In a world with an ever-increasing number of visual images bombarding our every moment, art historian Barbara Maria Stafford wants readers to face the future with a more practiced and educated visual vocabulary. In Good Looking
, Stafford begins by positioning contemporary culture in historical context. She compares the current fin-de-siécle anxiety and excitement about changing modes of communication and transfer of information with that of the Enlightenment. She likens 18th-century wonder cabinets to virtual reality and traces the complications of seeing versus believing to a history of mistrust of visual media. The 12 essays that comprise the book focus on visual information's continued low status in culture even as its impact continually increases. In the hopes of beginning to change this, Stafford organized a symposium in 1993, "Imaging the Body: Art and Science in Modern Culture." She "wanted to find out if past modes of visualizing the invisible physical and mental processes had any current relevance." In other words, it might be wise to take a look at our inherited relationships to what we learn and understand through visuals because, thanks in part to the Internet, this medium is becoming even more pervasive. --Jennifer Cohen
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.