The time of images

Text and images have for long constituted two paradoxical categories which share in the setting up of the media, in a doctrine inherited from the poetic art of Horace: Ut pictura poesis. This classical order of the resources of knowledge is reversed today. Sound recordings, by rehabilitating orality in relation to the written word, have divided the world of text. Writing during this time, thanks to modern means of reproduction (lithography, photography, photocopying, digitisation), has moved from the written word towards the image. The world of the image has been split in two: the still, silent image and the moving image, tied to a narrative. In the last instance, it is the link to language that seems to differentiate these media, and that revives the old opposition of Lessing between the arts of time and the arts of space. The book, in this new situation, has come up against the "site", and seems to owe its value more to the symbolic virtues of its materiality rather than to the uniqueness of its content.