By Mindy Fenske (auth.)
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Additional resources for Tattoos in American Visual Culture
Any attempt to understand the activity within and of the image, therefore, requires attending to the image as a tracing. There are, then, two levels through which the agency of the territorialized image works: at the level or plane of discourse, and at the level or plane of material form and content. These are not distinct operations, however, because the assemblage is a constantly moving network. Nor are “form” and “content” merely objects through which meaning is communicated and that can be consequently decoded via a semiotics of style.
The motion of discourse, the motion within the image, and the motion of history are all, therefore, movements and performances of reproduction and reiteration within an assemblage. This method also acknowledges the productive activity of the critic in creating the specific genealogy by means of critical interventions in images and texts. This approach to culture and cultural texts, therefore, offers an example of a critical method that combines dislocated interpretation with textual production in such a way that appreciates the complex and constantly changing 34 Ta t t o o s i n A m e r i c a n V i s u a l C u l t u r e cultural assemblage while attending to the specific characteristics of particular cultural and textual striated formations.
A space of intermingling such as the subway in New York or a train station, for instance, suggests relatively weak classification. Weakly classified form and content in visual display could be achieved through practices of found art assemblage, for instance, where artists combine natural and “made” found objects into pieces of artistic expression. Weakly classified space consequently is open to intermingling though not necessarily to mutation. The forms that interact do not necessarily change through their interaction because the lines of flight may occasionally merely intersect.