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Empire as Cinema

This text attempts to outline a relationship between images and ‘image-spheres’ (or image-spaces) to provide a way of tracing the political and cultural dynamics of the present. Starting from a theory of cinema, it will suggest an image of politics that escapes visibility by conjuring up images. The space of politics can thus incorporate all possible images in order to expand its own image-sphere, without ever appearing as an image itself. Power is therefore animated by a space at the boundaries of the image; boundaries that are necessary only insofar as they are rejected again. Seemingly without a reason. The analysis of the out-of-field and voice-off, of the space outside the frame, plays a central role in Gilles Deleuze’s attempt to work out a comprehensive theory of cinema. At issue is nothing less than the question of the limits of the image. The fact that the frame establishes a boundary, defining what is part of the image and what is not, leaves in question what still belongs to the image without actually being visible inside the frame.