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Visual technology saturates everyday life. Theories of the visual--now key to debates across cultural studies, social theory, art history, literary studies and philosophy--have interpreted this new condition as the beginning of a dystopian future, of cultural decline, social disempowerment and political passivity. Intellectuals--from Baudelaire to Debord, Benjamin, Virilio, Jameson, Baudrillard and Derrida--have explored how technology not only reinvents the visual, but also changes the nature of culture itself. The heartland of all such cultural analysis has been the city, from Baudelaire's flaneur to Benjamin's arcades.The Architecture of the Visible presents a wide-ranging critical reassessment of contemporary approaches to visual culture through an analysis of pivotal technological innovation from the telescope, through photography to film. Drawing on the examples of Paris and New York--two key world cities for over two centuries--Graham MacPhee analyzes how visual technology is revolutionizing the landscape of modern thought, politics and culture.