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  • Publication
  • Publication
    When All That Takes Place Is the Place Itself': Tracing the Word/Image Parallax from Godot to Gatsby
    In his 1994 work Picture Theory, W.J.T. Mitchell outlined a revised notion of Iconology that was seen to mark a paradigmatic shift in the direction of text/image scholarship. Offering “theoretical justification for broadening the scope of visual studies” (Bartmanski, 2012 10), Mitchell appeared to resolve what had long been regarded as a central site of epistemological struggle, what he himself termed the word/image problematic. In recent years, however, inconsistencies in Mitchell's position have started to appear: despite his stated intentions, there remains a tendency in his work to reconstruct the very ontological divide he seeks to overcome. What this continued persistence of the word/image dualism bears witness to is the critical urgency of a revised theoretical intervention. A new avenue of investigation presents itself in the form of Slavoj {\v{Z}}i{\v{z}}ek's concept of the “parallax”. When faced with an irreducible gap between two opposing poles, {\v{Z}}i{\v{z}}ek argues, one must resist the temptation to reconcile the categories in question; instead, approaching the deadlock in purely formal terms, one should strive to reach below the dualism to the inherent tension or (“parallax”) gap that generates it. Through such a radical perspectival shift – from problematic (“gap between”) to parallax (“gap within”) – the insurmountable limit is perceived not as an obstacle to be overcome but as a solution in itself.