Thursday, November 17, 2005

"The Image Culture" by Christine Rosen

The University Archivist also passed along to me "The Image Culture" by Christine Rosen, published in The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology and Society. Again, I'm posting this as an article to return to, but from a quick skim of the introduction, I see Rosen ends the intro with this:
Two things in particular are at stake in our contemporary confrontation with an image-based culture: First, technology has considerably undermined our ability to trust what we see, yet we have not adequately grappled with the effects of this on our notions of truth. Second, if we are indeed moving from the era of the printed word to an era dominated by the image, what impact will this have on culture, broadly speaking, and its institutions? What will art, literature, and music look like in the age of the image? And will we, in the age of the image, become too easily accustomed to verisimilar rather than true things, preferring appearance to reality and in the process rejecting the demands of discipline and patience that true things often require of us if we are to understand their meaning and describe it with precision? The potential costs of moving from the printed word to the image are immense. We may find ourselves in a world where our ability to communicate is stunted, our understanding and acceptance of what we see questionable, and our desire to transmit culture from one generation to the next seriously compromised.
Some day I need to dig up Ong's short lecture on "Secondary Oralism and Secondary Visualism" and report what he argued, not because it was brilliant--I don't remember, honestly, which in itself suggests that it wasn't, but because it's an interesting footnote in where his thinking was heading in the 1990s.

Cross posted to Notes from the Walter J. Ong Archive

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