W. J. T. Mitchell is an American art historian at the University of Chicago and one of the most important scholars of visual culture and iconology. Among his most important books are "Cloning Terror: The War of Images, 9/11 to the Present" (2011) and "What do Pictures Want? The Lives and Loves of Images" (2005). For the online magazine Qantara I spoke to him about the relationship between images and war.
Felix Koltermann: I would like to start by looking at the concept of "image operations". Could you explain what this is?
W. J. T. Mitchell: "Image operations" mainly exist
in the theatre of war and in medical imaging. Usually the purpose of
medical imaging is to heal. The purpose of image operations in the
theatre of war, on the other hand, is to inflict or cause damage and to
use images as instruments of war and propaganda or to reveal crime. So
what is at stake here in a general way is the instrumental use of
Read the whole interview online at Qantara