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tagged image

May 12, 2012

There is no lack of literature on images’ contingency on the representational context, how their meaning could alter according to accompanying text, placement, frame, order of appearance, etc. A recent example of an image’s shift of meaning is Mona Eltahawy’s recent publicity stunt on Foreign Policy, where the image of beating of an Egyptian woman by the military forces, (known as the Blue Bra Girl) was used to illustrate how men in the Middle East hate women. However, this image/text relationship has entered a new phase in web 2.0.

While previously images’ meaning altered or was affected by their positioning in the media and how they were contextualized, now they can be permanently tied to a set of words, according to both the text that accompanies them, but also, (and more importantly) to tag words. These tags could direct images to particular directions and define them within certain political and ideological landscapes. While for instance on the one hand the Blue Bra Girl is was tied to the Egyptian Revolution, on the other hand now has also has ties with that particular article, its writer and also its publisher. The same stands for other indigenous journalist’s videos , whose tag words more often than not are already hijacked by political and/or commercial forces on the web. Legends of metal music are a click away from The Syrian Days Of Rage youtube channel.

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