Representation (Media Studies)

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  • The appointment of someone to act on behalf of another, in a legal and gov ernmental sense. This idea of “standing in for another,” which lies at the heart of representation, extends more philosophically to the arts, where for Plato and Aristotle it concerned the status of imitation (mimesis). For Aristotle, humans naturally represent or imitate things, because it is how they learn. Whatever the artistic medium, art does not passively reflect reality but actively shapes it. Modern aesthetics sometimes narrowly distin guishes between representative art (e.g., portrait painting) and nonrepresentational art (e.g., abstract painting), but representation is broader than mere description. Arguably, an original experience or reality is not accessi ble through anything other than its representations. For example, in dream analysis, the original ...

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