Area of Study 1 - Representation On completion of this unit, students should be able to describe the construction of specific media representations and explain how the process of representation reproduces the world differently from the direct experience of it.
Area of Study 1 - RepresentationKey knowledge• Media representation and its relationship to the selection and construction of reality in various media forms• The nature of codes and conventions evident in media productions, and the meanings they create• The nature and role of audiences in reading media representations• notions of ‘realism’ in media texts• Representations within the context of values such as those related to gender, age, ethnicity, culture and socioeconomic status• The influence of institutional and social practices on the nature of representations, and their availability and accessibility• Representations within the context of media history and culture, including the emergence and development of stereotypes, styles and generic conventions within media
Unit 1 – Representation and Technologies of RepresentationKey Skills• Describe representations in media texts• Compare the construction of representations in a range of media texts and across media forms• Use concepts of representation, selection, omission and construction in the evaluation of media texts• Discuss how audiences make judgments about how realism is represented in specific media texts• Analyse representations within the context of institutional practices, media history and cultural values.
REPRESENTATION LIFE CYCLE Selection & Selection & Omission Omission Author Audience(Sender) Rep (Receiver) Values Values Using Codes & Using Codes & Conventions Conventions Cultural & Cultural & Historical Historical Context Symbolic Symbolic Context Audio Audio Technical Technical Written Written
DEFINITIONThe act of ‘re-presenting’ or attempting todepict reality. The creator constructs arepresentation that attempts to portray reality;this is mediated in a number of ways by theprocess of selection, omission, construction, andinterpretation by the receiver.
TYPES OF REPRESENTIONRepresentations can appear in many differentforms. They can depict:• Individuals (celebrities, historical figures)• Social groupings (families, ethnic groups)• Institutions (the law)• Ideas (freedom)• Events (war)• Issues (terrorism)
REPRESENTATION & MEANINGAn image does not carry meaning in itself; it isthe reader that creates meaning within animage.The audience plays an essential role in thecreation of meaning behind a representation.Audiences read and interpret a representationbased on a number of factors.
CONNOTATION & DENOTATION• Connotation is the meaning is attached to an object• Denotation is the name attached to an object
SYMBOLIC & CULTURAL CODES• Meaning is also attached to images through references to, and within, culture or society.• Meanings are specific to the society or culture in which they are viewed.• Meaning is attached via what Barthes called a ‘cultural code’, which is knowledge gained from living in, absorbing and consuming products of a culture.
COLOUR CONNOTATIONRed Power, excitement, energy, and physical courage.Green Money, envy, environment, Mother Earth, universal love and youth.Blue Trust, integrity, and communicationPurple Quality, luxury, and decadenceBlack Glamour, sophistication, exclusivityGold Wealth and prestigeYellow Happiness, optimism and friendlinessOrange Fun, playful and joyful social interactionPink Love, nurturing, and caring (light pink); sex appeal (brighter pink)Brown Warmth, safety, reliability, and dependability
CODES & CONVENTIONSThe word ‘code’ refers to any system of signsthat are used to communicate meaning.‘Conventions’ are well-established ways ofconstructing texts.
Representation & Gender• An audience’s reading of gender can be influenced by the technical codes used to construct a representation• Veiwers tend to see women in the media products from the male point of view• Seeing the male’s point of view in this way is know as the ‘male gaze’. The audience sees what he sees and identifies with him
Representation & Ethnicity• Representations can reveal a lot about the attitudes and values of the society towards ethnicity• Postcolonialism, the study of the cultural aftermath of colonial rule, explores the effects on a society after experiencing a period of foreign control• Edward Said argued that Europe has defined itself at the centre, with all others as outsiders• Terms such as ‘the East’ defined other cultures by their relationship to Europe as the centre
Activity1. Create a table2. Look at the following advertisment3. Write down the denotative and connotative contentDenotative Content Connotative ContentThe man is wearing a dark suit, white He is wealthy and has a high-payingshirt and a brown and black striped tie job: he is a businessmanThe man has short brown hair that is He is a conservative person who has toslightly combed to one side look ‘respectable.’ As the cut is no longer in fashion, it suggests that the ad is from the 80s
Codes & Conventions• Systems of generally accepted signs that help create and communicate meaning• Audio/Visual codes can be categorised into four: – Index – Symbolic – Written – Audio – Technical * Codes don’t work in isolation *
Index Signs• Index - An Index signs is a sign where there is a direct link between the sign and the object. The meaning is derived from the context/situation in which the sign is read.• The majority of traffic signs are Index signs, as they represent information that relates to a location.
Index Signs• Colours are frequently used to reference meaning, but the context in which a colour is perceived plays a big part in the meaning it carries (Indexical)• Write down two different meanings for each of the colours below and two different contexts/settings that change the meaning: – Black – White – Blue – Red – Green
Symbolic Codes• A symbol has no logical meaning between it and the object• Flags are symbols that represent countries or organisations• Film clips often operate by using symbolism to communicate meaning• Watch the film clip ‘November Rain’ and write down as many symbolic references under the headings of: – Props & Costume – Setting – Colours
Props & Symbolic Setting Symbolic Colours SymbolicCostumes meaning meaning meaningBroken Sinner not saint Derelict Abandoned by Grey Danger/sadnessCrucifix house God to comeEmpty Drowning Rain Foreboding Red Passion, love,whiskey sorrows tragedy/ sadness life, irreversiblebottle damageShort Lustful bride, Church Loss (death), Joy Black Mourningwedding Passionate (marriage)dress relationship White Loss of vitalitySmoking Wild/fearless Lifestyle Or stupidity depending on Values*Casket Death
Written Codes• Can be very powerful at creating meaning• Almost impossible for text on screen not to be read• Written statements are credible as our culture respects the written word• Can intro setting, time, place or work to anchor the meaning of an image• What is written (How it is written = Technical Code)
• How important is setting/context in the way codes are read by an audience?• Choose one code and provided a different meaning by deconstructing it from a different perspective
Written Codes• The following is the film clip Everybody Hurts by R.E.M. – How have they used written codes? – What effect does it have? – How did it make you feel? – In what other ways could this technique be used? – Same video, different text = changed meaning
Written Codes anchor meaningThis image of a Big Mac could have any number of meanings depending of theit appears with.Write a caption that clearly anchors the meaning of this image.E.g. Take a good look because you won’t see this when you buy one.
Audio Codes• Audio codes are used to enhance the illusion of reality. The filmmaker can use music, sound effects or dialogue to assist in this deception, even though these sounds weren’t present when shooting took place.• Diegetic Audio – Audio that takes place in the world of the representation. The characters can hear it, react and interact with it.• Non-diegetic Audio – Audio that takes place outside the world of the representation. Only the audience can hear it.
TV & Movie ThemesTrack 1 – Raiders of the Lost Ark Track 5 – Pulp Fiction (adventure) (crime/thriller)Track 2 - E.T. Track 6 - Schindler’s List (family/adventure) (biography/drama/history) Track 3 – Halloween Track 7 - The Crow (horror/thriller) (action/fantasy/thriller) Track 4 – Monty Python and the Holy Grail Track 8 – The Godfather (comedy) (crime/drama)
Duck Amuck• Often, we take audio codes for granted, accepting that what we hear is just what should be heard. What about when we watch an animated cartoon when all we’re watching are thousands of drawings providing the illusion of reality? How are the audio codes used then? In this Warner Brother’s cartoon, notice how – Music – Sound effects & – Dialogue are all used to construct reality and to make the audience aware that it operates under different conventions.
Technical Codes• Codes of the profession, these codes are the techniques of construction• They can be broken down into any of these production elements: – Camera – Lighting – Editing – Mise en scene/Visual Composition
Technical Codes• Tech codes are interested in the reasons behind certain shots / composition / lights / editing has been used
The Matrix• In groups, examine: – Camera – Mise en scene – Lighting – Editing What has been used? Why has it been used? What meaning does it communicate?
Stereotypes• An oversimplified version of a representation is called a stereotype. These can often be quite negative as they don’t give a detailed, accurate portrayal of the truth• These representations are used mostly in advertising
Stereotypes• Stereotypes are quick and easy to use, as they are easily assembled and easily understood – Write down a group of commonly stereotyped people – Write down five stereotypical objects/qualities that could be used to identify them – Beware the Wog – The Late Show
Values• Society is held together by beliefs and ideals• Values are ideas that people hold to be ‘true’ or ‘important’ and society reflects these beliefs• Media products reflect these beliefs as they are created within a particular time and society• Values are expressed as attitudes towards an idea, e.g. Education is important