Quotes from the essay The Evil Demon of Images by Jean Baudrillard.
"It is precisely when it appears most truthful, most faithful and most in
conformity to reality that the image is most diabolical -- and our
technical images, wether they be from photography, cinema or television,
are in the overwhelming majority more 'figurative', 'realist', than
all the images from the past cultures. It is in its resemblance, not only
analogical but technological, that the image is most immoral and perverse."
"The immense majority of present day photographic, cinematic and television
images are thought to bear witness to the world with a naive resemblance
and a touching fidelity. We have spontaneous confidence in their realism.
We are wrong. They only seem to resemble things, they really do conform, but
their conformity itself is diabolical."
"More generally, the image is interesting not only in its role as reflection,
mirror, representation, or counterpart to, the real, but also when it
begins to contaminate reality and to model it, when it only conforms
to reality the better to distort it, or better still: when it appropriates
reality for its own ends, when it anticipates it to the point that
the real no longer has time to be produced as such."
"For some time now, in the dialectical relation between reality and images
(that is, the relation that we wish to believe dialectical, readable from
the real to the image and vice versa), the image has taken over and imposed
its own immanent, ephemeral logic; an immoral logic without depth, beyond
good and evil, beyond truth and falsity; a logic of the extermination of its
own referent, a logic of the implosion of meaning in which the message
disappears on the horizon of the medium. In this regard, we all remain
incredibly naive: we always look for a good usage of the image, that is
to say a moral, meaningful, pedagogic or informational usage, without
seeing that the image in a sense revolts against this good usage, that it
is the conductor neither of meaning nor good intentions, but on the
contrary of an implosion, a denegation of meaning (of events, history, memory,
"The cold light of television is inoffensive to the imagination (even that of
children) since it no longer carries any imaginary, for the simple reason
that it is no longer an image. "
"The secret of the image (we are still speaking of contemporary, technical
images) must not be sought in its differentiation from reality, and hence
in its representative value (aesthetic, critical or dialectical), but on the
contrary in its 'telescoping' into reality, its short-circuit with reality,
and finally, in the implosion of image and reality. For us there is an
increasingly definitive lack of differentiation between image and reality
which no longer leaves room for representation as such."
"In its present endeavours cinema increasingly approaches, with ever
increasing perfection, absolute reality: in its banality, in its veracity, in
its starkness, in its tedium, and at the same time in its pretentiousness,
in its pretention to be the real, the immediate, the unsignified, which is
the maddest of enterprises (in the same way that the pretention of
functionalist design to designate, as the highest degree of the object,
the form in which it coincides with its function, its use-value, is
properly an insane enterprise). No culture has ever had this naive and
paranoiac, this puritanical and terrorist vision of signs."