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The Mark of TheoryInscriptive Figures, Poststructuralist Prehistories$
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Andrea Bachner

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780823277476

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823277476.001.0001

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Stings of Visibility

Stings of Visibility

Picture Theories and Visual Contact

(p.105) Chapter 3 Stings of Visibility
The Mark of Theory

Andrea Bachner

Fordham University Press

This chapter shifts its focus to the ways in which media studies uses inscription by probing the imaginary at work in theoretical and artistic conceptualizations of visual media, especially photography. By tracing the vicissitudes of Peirce’s concept of indexicality in theories of visuality, it discusses how descriptions of the photographic act as a process of impression mediated by light have turned into metaphors of reception in which the luminous imprint of the photograph is “translated” into a violent contact with she who looks at a photograph. As this chapter investigates the various ways in which reflections on photography and poststructuralist theories of the image flatten and “translate” the material traces that produce the visual object in order to focus on its impact—figurative stings of visibility that point from the image to a viewer—it offers two literary and artistic counterpoints, two examples of the interaction of photography and text in the context of Chilean post-dictatorship art and literature, Diamela Eltit’s Lumpérica and Guadalupe Santa Cruz’s Quebrada.

Keywords:   contact, Eltit, indexicality, Peirce, photography, Santa Cruz, visual media

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