An image is an intentional crop of the world which becomes an entity. This entity, this image, may be extremely powerful because it imposes meaning and a striking sense upon someone who looks at it, doing so by means of two qualities of visual media. First, it does so through the fact that its parts act as words which articulate pieces of information in the same way that a text does. Second, since the force created by the construction of this discursive entity, which is synthetic, organic and organized while at the same time spontaneous, mixes up the spectators’ perceptions, it renders as natural or presents as real and meaningfully close a number of fragments.
In this way, the image always arouses, in those who observes it, a story which is understood by this observer in its synthetic mythic form, in a narrative that presents a cause and effect and which always draws a conclusion. Thus, this conclusion socially produces questioning or reinforcement, by the image and its corresponding myth, of the way to see reality and as a consequence of the way the observers see their own identity.
The images can do so by forcing the beholders to explain themselves in their positions, in their differential belonging with other images considered to be like themselves, with other conclusions, other stories and collective identifications.
It is in this way that it is possible to think that the relationship between image and identity is a dynamic process which leads to closing or structuring entities such as the identities of people, organizations, companies or objects.
In addition, it is also important to highlight that this happens through a process of confrontation among those images that become self images and the remaining existing images, in a dynamic, not innocent, struggle which brings into the open ideas, values, beliefs and interests.
Therefore, in this struggle, as Foucault claims, design becomes powerful as it penetrates the domain of other images and other discourses.
© Sebastian Guerrini, 2009