WJT Mitchell theorises images as being alive: “images live in genealogical or genetic series, reproducing themselves over time, migrating from one culture to another” (93).
See Mitchell (2004) What Do Pictures Want?
See review of book in http://thoughtjam.wordpress.com/2009/01/02/wjt-mitchell-want-pictures-want/
An interview with Mitchell can be found at: http://www.visual-studies.com/interviews/mitchell.html
Questioning the distinction between animal and human:
See for instance Jacques Derrida The Animal That Therefore I Am
Notion of living things explored in blog entry ‘Living Books’. This series contains free pdf books that are a great source for literature reviews.