soo this week was all about visual culture and politics, and we moved into mechanical reproduction and digital imaging.
Also, this week didn’t interest me TOO much, but it is probably because i am not too interested in politics, but the content was interesting regardless.
The first topic we covered and read about was propaganda. I really liked the first image that Prof. Cronin showed us in lecture. It touched on the topic covered in the reading, that sometimes, images are reproduced to be a metaphor for something bigger. In the image by John Hartfield, hitler is about to butcher a chicken and another man is whispering to the chicken: ‘Don’t worry, he’s a vegetarian’. This was representing how Hitler lied during his reign and how he could not be trusted. THEN, we were shown the opposite, photos portraying Hitler in a positive light. In 1932, Hitler had hired Heinrich Hoffman to take documentary photos of him and publish them in a book so the Germans could see him as a regular man. We were told that this worked because Hitler had not reached his peak as a dictator.
This got me thinking of examples of this in today’s society, seeing how we just had an election. But i think propaganda like this is used more in bigger elections, such as electing the prime minister. This crossed paths with another theme brought up in the reading; how the difference between image and cinema/tv is becoming harder to point out. These two forms of media are fusing with each other with images being shown on tv and such. Back to the propaganda issue; many times, commercials against or for a candidate rarely shows video of that candidate, but more often, still pictures are shown of that candidate giving a speech or with a group of people.
Now, i know i am using the term ‘propaganda’ in the way that we are most familiar with, but it does not just refer to politics but it is term to describe ‘ media that sets out to persuade the masses’, so it can be applied to adversitising and such things. But, in today’s society, where we have the internet that can often give us facts and truths about a subject or a person, does propagande truly work? Are people still easily persuaded even though they can go on the internet to see if something is true? People either have such strong opinions, or seem to be indifferent; therefore, i don’t think propagands has such an influence anymore.
I also wanted to touch on the subjects of appropriation and proliferation, but this post is getting pretty long.
- appropriation is where a symbol is emptied of its original meaning and used for something else. For example, a symbol once worn by homosexuals to point them out is now an anti-aids symbol. I think this is a great idea because the symbol was already well known. In this case, it was interesting how the triangle meant something tragic (pointing out homosexuals just as Jewish people were pointed out) and turned into something positive (anti-aids) with the original and new meaning still relating to each other
- proliferation is the excessive spread of something, in this case, an image. The proliferation of images allows images to be reproduced and accompanied with different types of text, that can drastically change the meaning of the photo. Companies can put any text they want with the image, because the image can be interpreted many different ways, such as the example in the readings about the malboro man.