The Commanding and Emancipating Image

From: The Embodied Image: Imagination and Imagery in Architecture by Juhani Pallasmaa 

"Images are deployed for countless purposes, but there are two opposite types of images in relation to the individual freedom of the subject: images that dictate, manipulate and condition, and others that emancipate, empower and inspire.  The first type is exemplified by images devised for political and consumer conditioning, the second by emancipatory poetic and artistic images.  The first category narrows down, confines and weakens the freedom, choice and individuality of the subject by means of focusing and channeling his/her attention and awareness into a forced pattern, often grounded in the subject’s sense of guilt and inferiority.  The latter category of images opens up, fortifies and liberates by means of strengthening personal imagination, emotion and affect.  The first category of images weakens us and makes us more certain of ourselves and dependent on authority, whereas poetic imagery reinforces our sense of self, autonomy and individual independence.  The poetic images are images of individual integrity and freedom."  [ pp. 021 ]

These two types of images are almost entirely what I have seen in Havana so far and it makes sense that they would be on the extreme ends of the spectrum.  

Below are the images used in the book as examples of the Commanding Image (left) and the Emancipating Image (right).

Examples of the Commanding and Emancipating Image in Juhani Pallasmaa's The Embodied Image: Imagination and Imagery in Architecture

And just a few examples of what I found in Havana...  


The Commanding Image

Hanging in a business

At the Museo de la Revolución

And my personal favorite...although there were actually so many of these types of photos at the Museo de la Revolución that it was hard to choose a favorite.

FIdel Castro, José Martí, and twin toddlers.  BAM!


The Emancipating Image

"Hip Hop Forever" on a petrol  tank outside the Bacardi building.

A gallery off the Plaza Vieja

A photograph I purchased at the Obispo Street Market, it's probably one of my favorite "souvenirs" from Havana.  Along with the photo of El Dandy....more to follow on that! (:

Art being made and sold on a Saturday morning on the Prado.