Visualizing Law in the Age of the Digital Baroque: Arabesques & Entanglements by Richard K Sherwin
Visualizing Law in the Age of the Digital Baroque explores the profound impact that visual digital technologies are having on the practice and theory of law. Today, lawyers, judges, and lay jurors face a vast array of visual evidence and visual argument. From videos documenting crimes and accidents to computer displays of their digital simulation, increasingly, the search for fact-based justice inside the courtroom is becoming an offshoot of visual meaning making. But when law migrates to the screen it lives there as other images do, motivating belief and judgment on the basis of visual delight and unconscious fantasies and desires as well as actualities. Law as image also shares broader cultural anxieties concerning not only the truth of the image but also the mimetic capacity itself, the human ability to represent reality. What is real, and what is simulation? This is the hallmark of the baroque, when dreams fold into dreams, like immersion in a seemingly endless matrix of digital appearances. When fact-based justice recedes, laws proliferate within a field of uncertainty. Left unchecked, this condition of ontological and ethical uneasiness threatens the legitimacy of law's claim to power. Visualizing Law in the Age of the Digital Baroque offers a jurisprudential paradigm that is equal to the challenge that current cultural conditions present.