Leif Dahlberg (ed.)Visualizing Law and Authority
Essays on Legal Aesthetics
Walter de Gruyter Inc [Series: Law & Literature 4], Berlin, 2012, vi, 304 pages
The volume "Visualizing Law and Authority. Essays on Legal Aesthetics" brings together revised papers from the international conference "Law and the Image", held in Stockholm, 24–25 September, 2010. The participants/contributors belong to the disciplines of Art history, Cultural studies, Literary and Media studies, and Law. The contributions discuss the complex relations between law, media and visual phenomena. The common theme of the essays consists in an examination of the scoped field and of regimes of visibility in phenomenological terms, arguing that law constitutes a cognitive and aesthetic field of normative world-making. Rather than merely inverting Shelley’s dictum that the "poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world", the essays argue in different ways for the necessity to develop a legal aesthetics.
The most immediate way of pursuing such a legal aesthetics consists in examining law itself as an aesthetic object, for instance the power of law to produce icons, in the sense of unreadable texts or textiles (Martin Kayman, Gary Watt). Several essays focus on the way that visual art and media can be used to constitute and represent political power, but also to question it and to put it into question (Chiara Battisti, Leif Dahlberg, Elina Druker, Sidia Fiorato, Paul Raffield). Other essays investigate legal structures inherent in the artwork (and the artworld) itself (Ari Hirvonen, Max Liljefors, Christine Poggi, Karen-Margrethe Simonsen). Finally, there are two essays focusing on the use of images and imagery in the legal process, explicity arguing for the need of a legal aesthetics (Daniela Carpi, Richard Sherwin). Although diverse, the individual essays are interconnected with each other in fruitful and critical ways, making both explicit and implict references to each other.
Leif Dahlberg, School of Computer Science and Communication, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.
Recomendable la lectura del reciente trabajo de Richard K. Sherwin. “Visual Jurisprudence”, 57 New York Law School Law Review (2012–2013), pp. 11-39.
Disponible en: http://www.nylslawreview.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Sherwin2.pdf
Lawyers, judges, and jurors face a vast array of visual evidence and visual argument inside the contemporary courtroom. From videos documenting crimes and accidents to computer displays of their digital simulation, increasingly, the search for fact-based justice is becoming an offshoot of visual meaning making. But when law migrates to the screen it lives there as other images do, motivating belief and judgment on the basis of visual delight and unconscious fantasies and desires as well as actualities. Law as image also shares broader cultural anxieties concerning not only the truth of the image, but also the mimetic capacity itself, the human ability to represent reality. What is real, and what is simulation? This is the hallmark of the baroque, when dreams fold into dreams – or should we say the digital baroque, when images on the screen immerse us in a seemingly endless matrix of digital appearances. Under current cultural conditions, jurists need training in visual literacy. That is what the theory and practice of visual jurisprudence aim to provide.
Asimismo está pronto a editarse (enero 2013) la abarcadora obra Law, culture and Visual Studies, Ane Wagner- Richard K. Sherwin (eds.), Springer, Berlin/New York, 2013, X, 1127 pp., 58 illus., 26 in color. ISBN-13: 978-9048193219, de la que en su momento daré cumplida noticia.