are - and as a marketing tool, an image would be no more valuable than a line of text. In reality, images, being more than signs, texts or objects, do not always affect us as we would choose or predict.

According to Ron Burnett, “Images… are an integral component of everything which we define as sensual, which is not to say that images are equivalent to our senses. Rather, "to see an image" does not have to mean that the "it" is outside of or beyond vision. No sooner seen than a part of the seer. And strangely, yet also wondrously, images form as well as deform in a circular fashion within and outside of bodies, marking us in a variety of ways which are sometimes predictable and often times, not.” [R. Burnett, Inside the Virtual Human]

The ways we are “marked by images” are unpredictable, in the same way that we cannot predict how we are marked by any interchange. That we use images and fragments of artworks in this way admits to the embodied potency of the visual, of images – and of art.