Softimage (Book)

Towards a New Theory of the Digital Image

With today's digital technology, the image is no longer a stable representation of the world, but a programmable view of a database that is updated in real time. It no longer functions as a political and iconic representation, but plays a vital role in synchronic data-to-data relationships. It is not only part of a program, but it contains its own operating code: the image is a program in itself. Softimage aims to account for that new reality, taking readers on a journey that gradually undoes our unthinking reliance on the apparent solidity of the photographic image and building in its place an original and timely theorization of the digital image in all its complexity, one that promises to spark debate within the evolving fields of image studies and software studies.


INGRID HOELZL is Assistant Professor in the School of Creative Media at City University of Hong Kong. She is the author of a book on the theory of the photographic self-portrait (Der Autoporträtistische Pakt, 2008) and has published widely on the state of the image in contemporary art and digitalculture. 

RÉMI MARIE is an independent writer who lives and works in Digne-les-Bains, France, and Hong Kong.

'Softimage is a pleasant and engaging journey along the multiple vectors outlining major ontological shifts that the image is undergoing as the digital permeates everyday life. Students and general readers unfamiliar with image theory will find in Hoelzl and Marie’s volume—its first half in particular—an approachable introduction to the major thinkers and concepts in the field, often presented with an innovative twist and in stimulating combinations without unnecessary theoretical convolution.'

Gabriele de Seta, Social Media and Society

'Softimage is not a book that offers a critical reading of technology as opposed to humanities. It helps instead understand the vital importance of technology for humanist scholars and should be read as a standing invitation to supersede the barriers between technological form and visual content.'

Jan Baetens, Leonardo Reviews
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