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Propaganda
 

Propaganda

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A thorough presentation on the way propaganda has been consciously and subconsciously influencing humanity through the ages.

A thorough presentation on the way propaganda has been consciously and subconsciously influencing humanity through the ages.

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  • Propaganda has infiltrated our lives. We live in a world informed by image and text, which is confirmed in current mass production, displayed through media. The market is fuelled not so much by the product on offer, as by the way in which it’s offered. Companies are running up against each other in their struggle to overpower the public with a more attractive design, or catchy slogan. The cover of a CD, the TV commercial or even the packaging of frozen pizza all stems from one source – visual language. The world seems to revolve around public opinion, gracefully swinging its direction trying to suit every whim of the modern society. In reality the business is all about manipulation – the question is to what extent is art involved in the collaborative making of advertisement and propaganda? Is the artist guilty or even implicated of subconsciously ‘selling out’? There are many discrepancies found between advertisement and propaganda. Both have an agenda – but advertisement seeks to sell products, connecting with the consumer and encouraging them to make a choice. Propaganda tends to be slightly more sinister, as it is directed at brainwashing the public rather that simply convincing it. Fascists and Communists took propaganda to the extent of terror – by forcing their opinions on the public, propaganda was used to spread the message which would aid the fascists/terrorists/telemarketers (delete as appropriate) to dictate the rules of life to the public. However much unnoticed, art is the main drive behind both propaganda and advertisement. Where would these two be without the origins of imagery which must lay with the artist? Perhaps because art has constantly provided the visual language for advertisement and propaganda, it has become devalued and ‘cheapened’ by its association and therefore creativity is viewed as a ‘marketing skill’. It requires great skill to combine an image with text in such a manner that it could be viewed and assessed in one glance, convincing an audience of both literates and illiterates. The structure of such an image should involve a great deal of thought with relation to layout, colour combination and of course a clever slogan to bind it all together. There is good and evil in this world, and that is why there is propaganda. After all, the customer is always right…

Propaganda Propaganda Presentation Transcript

  • Propaganda “ The most powerful tool in molding the nature and the thinking of the new, the modern man is propaganda .” - Schulze-Wechsungen
    • Propaganda
    • has infiltrated our lives. We live in a world informed by image and text , which is confirmed in current mass production, displayed through media. The market is fuelled not so much by the product on offer , as by the way in which it’s offered. Companies are rubbing up against each other in their struggle to overpower the public with a more attractive design, or catchy slogan. The cover of a CD, the TV commercial or even the packaging of frozen pizza all stems from one source – visual language . The world seems to revolve around public opinion, gracefully swinging its direction trying to suit every whim of the modern society. In reality the business is all about manipulation – the question is to what extent is art involved in the collaborative making of advertisement and propaganda? Is the artist guilty or even implicated of subconsciously ‘selling out ’?
    Viewer detracts negative message through falsely positive visuals
  • There are many discrepancies found between advertisement and propaganda. Both have an agenda – but advertisement seeks to sell products, connecting with the consumer and encouraging them to make a choice. Propaganda tends to be slightly more sinister, as it is directed at brainwashing the public rather that simply convincing it.
    • It requires great skill to combine an image with text in such a manner that it could be viewed and assessed in one glance, convincing an audience of both literates and illiterates. The structure of such an image should involve a great deal of thought with relation to layout, colour combination and of course a clever slogan to bind it all together. There is good and evil in this world, and that is why there is propaganda. After all, the customer is always right…
    Fascists and Communists took propaganda to the extent of terror – by forcing their opinions on the public, propaganda was used to spread the message which would aid the fascists/terrorists/telemarketers (delete as appropriate) to dictate the rules of life to the public. However much unnoticed, art is the main drive behind both propaganda and advertisement. Where would these two be without the origins of imagery which must lay with the artist? Perhaps because art has constantly provided the visual language for advertisement and propaganda, it has become devalued and ‘cheapened’ by its association and therefore creativity is viewed as a ‘marketing skill’.
    • Propaganda has become such a familiar force in our lives we barely recognize it as such, but “ propaganda can be as blatant as a swastika or as subtle as a joke” [1] . A variety of art with a clear political purpose, imagery sells ideas as well as products . It was a crucial factor and almost instigator in raising public support for government action in WWI and WWII, a powerful tool which controlled the masses by influencing group attitudes, manipulating political beliefs and forcing the authorities’ opinion on them, earning the title ‘psychological warfare’. This proved to be the most powerful attribute in the military, as it was easy access to a firm grip on power. But throughout my research I was miserably left with the following questions. Firstly, what made propaganda so powerful ? What was the logic behind the creation of propaganda, and to put it simply, is propaganda evil?
    • [ 1 ] Aaaron Schwener, Propaganda Critic
    • “ A weapon without limits, that thunders more loudly than cannon fire, that is more destructive than a gas attack .”
    • Schulze-Wechsungen
    Proletarians of the world, Unite!! [not an option]
  • This Means YOU !
    • Propaganda is omnipotent . The daily products we buy the images we see on TV, billboards, slogans. But to what extent is society manipulated? As Anthony Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson point out , "every day we are bombarded with one persuasive communication after another. These appeals persuade not through the give-and-take of argument and debate, but through the manipulation of symbols and of our most basic human emotions. For better or worse, ours is an age of propaganda.“
      • Commercialism and propaganda have always lived side by side. Professional designers have found various means of incorporating art into advertisement. The unique quality of propaganda is the fact that it can easily reach mass audiences , by combining an attractive design with a clever slogan, so that information can be read in a single glance . The artist selects the information he wants to put across, thus calling the attention of the media in a simple and effective way. One of the questions that has always arisen when analyzing propaganda, is the following: is there a particular style that art adopts when it has a propagandistic direction? I concluded that the style depends on each artist, but there are specific stylistic traits when it comes to propaganda. Context and scale would probably be the most important aspect of the artwork, as it’s responsible for absorbing the viewer. Collage has also been known to have a persuasive effect [see images of Barbara Kruger].
  • Persuasive? I think yes. WWI Recruitment poster designed by the Creel Committee
    • A good example of propaganda is found in the juxtaposition of word and image in Barbara Kruger's highly recognizable work. She worked for 12 years as a designer and photo editor for Conde Nast publications. Her work shows snappy and humorous slogans, which connect to the viewer combined with the black and white fragmented and enlarged photographs appropriated from various media.
    • A design I selected which clearly shows the marketing upgrade of a product is the energy drink Shark. Upon investigation I discovered that the Minale Tattersfield Design Strategy went through a long analysis procedure and creative proposals to achieve the design that represents Shark today. The designers realized that the first label of the drink was small and dated, and “looked as if it contained medicine”. After selecting the winning design the energy drink immediately became a hit all over the world, which once again shows the power of art and design present in advertisement .
    Kruger ‘slices’ the viewer through snappy slogans
  • Juxtaposition of word an image , Barbara Kruger Striking use of colour and composition
    • “ Never has anyone ruled on this earth by basing his rule essentially on any other thing than public” [ 1]
    • The public has proved to be the target audience of propaganda artists. Putting forward an argument is not powerful enough; to appeal to the general public artists design posters and banners based on social, moral and political issues . Artists have come to use the ‘form’ of propaganda as a stylistic trait. But just how powerful is the image? The fact that the human eye can assess the image and the slogan at a single glance, evaluate the information presented and, based upon the coded terms of the image decide in favour or against it, demonstrates how propaganda is the systematic manipulation of public opinion .
    • [1] Jose Ortega y Gasset
    • The expression ’Propaganda art’ is a contradiction in term [1] -, wrote Riverta in “Resto”, his essay on controlling the public opinion. As this statement is greatly controversial, let us first compare the two. Propaganda seeks to influence and inform. It has an agenda, and it is following a commissioned ‘ideology’, it needs visuals and who better to employ than the artist? The statement could be considered partly true, as propaganda involves persuasion, intimidation, and deception. The viewer’s opinion is formed before he has time to assess and reflect the propaganda image. Art on the other hand is pure, it is a visual expression or record of human experience, art implies the personal reflection of an artist, it is the impression of the artist on his work, and art is free, without pre-defined boundaries. The viewer is not manipulated by the image, he is able to make his own judgments.
    • [1] John Riverta – Resto
    • The statement could also be greatly argued, as the word art itself implies creation, or the mastering of something, therefore the “art of propaganda” is self-explicable. To create propaganda the artists needs not only the ability to reflect to the moods and necessities emerging from the marketplace and the evolution of the contemporary society, but also special art skills which are essential in combining a visual image. Despite the fact that the word propaganda is in itself somewhat sinister, it cannot possibly contradict the meaning of art. Art is toil and creation as much as creativity and one of the definitions of the word art is “skill”, which is the basic driving force behind propaganda – the skill of communication and persuasion.
    which are essential in combining a visual image. Despite the fact that the word propaganda is in itself somewhat sinister, it cannot possibly contradict the meaning of art. Art is toil and creation as much as creativity and one of the definitions of the word art is “skill”, which is the basic driving force behind propaganda – the skill of communication and persuasion. The expression ’Propaganda art’ is a contradiction in term [1] -, wrote Riverta in “Resto”, his essay on controlling the public opinion. As this statement is greatly controversial, let us first compare the two. Propaganda seeks to influence and inform. It has an agenda, and it is following a commissioned ‘ideology’, it needs visuals and who better to employ than the artist? The statement could be considered partly true, as propaganda involves persuasion, intimidation, and deception . The viewer’s opinion is formed before he has time to assess and reflect the propaganda image. Art on the other hand is pure, it is a visual expression or record of human experience, art implies the personal reflection of an artist, it is the impression of the artist on his work, and art is free, without pre-defined boundaries. The statement could also be greatly argued, as the word art itself implies creation, or the mastering of something, therefore the “art of propaganda” is self-explicable. To create propaganda the artists needs not only the ability to reflect to the moods and necessities emerging from the marketplace and the evolution of the contemporary society, but also special art skills
  • And to this day … ...And to this day Discovered 15 centuries ago , the power of identifying sin continues. Morals remain, though greatly subdued and diluted. Desire remains and is greatly exploited. There is a saying nowadays in Canada, that we treat sloth with anti-depressants, CEOs are shamed by charges of outrageous greed, pride is a recipe for success, anger is a behavioral management issue, lust is on every billboard and gluttony is an eating disorder . Humanities common experience can be defined within the 7 deadly sins.
  • Gods of lust? Aphrodite and Adonis by A.Blomaert
    • The biggest corporate giants who have manipulated the public opinion are the sugar, oil and tobacco conglomerates, giving contemporary propaganda the job of spreading consumer capitalism . This shows that the designers are playing on people’s primary desires. The food producers offer an extra amount included in their products, manipulating society by its greed and because of their profits (the food companies). The banks make colorful and animated programs to put forward the idea that by investing money in them, the clients will receive discounts. The travel agencies offer longer holidays... Sloth The advertising companies are obviously speaking to the desires rather than to pure logic. Slowly the idea of the 7 deadly sins starts to creep in, as analogous to the 14th century beliefs; they are the
    • primary factors which form the connection between a consumer and a producer . Now more than ever, the products are altering to respond to the changing society, resulting in companies twisted in a fierce competition to promote their product. Are they just using the 7 deadly sins to win the public’s favor, using textual and visual references to brainwash the society? Campolo (1987/1989), a sociologist, has described sins as [1] "attitudes, emotions, and states of mind [that] condition our behaviour in ways that are destructive to ourselves and to those who are around us." To what extent does an interaction with the visual world rest on our desires and emotive connotations?
    • [1] Campolo (1987/1989), www.vocationalpsychology.com
    • The interests of ordinary people – implying their greedy, selfish and lazy instincts? It is interesting to note how many masterpieces include emotion and desire in their composition. Human emotion is instinctive. Most often than not, our actions are based on lust, greed, sloth, etc. How does art depict this human struggle ? How does it affect people’s opinion? Could an image contain enough power to not just call the attention of someone, but to influence their thoughts and decisions? What elements must an image contain, and what’s the trick behind manipulating through imagery? Is life based on people’s actions controlled by the 7 Deadly Sins ?
    • “ What is desperately needed, increasingly so, is art that mirrors the interest of ordinary people and ceases to be decoration; choose this reflection well.”
    • Denis Diderot (1713-84)
    Billboard, New York City
  • 7 Deadly sins
    • The Seven Deadly Sins were born in the sixth century, described by Pope Gregory the Great in his Moralia in Job . These sins were different from venial sins, which could be forgiven by the church. These sins were called ‘deadly’ because they could have a fatal effect on an individual’s spiritual health. Spiritually pure art , such as British wall paintings stressed the connection between committing the Deadly Sins and ending up in Hell. Art was – and still is – used to depict the raw side of humanity, such as Pride, Envy, Anger, Avarice, Sloth, Gluttony and Lust . Upon my research I have discovered that the 7 deadly sins were not only a favourite human activity, but also a favoured subject for artists, such as Michelangelo and Norman Rockwell.
    Brita Seifert, Oil on canvas.
  • Left: Art of Threes, Measuring Tape Photography by Lucille Keller Right: Hieronymous Bosch. Oil on panel “ The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things”
  •  
  • “ Now it is bihovely thing to telle whiche been the sevene deedly synnes, this is to seyn, cheefaynes of synnes. Alle they renne in o lees, but in deiverse manneres. Now been they cleped chieftaynes, for as muche as they been chief and spryng of all othere synnes. Geoffrey Chaucer – The Canterbury Tales Baccus, by Caravaggio The god of wine was often the perfect image of sloth ; artists depicted him lying down surrounded by wine, food and women
    • Chaucer successfully mocked his contemporary society, which believed that these sins were the instigators of all other human sins, and the source of all evil . Furthermore Chaucer outlined the popular belief of his time that women were inferior to men, and made them the object of all scorn and deception in his Tales. Similarly, 14th century artists featured the 7 deadly sins in their paintings, depicting women as the imperturbable source of sin, following the story of the Garden of Eden. George Pencz, a 16th century artist made a set of wooden engravings featuring animals to depict sin. This set of anthropomorphic images was
    • complex enough to cover all aspects of immorality, yet “ simple and memorable enough to
    • inspire guilt in an illiterate peasant ” [2] , which is reminiscent of the techniques of propaganda. The symbolic characters of the Seven Deadly Sins can be traced through generations in the cultural history of humankind, being directly specified in certain artistic
    • products. In art, the 7 deadly sins often took on the image of a tree, obviously borrowed from
    • the biblical Garden of Eden. The Wheel of the Ten Ages of Man from the Lisle Psalter, shows the different stages in a humans life, and the different sins he commits throughout his time on earth. The punishment for these sins was severe and cruel, which went against the
    • whole idea of sins, as surely throwing a human in cauldrons of boiling oil for being greedy was a slight overreaction? Michelangelo used classic realism to show the immorality of humans. From his works we can often notice a woma n seducing a man . Other artists preferred more simplified brushstrokes, and memorable compositions. One of Bosch's earliest known works, [view previous page] depicts the 7 Deadly sins through scenes of worldly transgression arranged in a circular shape. This work reflects the style and preoccupation which would later come to be considered characteristic of him.
    • [2] http://deadlysins.com/sins/history.html
  • Simple yet striking. Wooden engravings by George Peincz
  •  
  • Lars-Erik Forsberg Wayne Thiebaud Gluttony
  • Jenny Saville captures the frustration of Gluttony The rape of Ganymede, Rubens A blend of human rawness. Lust ? Vengeance ?
    • It would be unfair to condemn society for succumbing to temptation . It has always existed in some form or another, and always will, and it is the nature of humans to give in to attractive temptations. Art renders humanity and history immortal, and through art we can follow previous generations climbing the stairway of evolution. It is often questioned why the number of the deadly sins is 7; [1] “After three, seven is the number of greatest religious significance in ancient Judaism”. God made the world in six days and rested on the seventh, hallowing it. The number seven consequently had connotations of completeness or perfection. It was also significant in the Ancient World , associated with the seven planets, the seven ages of man and the Seven Wonders of the World. Consequently the number 7 is present everywhere just like propaganda and the deadly sins .
    • [1] ”Kirschbaum (1972), IV, 154.