dialectical images anyone?

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Can we speak of dialectical pictures or images. If so,  is the picture below---- entitled The end of oil 11  by  Peter G.A. Rosén aka  Kritisk massa on Flickr---- an example of one? If it is, then what can it offer those interested in cultural criticism? 


Walter Benjamin understood a dialectical image as an image of the past which carries the desires of the past generations into the present; an image that crystallizes antithetical elements  and where the  "synthesis" of these antithetical elements  is not a movement towards resolution, but the point at which their axes intersect.

The antithetical elements in the above picture is the promise of freedom by the car and  the negative effects of the car on both the environment (dirty air + emission of greenhouse gases)  and our urban fabric.These contradictory tendencies are not resolved in the picture --they intersect ---petrol station and the unsettling garish, greenish tinge. 
So the picture  provides the basis for  any criticism of the concept of progress itself--history as a continuum of things getting better (eg., increasing prosperity). In our society the dream of progress expressed in the imagery created by advertising photography is taken to be reality; it is crises that we begin to awaken from the dream  to discover the nightmare.

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This page contains a single entry by Gary Sauer-Thompson published on February 25, 2009 5:31 PM.

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