Why the image? Panagia has also answered this question, though perhaps less emphatically as one might like (for one, Panagia explicitly avoids the term “the musical” in favor of “the poetic”). In proposing a poetics of political thinking, Panagia has taken important (though early) first steps, faithful to the spirit of Rancière, in the diachronous (or what Desmond would call the metaxological; or what could even be called metaxiological) thinking of aesthetics and politics. But the insight expressed by Panagia’s method is not simply the value of aesthetics for politics and political thinking (although the reading of Rawls given therein, for example, is second perhaps only to MacAdam’s deconstruction of the original position) but the development of a poetics of thinking that preserves the (not just formal) distinction between ontology and logic and the refusal to reduce ethics to either (a poetics of political thinking is, rather, an account of the ethics of representation).
In other terms: the image is what, in representation, exceeds the subject. But of course this is unhelpful because everything exceeds the subject. It is something like, in the Lyotardian-Kantian sublime, the experience of this excess. Or, succinctly, the image is precisely what Bergson said it was (no one else has managed to say it better): the universe is simply an ensemble of images.