image culture

Photos of sunbathing royal breasts, political caricatures, religiously offensive videos, political mayhem, war, famine, death; magical mascaras, mouth-watering burgers, porn for any taste and age, protestors, injured, dead, each one telling their concrete story out of their habitat: the image – still or moving.

WELCOME to the Image Culture, ladies and gentlemen, toddlers and adolescents!
Please, make sure you discard your dictionaries, printed or other, wash your hands and step in!
You, too, Sir, no, we’ll go to the videos later – first, the photos!
Yes, private cabins provided at the video galleries, please be patient.

Ladies and gentlemen, toddlers and adolescents, you won’t need anything for this trip to the Image Culture but magnifying glasses (for the oldies) and a delicious, salty, flavoured snack.
Yes, darling, the snacks are free of charge.
If you order the large size, that is.
Yes, sir, the drinks are sugar free.
Please, don’t forget to ask for extra corn syrup for your sodas by the counter.

Moving on.

To the North hemisphere, you can observe princess breasts – original – but also, princess bottom (as far as my search went on google images, just to see what the fuss was about with the topless photos, I saw a picture of the Duchess of Cambridge who wasn’t only topless, she also wore a thong, displaying her bare bottom, but apparently, none of the royalties and their legal advisors seem to have had a problem with that particular image display. Butts allowed, boobies is a no-no).
That is very sisterly of Kate Middleton, I may add, considering that UK’s bigger sibling – USA – successfully provides, free of charge, similar images of their own royalties’ breasts – most recently Madonna’s.
And, to a lesser degree – in terms of visual aesthetics and level of regality – Janet Jackson’s.

To the South, you can view loads of spectacular images of fleeing people – old injured people, young injured people, injured mothers, injured children, scared children.
Here, Sir, what are you looking at?
Here, hello?
I’m talking about these images, of the Zaatari camp, Jordan.
The details are crispy, spectacular.
Ma’am, your children can tell what this number is.
That’s right, sweetheart, this means 1.2 million displaced people within Syria, 20,000 killed, 246,000 fled abroad.
I’m so happy that the numbers are all in image format, so you don’t have to work hard at reading them!

Moving on.
Oh, no darling, this is not special effects, that boy’s leg is really chopped off.
By a grenade.
If we move into the ammunition gallery, I’ll show you a picture of what a grenade is.
For the curious, I can dig out a video so you can see, in actual fact, how a grenade explodes.
No, Sir, I’m not sure I can find images of how it chops off a leg.
But, you could try and see Saving Private Ryan, The Hurt Locker, Inglorious Basterds – you’ll enjoy a bit of humour if you see the last one.
No, the rest are quite humourless.
Fine, then watch Tarantino’s only.

If you move along towards the West – that’s left, ma’am…your other left – you can enjoy loads of images displaying the current trends.
Mainly burgundy, prints, and lots of gothic this winter on the catwalk.
I’m afraid we don’t have detailed photos per designer, but you can check our live streaming of various current défilés.
Yes, that’ll be the video gallery further down the hall.
Keep West.

We’ve got some bored children in this group, let’s move on.
Let’s split.
Kids, follow me.
We’re going to the games rooms.
The new World of Warcraft is out – who wants to kill free of charge for an hour?
Yes, you can bring your snack in the games rooms.
The older gentlemen can view our exciting erotica corner at the end of the corridor, near the toilets.
Yes, sir, you will have your private cabin, I told you.
No manuals, no reading required, go ahead.
Everything is visually explained, you won’t miss or misinterpret a thing, rest assured.

The image culture.
What does a kid need in order to understand an image of a banana, of a royal (or a common) bare breast, of blood on the face of a 5-year-old girl?
A pair of eyes? Not even.
One eye is enough and the kid will tell that the first image is of fruit, the second – of a naked girl, and the third – of a girl, who is in pain.
To the first image, the kid is likely to be indifferent, to the second – depending on the kid’s age – he may giggle, to the last image, however, the kid is likely to ask what happened to that injured girl, or whether she’s in pain.
And if the three examples were in writing?
The kid needs more than an eye – reading, the skill to decode a combination of signs, letters, lines and dots, years of practice.
Our children can view death as it’s displayed so vividly on our TV screens, in our newspapers, on our computer screens (not to mention those, who view violence on their streets – that’s a completely different subject).
I feel safe when letters hide away the scary bits of our adult lives from my kids, 3 and 1.
But when it’s an image, then there is no way around hiding its meaning.
And that’s when it gets complicated.

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