Some fallacies and truths concerning the image in old and new media

John Lechte*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Despite differences in approach most conceptions of the image fall prey to what Jean-Paul Sartre calls the 'illusion of immanence'-treating the image as a separate reality, as a thing. This article provides an explication of the 'illusion of immanence', then proceeds to evaluate Sartre's theory in the context of digital versions of the image. The question is: does the 'illusion of immanence' still pertain when the digital image is involved? In this regard, consideration is given to Paul Crowther's ontology of the digital image in art, where the issue of the manipulation of the digital is highlighted, along with the work of Lev Manovich on cinema and that of Mark B.N. Hansen on the body in relation to immersion in new media. A call is made for a new theory of the image which takes on Sartre's insights-insights which are seen to be of particular relevance to immersion and interactivity in VR (virtual reality).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-371
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Visual Culture
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • body
  • digital technology
  • image
  • immersion
  • new media
  • Sartre
  • simulacrum


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