During the past four weeks in imagery and culture class we have learned various terms that have not only showed us a different way of looking at art but also how to interpret it as well. This is a form of pedagogy which is “teaching of art or science; a form of education; instructional methods (1).” The teachings of pedagogy showed me how art can be looked at and even perceived in many different ways; it has much to do with representation. In the world of art representation is ” a process through which we construct the world around us (2)”, basically it is how each of us individually visualize things.For example, one person can perceive the picture above as an iridescent angel floating around in the night sky; whereas, someone else may not view the image as such. It is very possible that another person could look at the same image and have totally different viewpoint. This is called consumption of a particular image.
When defining power the words possession and control over something or someone comes to mind. Images have the ability to exude power over the mind of others. Think about it. When you see a photograph of two people kissing you might assume that they are dating or even in love; however there is a possibility that the picture could be deceiving; the total opposite of what you are seeing. This occurs because images especially those from “cameras are considered to have a truth value (3).” Camera pictures are seen as more personal and trustworthy because there is not a chance that the pictures are altered. This is why if you see family photos of a particular event such as a birth of a new baby you are more inclined to believe what you see. The photograph(s) symbolizes truth and proof that the even actually took place.
When it comes to viewing media hegemony is also involved as well. Hegemony is “a state or condition of a culture arrived at through a negotiation or struggle over meanings, laws, and social relationships (4).” Images can have different meanings depending on someone’s culture. For an example, one culture may look at an image of war and destruction and may view it as a horrid sight; while another culture can view the same image and see it as a symbol of protection and courage displayed by soldiers fighting for their country. It is all about perception and consumers (viewers) way of thinking and what they absorb from a particular image.
Sexism in media towards women is not something that is uncommon. Sexism is defined as “discrimination or devaluation based on a person’s sex (5).” In society and media today men are still considered to be more dominant and in control, however, now women have more rights, are able to speak more freely, and make their own decisions in media. This is a drastic change from how things used to be in the past for women. As Lucy Lippard made not of in the excerpt Double Take, it was considered to be inappropriate for a woman to interfere in a man’s territory (line of work, profession, etc.). Even though women have more of a say and influence in media now they are still somewhat being controlled and degraded. Most women in media are now equated to sex objects and derogatory expressions. It is as if women in media today have to demean themselves in order to become popular in pop culture.
Pop culture is defined as “cultural activities and commercial products reflecting suited to, or aimed at the tastes of general masses of people (6).” Popular culture when compared to art is considered to be on a lower scale because popular culture has much to do with television, internet, movies, and so forth. Whereas, paintings are considered high class and more upscale because the come from a more artistic approach. I think both pop culture and art are very similar when it comes to images. Both capture images and expressions of artistic meanings the two just display it differently.
With art, images are objects are things that are visible and tangible. They are showed off as spectacles (“anything presented to the sight or view (7).”) to consumers/viewers. The viewing of these artistic pictures is called the gaze. All of these factors make art what it is today; powerful depiction of artistic creation that is absorbed through the lens of today’s society and media.Notes
1)”pedagogy.” Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2014. <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pedagogy?s=t>.
2) Sturken, Marita, and Lisa Cartwright. 2009. Practices of looking: an introduction to visual culture. New York: Oxford University Press: 12-14
3) Sturken, Marita, and Lisa Cartwright. 2009. Practices of looking: an introduction to visual culture. New York: Oxford University Press: 17
4) Sturken, Marita, and Lisa Cartwright. 2009. Practices of looking: an introduction to visual culture. New York: Oxford University Press: 54
5) “sexism.” Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2014. <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sexism?s=t>.
6) Lippard, Lucy. “Doubletake: The Diary of a Relationship with an Image.” (1996): 88. Rpt. inThe Photography Reader.
7) “pop culture.” Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2014. <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pop+culture?s=t>.
8) “spectacles.” Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2014. <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/spectacles?s=t>.