Film viewers responses to characters are of a great variety; global notions of
‘identification’, ‘empathy’, or ‘parasocial interaction’ are too reductive to capture
their rich nuances. This paper contributes to current theoretical accounts by
clarifying the intuitive notion of ‘being close’ to characters, drawing on social and
cognitive psychology. Several kinds of closeness are distinguished: spatiotemporal
proximity, understanding and perspective-taking, familiarity and similarity, PSI, and
affective closeness. These ways of being close to characters interact in
probabilistic ways, forming a system. Understanding its patterns might help us to
more precisely analyze the varieties of character engagement, which is demonstrated
by an analysis of David Fincher‘s Fight Club (1999).
Affective image operations are attempts to influence behaviour and stimulate action by evoking affects through images. The paper explores their forms and uses in political conflict, from video activism to war propaganda. Drawing together interdisciplinary research, the chapter develops a theoretical framework for analysing the affective and political force of still and moving images, arguing that the affective structure of images has four layers: Political affects and emotions are triggered by the specific interplay of visual forms, worlds, messages, and reflections. On the basis of this framework, several frequent types of affective image operations can be distinguished, illustrated by brief case studies of political web videos.
Still and moving images are crucial factors in contemporary political conflicts. They not only have representational, expressive or illustrative functions, but also augment and create significant events. Beyond altering states of mind, they affect bodies, and often life or death is at stake. Various forms of image operations are currently performed in the contexts of war, insurgency and activism. Photographs, videos, interactive simulations and other kinds of images steer drones to their targets, train soldiers, terrorise the public, celebrate protest icons, uncover injustices, or call for help. They are often parts of complex agential networks and move across different media and cultural environments. This book is a pioneering interdisciplinary study of the role and function of images in political life. Balancing theoretical reflections with in-depth case studies, it brings together renowned scholars and activists from different fields to offer a multifaceted critical perspective on a crucial aspect of contemporary visual culture.
In the introduction the editors outline the concept of image operations, illustrate its relevance and consider the empirical, theoretical, and ethical questions that arise from it. They also discuss the basic relations between images, media, agency, and conflict. As the subject lies at the intersection of several disciplines, they survey the literature, point towards the blind spots in existing research, and conclude with a summary of each contribution.