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Visual Culture: spectatorship, power and knowledge


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Visual Culture: spectatorship, power and knowledge

  1. 1.    Why do we put so much believe and power in the image? Why we allow image to exercise power of indoctrination and persuasion over us? What make images so fascinating and so attractive for the viewers?
  2. 2.     It is not enough to experience world around us. We need to be able to represent it Cartesian (from Descartes) understanding of the world emphasizes the power and centrality of the individual. Subject or Individual is the central figure of modernity.
  3. 3. Mirror Stage Separation between infant and his mother/caregiver. Acquisition of the sense of self The toddler is over optimistic about his abilities Result the conflict between the actual subject and the subjects sense of self.
  4. 4.    1. the roles of the unconscious and desire in viewing practices 2. the role of looking the formation of the human subjects as such 3. the ways that looking is always a relational activity and not simply a mental activity.
  5. 5.  Significance of Las Meninas     Unstable system of representation Gaze and power changes depending on the position, and subjects awareness Gaze or look is always dialogical, e.g. the gaze is always returned even by objects Proves the ideas of interpellation-through the gaze or look the object can interpellate the human subject as message: a call, an address, an appeal.
  6. 6.    Discourse =myth Discourse of madness Discourse of gender
  7. 7.    Hence the major effect of the Panopticon: to induce in the inmate a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures the automatic functioning of power. The inmates should be caught up in a power situation of which they are themselves the bearers. To achieve this, it is at once too much and too little that the prisoner should be constantly observed by an inspector: too little, for what matters is that he knows himself to be observed; too much, because he has no need in fact of being so.
  8. 8.  Surveillance cameras
  9. 9.  Control and power over bodies
  10. 10.  Edward Sheriff Curtis, The North American Indian, ca. 1903.
  11. 11. The power of binary oppositions White/Black Man/Woman Straight/Gay center / margins normal / deviant natural / unnatural self / other truth / fiction 
  12. 12.  The painting is an icon: a generic and seemingly timeless signifier of classical female beauty.
  13. 13.    Outside of changing tastes and conventions Timeless and recognized fact Absolute truth
  14. 14.     Mirror constructs the self The self as an organized and whole entity imitates the image in the mirror. Mirror can be an image The self organizes its identity around the images that are being shown.
  15. 15.       Film =suspense of the disbelief Film is like a dream, when watching we are allowed to project our forbidden feelings, desires Identifications with the hero Eye and gaze are split Eye (I) is mistaking realization that one is independent Gaze seeks unification with the other
  16. 16.   The final paper (aprox. 8 pages plus bibliography) will analyze an object (artwork, advertisement, video, movie still, or film) not reproduced in the textbook and not covered in the lectures. The work will be discussed in terms of material covered in the course. You will be expected to bring in at least four other images, objects, or other materials that constitute visual culture with similar subject matter or function for comparison. At least one of your comparisons must date from before 1900, one must be from no earlier than 1950, and one must be from a culture other than Europe or the United States (Global North). Readings from the course and original research will be used to elucidate the subject you have chosen. Bibliography should include at least 7 academic sources excluding the textbook.