Thursday, 16 December 2010

Task 3 - Essay Proposal

"Video Gaming and it's effects on young children - is it having an effect on the reshaping of modern day society?"

  • Start with an introduction as to the meaning of gaming and it's social effects of the media on children. 
  • Argue that games such as Call of Duty and such like are desensitising children and also bringing about the possibility of increasing violent behaviours in society. 
  • Begin to look at suture and narcissistic identity
    References -  Practices of Looking: an Introduction to Visual
    Culture. Oxford, Oxford University Press.
    Visualizing Theory: Selected Essays from V.A.R. 1990-1994. New
    York, Routledge, pp.363-384.
  • Then argue that cyberculture is reshaping cultural form and behaviour.
    References - Baudrillard, J. (1976) Simulacra and Simulations: the Body in Theory. Ann Arbor, University of Michigan
    The Cybercultures Reader, London, Routledge. (306.24)
    Gibson, W (1984)
    Understanding Media: the Extensions of Man. London, Routledge. (302.23)
    Scott, R. (1982)
  • Conclusion

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Lecture 5 - Hyperreality - Jean Baudrillard

Coke - cognitive illusion - "we taste the branding". We care more about the logo than the product.

Baudrillard (1929 - 2007).
French philosopher, critic, social and cultural theorist, (Pioneering theorist) Post structuralism.

Other included - Bathes, Focault, Cixous, Deleuze, Dirrida.

Structuralism theroists:
Levi Strauss, Bathes, Lacan, Kristera, Leroi-Gourhan, Althusser.

Debord - Marxist theorist. Revised Marx's main concepts to analyse commodity relations in the age of consumer culture. Commodity society had become immense accumulation of spectacles - looking at images and making sense.

Marx - pioneering philosopher and political economic theorist
Developed the critique of political economy.
Capitalist society in the industrial age functions on the basis of the 'labor theory of value' and exchange of commodities.
Capitalism constitutes one kind of mode of production and that it would eventually be replaced by another society - socialist / communist etc.

"All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profound".
Money is an abstraction of value.

Saussure - Linguist and pioneer of semiotics - language functions also on the basis of a theory of value - "linguist value" rather than labour value and basis of exchange (signs) exchange words, signs, images, gives the value of an object. 

Mauss - anthropologist - renowned for the analysis of the economy of the gift.
Explored the idea that gifts are only given as part of an exchange and that the gift always has to be reciprocated in come form.

Bataille - philosopher, novelist. Renowned for his writings on transgression, death and general economy (gift economies, economies based on expenditure without return. E.g. the Potlash.

McLuhan - media theorist who developed the distinction between "hot" and "cool" medias and who argued.

Baudrillard - key works:
Simulacra and Simulation (1981) elaborated hos theory of simulacra - copies of the thing they are intending to represent or stand in for - or - copies of copies. Controversial concept.
Explicitly name checked in the Matrix - ironic postmodern play on themes.

Reflection of the Profound reality - masks and denatures a profound reality.
If there is good there is evil.

3rd masks the absence of a profound reality.
Has no relation to any reality whatsoever - it is it's own pure simulacrum.

Disney character - trying to find the reality - but there is none. Real in the fact it exists.

Santa - hyperreal - real in the fact it exists.
Neither Coke nor Santa are real in the sense of profound reality - pure simulacra - copies of copies.

Why (reality) T.V. is not real - Video editing to make a situation - it is Hyperreal.

Symbolic exchange and death (Baudrillard)
3 orders of simulacra:
The counterfeit - scheme of classical period.
Production - Dominant scheme in industrial era.
Simulation - Dominant scheme in current code - governed phase.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Seminar 3 - The Gaze (notes)

Every glance is a judgement - looking is not a neutral activity and not passive.
Continuous surveying - women by men - men are watching women while women watch themselves being watched. (Direct link to Focault).
Behaviour change - self regulation - acting up to the gaze.

Patriacle gaze - women self regulating - men holding the power.

Hans Memling "Vanity' 1485
Narcosits - Vain obsessed with images - mocking element for being vain - reason - reinforces the idea of men having power over women - image of dominance and subordination. Controlling the idea of female beauty.
Made by a man for the consumption of a man.

Alexandre Cabanel "Birth of Venus"
Idea of idolised body - available - averting eyes - doesn't meet the gaze.
Look is encouraging the viewer to keep looking.
Pure ideology - dominated.

Manet - "Olympia" 1863
More of a reality.
Power relation - different - idea of a women available - never controlled.
Challenging the gaze - closer reality to human relations.

Ingre - "Le Grand Odalisque" 1814
2 gazes - man gazing at women - power control.
West to East - Orientalism - silk sheets - primitive - racist stereotype.
Almost a fantasy.
Cultural gaze.
Face - young and innocent - taken away by the womanly body.
Dominance over children.
Doe eyed look - classical art and seen in Hollywood starlets.

Manet - Bar at the Folies Bergeres 1882.
Literally forced into the position of the man. Seeing it through the eyes of the man.
Not a neutral gaze relationship.
Insists it is the man looking at the woman.

Jeff Wall - "Picture for women" 1979.
Mirror - women looking at him watching her.
He's looking at her.
Audience - we are the camera.
Woman - dismissive / standoffish?
Still a man looking at a woman.
Photography - neutral objective gaze. Seems to be natural and real.
Reminds us - behind the device - person controlling the camera.

Key points - look controlled by men.
Men control society (base).
The camera is an extension of male gaze.
Repeated ideas of women representations.

Lecture 4 - Communication Theory

Core - Lasswell's Maxim.
What we do as designers.
Who says what  to whom.

Traditions of communication theory - 7 different.
Information theory - cybernetic (mathematics / statistics) companies use distribution networks.
Shannon and weaver - Bell Laboratories 1949
Noise source - ability of people to receive.

2nd World War developed (in Bell Lab) - complex systems to predict whether or not information would get to the front lines or not.
Destination - get feedback to the info source. E.g. seminar - understood or not.

3 levels of communication problems.
  • Technical - how accurate?
  • Coding and decoding e.g. English to Chinese translation - how good is it?
  • System compatibility - Apple / PC.
Semantic - precision - how precise in language.
How much of the message cane be lost without the meaning being totally lost?
What language to use?

Effectiveness - does the message affect behaviour?
E.g. fire - people don't move?
What can be done if the required effect fails to happen.

Client ----> Designer ---> Media outlet ----> Audience.

Systems theory
Important - switch around the maths - see it biologically, psychologically ans sociologically.
Interdisciplinary - powerful.

Think about audience - advertisers who will fund need to know who it is they're targeting - so they see if the product is viable and audience is correct.

Semiotics - three basic concepts.
Semantics - address what a sign stands for - Dictionaries (are semantic ref. books) - tell us what a sign means.

Syntactics - relationship between signs - signs rarely stand alone - almost always part of a larger system referred to as codes. Codes are organised rules that designate what different signs stand for.


Signs everywhere - is everything a sign?
e.g. clothing - people trying to decode dress sense when you may have just thrown anything on that day.

Damien Hirst - labels - Liver, Bacon, Onions - taking a product we assume would be for medicine and changing the meaning of the label.
Playing on semiotics.

Move into various areas:
Lacan - semiotics to understand the unconscious.
Psychologically thinking - changes the way we think about the unconscious  - the individual from the idea of the collective.

The rise of the trainer - signing about culture - what is 'cool' - giving status.
Clear indication - object - signal message of status in society.

Advertising uses semiotics a lot. Buy a 'sign' to achieve social status.
Mediated social response can change the meaning of signs. E.g. A few people might not like trainers - people go off them - become not 'cool' anymore.
Code within a code to understand communication.

Codes - only understandable when someone says that is what it is.
E.g. Highway code

Problem - we presume the meaning is clear.

The Phenomenological tradition - very fashionable to look at.
Knowing through experience.
Real phenomenon - makes actual lived experience the basic data of reality.
Problem in today's society - lack of authentic human relationships.
The embodied mind.
Decar - "I think therefore I am"
Justice - 1st ideas to do with in balance (bodily idea).
Bilaterally symmetrical.
Page layout - look at in similar way to how we look at faces:
Biggest area - mouth (look at first)
Look at a page and apply the same techniques.

Issue of interpretation - what does it mean.
Separate from reality (unlike semiotic tradition).
Interested in what is real for the person.
Works on the fact that our mental psyhcology - predicts all the time.

old system
Persuasion - convince people you have something important to say and for them to act on it.
How do I use my body to look powerful?
Language used?
Hyperbole - push ideas to the limit.
Personification - suggests take on an idea - talk about it in such a way it becomes like a real person.
Useful for creating effect.
Problematic - fascists very powerful.
Get it right - affect powerfully.
Pictures without context are meaningless - need to be anchored.
Used at times of great war and conflict.
Metaphor - transfer language that directly compares seemingly unrelated subjects or activities. Simplifies ideas so we remember.
Memory not just about persuasion.

Sociopsychological tradition
3 Key areas:

Individual - how accessible to get information.
External - type and efficiency of information coming to the individual.
Change the pattern / shape/ space. Change the meaning
As animals we have "laid a grid" over the world - to survive.

Sociocultural tradition.
Defining yourself in terms of your identity.
Part of a group and this group - frames your cultural identity.

Difficult to decode - due to context.
Context is seen as being crucial to form meanings of communication.
Sociolinguistics - study of language and culture.
Power structures - how they effect us. Effects how we communciate.