We are a sensory species. Stare at an image of children smiling long enough and you might catch yourself slowly starting to form a smile. Through the power of images life becomes interrelated. Cultures can bond over images and form relationships on an international scale. Popular culture is especially susceptible to the power of images. As the consumers of popular culture we form a relationship with the objects we view along with the people we view it with.
Media has the power to change the dynamics of men and women as well, through the media sexism has been exploited. On the other side of that recently in media women have used that power to overcome the sexist stereotypes that have plagued society.
Through our senses we learn and through television, the landscape of how information is represented has changed dramatically. “Although images have what we call dominant or shared meanings, they can also be interpreted and used in ways that do not conform to these meanings…rather, an image “speaks” to specific sets of viewers who happen to be tuned into some aspect of the image, such as style, content, the world it constructs, or the issues it raises.”1
“Seeing is no longer believing. The very notion of truth has been put into crisis. In a world bloated with images we are finally learning that photographs do indeed lie.”2 Experience through images is what defines our personalities. We are a collective group of experiences and DNA tightly packaged together in a nervous system.
“Understood in its totality, the spectacle is both the result and the project of the present mode of production. It is not a mere supplement or decoration added to the real world, it is the very heart of this real society’s unreality. In all of its particular manifestations — news, propaganda, advertising, entertainment — the spectacle is the model of the prevailing way of life. It is the omnipresent affirmation of the choices that have already been made in the sphere of production and in the consumption implied by that production. In both form and content the spectacle serves as a total justification of the conditions and goals of the existing system. The spectacle is also the constant presence of this justification since it monopolizes the majority of the time spent outside the production process.”3
1. Sturken, Karita; Cartwright, Lisa. “Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture.” Viewers Make Meaning
2. Krueger, Barbara. “Arts and Leisure.” Remote Control. N.p.: n.p., 1993. 1989
3. Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle “Chapter One: the Culmination of Separation” (Feb. 17, 2014) http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/debord/1.htm
Professor Meredith Goncalves
Imagery & Culture
Feb. 18, 2014