Agents and Perspectives

Violent images of crimes of attention both obliterate and require distance. Particularly in potentially real­time, globally interconnected digital public spheres in which every person who posts and comments is simultaneously sender and receiver, questions concerning the media­-related and aesthetic causes for the dissolution of distance and the transformation of reality take on an urgency that closely links everyday life and science. As soon as photos and videos are used in the hybrid space of social networks and mass­-media reporting, they often appear to be appropriate and are thus accorded a high truth value. However, even representational images of violence of indexical quality can never be “the thing­-in-­itself”. They leave behind gaps in our knowledge and generate a longing for information that stimulates the “eye’s appetite” as well as the “hunger for meaning”. What’s more, the viewer’s reality and the reality of events are now in danger of briefly collapsing into each other. As a consequence, images are subject to questioning which realities are generated within them, through them and with them, and by which means. A disclosure of the impact potential of publicly used images of violence requires a breakdown of the artificial conditions of the image impact in order to transform these into distance-­setting reception systems. The reflection of image impact remains vital for the discussion of media practice and public interest in images of violence.