The Elements of Libidinal Economy in Instagram: A New Ontological Status of Photography

By Erika D'Amico.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Communication

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper asks: is it possible to review the ontological statute of contemporary photography through Instagram posts? Does this kind of operation need a relational approach based on “economic” premises (such as multiplication and strengthening of the relational network or anchorage of the shot on the base of economic operators)? The analysis focuses on a re-reading of Lyotard’s "Libidinal Economy" and on a review of Barthes’ anchorage theory. The debate about photography has been focused on the dialectic opposition between analogical and digital for a long time, and can be seen in Barthes (1980), Mitchell (1992), Manovich (2002) and Shaeffer (2006), just to quote some recent case studies. In these studies, the produce-and-share-on-the-net act processes are often in the background. It’s where photography meets the web; it’s the hybridization between two media – as Krauss (2005) would say, a reinvention of the photographic medium – that generates a series of reflections about photography. Media are experience interpreters (McLuhan 1964) and this interpretation highlights how the relationship between text and image has an economic nature, and how this nature actually sets up Instagram’s relationship.

Keywords: Instagram, Contemporary Photography, Libidinal Economy, Media, Social Networks

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Communication, Volume 10, Issue 2, June 2015, pp.9-16. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 607.597KB).

Dr. Erika D'Amico

Researcher, Department of Communication and Human Studies, University of Urbino, Urbino, Italy