Looks aren’t everything, or so the cliché goes.
From an early age, we are warned of the dangers that come with placing too much emphasis on image. Proverbs and parables teach us that focusing on appearances makes us vain and clouds our outlook on life. But the concept of image is not all that shallow.
Appearances and the sentiments they elicit have great power. A simple photograph can influence, shape, and transform our opinions and actions. The art theorist Rudolph Arnheim aptly noted that “All perceiving is also thinking, all reasoning is also intuition, all observation is also invention.” Working on this past issue of The Review, the intertwined nature of these ideas soon became clear – image is anything with the capacity to be perceived and understood; image is everything.
We started this edition off with a preview article on surveillance, a subject that has the scrutiny of images at its core. James Pooler’s illuminating sketch challenges us to reconsider our often simplistic view of the problems surrounding cyber security and internet regulation. His piece also nicely complimented our panel on national security earlier that month.
In the US and France, the past few years have seen a public that has grown increasingly distrustful of establishment elites. Frederico Froés' "Painting a new Political Paradigm" describes these recent changes in the perception of politicians.
Nikki Tabibian contributed an essay on the Hollywood Industrial Complex. The term describes the controversial relationship between filmmakers and government officials, resulting in what many would consider a propagandistic portrayal of modern American warfare and its enemies. Tabibian specifically concentrates her investigation on the movies Black Hawk Down (2001) and Transformers (2007). In "Too Little, Too Late: Our Fading Environment," Paramesh Karandikar provides a compelling account on the misrepresentation of climate change and its parlous consequences. He criticizes the "eco-friendly" movement and its misleading promises to remind us of the true scope of the crisis.
Medina Bakayeva tells us of the value of distortion in art, with her exposition on Salvador Dali's artwork in "Shaping the Grotesque Through Art." Using the infamous anthropological exhibits of the 20th century as case studies, "The Spectacle of the Fair" dissects the reductive image of Indigenous people that pervades American history. Mahathi Vemireddy's detailed analysis raises crucial questions on race, culture, and justice. Her account leaves us to contemplate the dire impacts that result from the manipulation of imagery and its relation to power.