Recent discussions about the culture of images have focused on issues of identity--sexual, racial, national--and the boundaries that define subjectivity. In this context Victor Burgin adopts an original critical strategy. He understands images less in traditional terms of the specific institutions that produce them, such as cinema, photography, advertising, and television, and more as hybrid mental constructs composed of fragments derived from the heterogeneous sources that together constitute the media. Through deft analyses of a photograph by Helmut Newton, Parisian cityscapes, the space of the department store, a film by Ousmane Semb ne, and the writings of Henri Lefebvre, Andr Breton, and Roland Barthes, Burgin develops an incisive theory of our culture of images and spectacle.
In/Different Spaces explores the construction of identities in the psychical space between perception and consciousness, drawing upon psychoanalytic theories to describe the constitution and maintenance of self and us--in imaginary spatial and temporal relations to other and them--through the all-important relay of images. For Burgin, the image is never a transparent representation of the world but rather a principal player on the stage of history.
Victor Burgin is Professor in the Board of Studies in History of Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His books include theoretical works such as In/Different Spaces (1996) and The End of Art Theory (1986) and collections of his art works such as Between (1986). He has exhibited his photographic and video works world wide and has works in many public collections, including The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.