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Editing the Image

Editing the Image: Strategies in the Production and Reception of the Visual

Mark A. Cheetham
Elizabeth Legge
Catherine M. Soussloff
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Editing the Image
    Book Description:

    The editing process is a vital part of virtually every form of media. Primarily associated with texts and written language, editing is equally essential, if less examined, in regard to visual media.Editing the Imagelooks at the editing of visual media as both a series of technical exercises and as an allegory. It touches on concerns that are crucial to the history of art and visual culture, as well as those media and institutions that produce and disseminate the visual arts in our society.

    Featuring contributors from a wide range of disciplines,Editing the Imageconsiders editing in the context of academic journals, art-historical texts, illustrated books, museum displays, and exhibitions. It is an inclusive analysis of visual forms commonly associated with the process of editing - photography, film, and video - as well as some that are not intrinsically linked to editing - painting, sculpture, and architecture. In addition to wide-ranging academic considerations, this collection includes discussions of moving picture media and studio art by practitioners, giving the study a practical focus. For anyone who has considered the implications of the editorial process, this work will be of significant interest.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8796-7
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. List of Illustrations
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. xix-xxx)

    Let us say that we are all editors, creatures of discernment, distinction, and judgment. From the uncontrolled exercise of our fundamental perceptual processes to the most complex cultural productions, we constantly edit in and edit out data of all sorts. Such a concept of editing enlarges our traditional understanding of the role of aesthetics in art, society, and culture. As a description of exclusionary practices, the notion of editing democratizes the function of aesthetics. Editing describes something we all do all the time. Because it is part of our everyday life as readers, viewers, and consumers of culture, editing is...


    • 1 Mr Blank Gets Concretized
      (pp. 3-14)

      To edit is to traffic in duplicity; to splice is to perjure; to cut is to mislead. All edits are deceptions; all edit rooms are falsehood factories; all editors are liars. It’s a delicious job, this occupation of fabrication: to pin up disparate scraps of video in a sequence on a digital clothesline, and then declare to your audience that these scraps are related, connected, cohesive – in fact, that there are no scraps, no clothesline, but only one flowing bolt of material unfurling in the breeze, suspended magically in the air, telling a single story like a perfect tapestry. How...

    • 2 Striking Through the Artist’s Body: Ekphrasis in Bellori’s Life of Caravaggio
      (pp. 15-30)

      In Giovanni Pietro Bellori’s description of Caravaggio’sMary Magdalen(fig. 2.1), the painted surface is trumped by a deadpan model. The close description of the seated figure, who assumes the liminal role of prostitute and religious ascetic, provides an inventory of a body, its poses, its parts (cheek, neck, breast), its surrounding objects (jar, jewels, gems), and the enclosing layers of cloth. As in other descriptions of Caravaggio’s paintings in Bellori’sLives of Modern Painters, Sculptors and Architects(Rome, 1672), such as his description of a bloated Madonna, Bellori stressed the placement of still-life setups and models, not invention.² Rather...


    • 3 An Edited Past: Aegean Prehistory and Its Texts
      (pp. 33-66)

      At first sight the casual reader might wonder what prehistory, texts, and editing have to do with each other. After all, prehistory, a term coined by Daniel Wilson, first president of the University of Toronto, defines ‘the study of the history of a region prior to the earliest appearance of written records relating to it.’² In the Aegean, part of the attraction of suchpre-historic archaeology has been to escape the Classical era and its ‘tyranny of the text,’³ and archaeology’s long service as the handmaid of (the wrong sort of) history in this period,4and all the many perceived...

    • 4 The Trouble with Painting, the Image (less) Text
      (pp. 67-92)

      I adapt my title ‘The Trouble with Painting’ from the 1955 film TheTrouble with Harry,produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Hitch cock’s farce revolves around a corpse – the body of the murdered Harry – that keeps turning up, refusing to get buried, complicating the lives of the inhabitants of a sleepy New England village. The hero, an easel painter on the verge of being discovered by a wealthy collector, appears ready to replace Harry as husband and father, as soon as the stiffening corpse can be disposed of.

      Like Harry’s body, painting persists in complicating more recent media and...


    • 5 Concealing Spectacles: Childbirth and Visuality in Early Modern France
      (pp. 95-114)

      This chapter explores how the scene of birth was produced, reshaped, and censored in French obstetrical treatises published between 1550 and 1730. These treatises discussed conditions ranging from sterility to postpartum complications, addressing an audience of medical men, female midwives, pregnant women, lay people, and even readers in search of a sex manual.¹ Attending to editing reveals the books did far more, however, than provide medical information. Writers, publishers, and artists carefully selected the written as well as visual material in obstetrical treatises, aiming to cultivate an image of respective authors as sophisticated birth assistants. Shaping a particular vision of...

    • 6 Edit In ... Edit Out: A Performance/Intervention
      (pp. 115-124)

      We have worked together since 1983. We work together on all of our projects; there is no division of labour. As artists, we will pose ourselves as living examples of our hypotheses. For these purposes, we will talk about the effect that the critic, the curator, and, to a certain extent, the academy has on creating and perpetuating the ‘canon’ of an artist’s work, and how that differs, at times radically, from the artist’s own perception of his or her practice. We will discuss the ways in which the critic, the curator and the scholar act as ‘editors’ of the...


    • 7 Editing Armageddon
      (pp. 127-152)

      During the early years of the Cold War, Canada was a military power with some heft.¹ In the aftermath of the Second World War, it possessed seasoned air and ground forces and the fourth largest navy in the world. This made it a significant ally of the United States and Britain, both of which took steps to secure its involvement in military partnerships. One darkly shrouded partnership, which remained classified and out of the public eye until recently, proposed turning northern Manitoba into a nuclear test site, a proving ground for Britain’s nascent atomic weapons program. Ground zero was to...

    • 8 Editing the Image: Two On-site/Online Exhibitions
      (pp. 153-164)

      The amount of free information easily available through the Internet has altered user expectations of public domains, both on-and offline. What is generally referred to as the explosion of the web has put increasing pressures on museums to recreate themselves in cyber and real space. The result is a recalibration of the split personality of Western museums, which traditionally construct their public image in terms of the aura of the collection rather than information and education or research.

      In this essay, I want to assess how two temporary exhibitions, both in their in situ and online manifestations, negotiate or edit...


    • 9 The Art Museum as Installation: An Interpretation of the Place of Matisse’s The Joy of Life in the Barnes Foundation
      (pp. 167-182)

      Narrative sentences are the hidden scaffolding holding together the public art museum.² In the Museum of Modern Art, New York, for example, a decade ago you walked in an installation described by Clement Greenberg’s canonical account of Modernism.³ I do not think it exaggerated to say that Pollock’s 1946– 50 manner really took up Analytical Cubism from the point at which Picasso and Braque had left it when, in their collages of 1912 and 1913 , they drew back from the utter abstractness for which Analytical Cubism seemed headed. But it took a long time for the Modern to adopt...

    • 10 Editing In vs. Editing Out: World Art Studies and the Pathologies of Academe
      (pp. 183-196)

      The history of the word ‘edit’ well illustrates the problematic mentality of the academic world. A concept that once was only positive has acquired increasingly negative overtones. An activity once associated with openness now suggests narrowness. What should have been a resource has tended to become a constraint. The original Latin meaning of the word was ‘to give out,’ ‘produce,’ in the literary context ‘to publish,’ a sense it retains in other European languages. The term thus suggested the opening up of a field, the enlargement of a horizon. Only recently, and especially in the English-speaking world, has it acquired...


    • 11 ‘Editorial’ Afterthoughts
      (pp. 199-206)

      The visual – one has to admit – presents very particular ‘editing’ problems. As the brave coordinators of this book (and of the conference which engendered it), Mark Cheetham and Elizabeth Legge strategically defined the notion of visual editing broadly enough to provoke artists, art critics, museum curators, and art historical scholars to think through what this term, usually considered a purely textual one, could mean in their world. But they also provoked a textually based critical theorist (myself) to do the same. The long history of debates about the interrelations between the image and the word (of which Catherine Soussloff writes...

  13. Envoi What Remains: The Nachleben of the Invisible
    (pp. 207-232)
  14. Index
    (pp. 233-236)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 237-238)