Image, subject, power: interview with Marie-José Mondzain
Marie-José Mondzain (Translated by Briankle G. CHANG and Nefeli Forni ZERVOUDAKI)
ABSTRACT When we think about image and visual culture in general, the name Marie-José Mondzain comes to mind. In this interview, she discusses the origin and efficacy of image and image making as they run through history, politics, culture, and across the seeping veins of power in our everyday life. As Mondzain shows here and in other writings, to understand how image works is to understand how individuals, in viewing images, become spectators in their coming to be as desiring and speaking subjects. In print, virtually, or otherwise, images and power serve each other, establishing and policing the zones of distinction between vision and gaze, the visible and the invisible, power and resistance, belief and unbelief. Images are always contemporary, always with the time, always with us in time. This interview sheds light on why and how this is the case, through the anthropological truth image making reveals, as well as the political reality we create and recreate as the image makers and image destroyers.
KEYWORDS: Christianity; culture; politics; gaze; icon; image; power; spectator; subject; vision
Notes on contributors
Briankle G. Chang is Professor in the Department of Communication, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is the author of Deconstructing Communication: Representation, Subject, and Economies of Exchange (University of Minnesota Press, 1996) the coeditor of Philosophy of Communication (MIT Press, 2012) and Thinking Media and Beyond: Perspectives from German Media Theory (Routledge, 2018). His recent publications include “Seeing Goddess in Typhoons” in differences in 2018 and a translation of Marie-José Mondzain, “What is an Image?” that appeared in this journal in 2019.
Nefeli Forni Zervoudaki is a doctoral student in the Program of Comparative Literature at University of Massachusetts, Amherst.