cancerous growth of vision

To describe these everyday practices that produce without capitalizing, that is, without taking control over time one starting point seemed inevitable because it is the ‘exorbitant’ focus of contemporary culture and its consumption: reading. From TV to newspapers, from advertising to all sorts of mercantile epiphanies, our society is characterized by a cancerous growth of vision, measuring everything by its ability to show or be shown and transmuting communication into a visual journey. It is a sort of epic of the eye and of the impulse to read. The economy itself, transformed into a ‘semiocracy’, encourages a hypertrophic development of reading. Thus, for the binary set production-consumption, one would substitute its more general equivalent: writing--reading. Reading (an image or a text), moreover, seems to constitute the maximal development of the passivity assumed to characterize the consumer, who is conceived of as a voyeur (whether troglodytic or itinerant) in a ‘show-biz society’.

Michel de Certeau (1925-1986)