In the book What Do Pictures Want?: The Lives and Loves of Images, page 48, there is a paragraph that using the word "figure" that I don't understand:
What pictures want, then, is not to be interpreted, decoded, worshipped, smashed, exposed, or demystified by their beholders, or to enthrall their beholders. They may not even want to be granted subjectivity or personhood by well-meaning commentators who think that humanness is the greatest compliment they could pay to pictures. The desires of pictures may be inhuman or nonhuman, better modeled by figures of animals, machines, or cyborgs, or by even more basic images-what Erasmus Darwin called "the loves of plants." What pictures want in the last instance, then, is simply to be asked what they want, with the understanding that the answer may well be, nothing at all.
I've looked it up but it doesn't have any meaning that I'm not aware of. What does it mean here?