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The use of computer-generated imagery is becoming increasingly ubiquitous across many fields including media, advertising, architecture and art. This represents a fundamental shift within visual culture, as imagery can now be produced routinely by means of rendering algorithms based on spatial representations. We propose that the account of the image provided by Gilles Deleuze in his books on cinema provides a rich philosophical framework for understanding such contemporary imaging practices. By providing a Deleuzian reading of James Kajiya's 1986 rendering equation we argue that there is a tacit ontology of the image underwriting both Deleuze’s work on cinema and current computer graphics technologies. This ontology frees the image from traditional transcendent categories of subject positions or vantage points and instead revolves around the concept of an immanent image. We argue that these considerations lead us to a reformulation of the notion of the virtual, one that challenges its rigid segregation from the real.
Hugh McCabe. 2019. We Have Always Been Virtual: Gilles Deleuze and the Computer-Generated Image. In Proceedings of ARTECH 2019, 9th International Conference on Digital and Interactive Arts (ARTECH 2019), October 23-25, 2019, Braga, Portugal. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 7 pages. DOI: 10.1145/3359852.3359895