‘We want you to be our eyes!’

Sudeep Dasgupta, Assistant Professor in the Department of Media and Culture at the University of Amsterdam, has published an interesting article concerning ‘the compromised eye’ in the world of modern mass media culture.
He analyses ‘the symptoms and the real’ along a classical psychoanalytical understanding, which concludes that a rethinking of visual culture diminishes the emergence of ambivalence and shifts the relationship between the symptom/cause and the invisible real. The presented analytic research focuses on the visual spectacle of manmade disasters specificly as the repeated solicitation of survivors’ experiences in words, images, and amateur footage on video comprised one technique of visualizing the Real.
He argues that according to the shifts in media, visual culture, and the location of the subject a re-orientation of the visible/invisible occurs in relation to the movement emerging by the established and used networks.

…. The analysis of the form of the visual text, as the actively solicited end-result of a media network that encompasses different technologies, shifts the relationship between the symptom and the cause. The cause as the disaggregated logic of capital coded through the multiplicatory logic of media culture is neither absent, nor invisible, nor outside of the text; rather, the symptom and the Real both emerge in visual form: the symptom coded through the technological and historical mutation in the media; and the Real as displaced from a depth/surface topology to a lateral, networked dimension across the different domains of the visual text, including digital video (the viewer), the computer-screen (website), and the television screen. ….

The article is published under the title of Multiple Symptoms and the Visible Real: Culture, Media, and the Displacements of Vision in the journal invisible culture.
.. some further excerpts:

Psychoanalytic analyses of visual culture are generally structured along a topology of depth and surface: the manifest symptom and the latent cause, the visible symptomal culture and the invisible Real cause.
… Both the [mass] media’s active solicitation of “raw witness footage” and the modalities of the scopophilic drive to view death and destruction function as the “mechanisms of symptom formation” through which the Real emerges as the excessively visual cause. These two dimensions – the active solicitation of scopophilia by visual culture’s fascination with disaster and the displaced functioning of the eye in the viewing subject – will be analysed in their contemporary historical formation. …
… The coding of both symptom and cause through the technologically-mediated inter-activity of visual culture reorients the place of the visible within visual culture. If the Real is the absent place of the Gaze that offers the world as the “given-to-be-seen” to the viewing subject, then this Gaze reveals itself to the scopophilic drive. The absent Gaze of the Real itself becomes the visible object of subjective specularity. 19 The fascination with the imagery of destruction exposes the socially repressed fascination with the death drive within the nexus of capitalism and visual culture. Clark argues “it is only in the discovering of the system’s antinomies and blank spots…that the first improvised forms of contrary imagining come to light.” 20 In contemporary visual culture it is the system’s hyper-visible coding of images that makes the Real visible between the light of multiple screens, the sight of the eye, the touch of the mouse-click, and the sounds of the ear.
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