Saturday, 12 December 2009

Lecture 6: Globalisation, Sustainability & the Media

The three main focus points to understand of this lecture:
1. Globalisation
2. Geopolitics
3. Dream Philosophy

This Lecture seemed to have a deep political underbelly which I found hard to grasp. Globalisation can be seen in two ways, the Socialist point of view where societies work together in both an industrial and cultural way and Capitalist where restrictions on business are removed. But a large part of globalisation is influenced by western culture regardless. Culture globalisation of western ideas is especially controversial when it come to race, is it true that west is more dominant over east? We in the west seek to be more 'cultured' whereas the people in the east could seek to become more like the west due to their technological advancements. Western culture globalisation could be seen in race where skin lightening creams are used in asian culture to be more like white people, this would surely support ideas on the 'White Beauty Myth', which I recently looked at in a Channel 4 documentary. Culture globalisation especially in the way of technology is becoming an extension of our senses in the way how we human interact with the world around us today, everything is influenced by technology and in doing so has made us more aware of the world itself and our responsibilities. Through this economic rationalisation and cultural dominance of westernisation, our comodities are built without concern inspite of their 'good intent' and so we hear about these everyday, such as the cutting down of trees to make tissue paper or Ikea pencils. Hence the Global Village Thesis, information at your fingertips, the internet and information readily available at your fingertips, mass production and the world in a form of economic unity.
Eventually the lecture bagan to look at the theory of green washing a form of media ideology used to disguise the reality and appear more 'Green'. Mcdonald's is a fantastic example, their recent visual style turning subtley using greens now within their interior and exterior decor, to somehow appear more friendly to the environment, ultimately luring customers as an environmentally friendly option to their competitors.

The idea nowadays of using green on packaging especially in Graphic Design become less about what is real, most packaging is still harmful to the environment and ends up in landfill. to quote the richard in the lecture, "Most things are not designed for the needs of people but for the manufacturer of the needs of people." Simply using the term recycable somehow translates to people that something is good? Earth tones, sans serif type, unbleached paper, and emotional messaging are essential components of the deceptive marketing techniques employed by corporations that rebrand their products. "Be selfish while appearing progressive," the unknowing consumer. These ideals are western based and so through countries seeking to modernise through cultural imperialisation take on these western principles of being falsely 'Green'.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Lecture 5: Reality, Virtuality & Hyperreality

Out of all the lectures we have done this was the most hard to understand of them all, discussing the effect of the collapse of ideas of modern utopianism in the vietnam war, consumerism, colonialism,the cold war and the watergate scandal. In all honesty I did not understand.
The lecture looked at representation on the idea of a simulacra, an example would be paintings and religious depictions Jesus, which could be construed as an imitation of life looking at life beyond death, a sudo-reality. These depictions create icons which in graphic design terms could be used as a persuasion to make something appeal to a certain point of view, like in semiotics. The point being that inspite being unrealistic they are continuing depictions of iconography, wishful thinking. Another example of a simulacra is Disney depictions of life such as the castle, it is in fact a world of appearance where there is no visual reality, except of course for the real castle which is based on the fictional idea of the Disney castle. It is a version of reality which exists within a real world, yet its still remains fictional because it is not real. BigBrother could also be seen as a version of reality, the way we live our modern life can be viewed almost as if we were above in a different reality watching another.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Lecture 4: Communications Theory

For this particular lecture is focused on a variety of theories in critical thinking and some information seemed to prove useful on looking at methodologies of communication for the dissertation and the essay this year. It was interesting, the lecture was opened with the quote, "Who says what to whom in what channel with what effect." (Lassnfle's Maxim) summing up the lecture as a whole about picking out and understanding an image or form of communication.

The theories of communication that we looked at were:
1. Cybernetic Theory
2. Semiotics
3. Phenomological Tradition
4. Rhetorical
5. Sociopsychological
6. Sociocultural
7. Critical Communication Theory

Having looked at semiotics last year as an idea of studying hidden signs and such to convey images both consciously and sub-consciously I had a good understanding of this already, looking in the lecture at examples such as packaging of medicine and how the language and complex structures of wording make something seem more structured and sophisticated. Also looking at foreign food produce which when bought in britain seems to which the consumer believes is a more 'cultured' and sophisticated product, having looked at semiotics last year i feel i have a good grasp and appreciate the idea that signs and such may be hidden within advertising but as a consumer myself I find the idea that advertising contain hidden, sometimes sexual imagery, hard to believe.
One of the other subjects that I thought of as interesting which was new to myself was Cybernetics Theory. This design this theory although quite hard to explain looks at effective communication in design and how the process from design, to media outlet to audience is made. One of the key elements which was discussed was the concept of 'noise' which can interfere with the process and often confuse or create a different perception. Whether this be deliberate and link to the idea of greenwashing I thought this was quite interesting how the idea of noise and deliberate side-tracking could be used to disguise reality.

Phenomological Tradition and Rhetorical both deal with some degree of personification and are theorys which i found very interesting and somewhat agree with. Relating specifcally to the viewer and particular personal experiences i am very interested in design that is personal but in mass production which somehow forms a unique connection to the viewer which is made to entice. Rhetorical theory where use of propeganda is used to persuade people through point of view useing rhetorical imagery such as charities where a sympathy vote connection to the viewer is used. This connection can be used even though it may bear no connection to the actual viewer an example would be playing an advert about the RSPCA dog appeal even though the some of the audience doesn't even have a dog it automatically taps into audience by creating links from previous experience or memory maybe not even to do with a dog but even a pet cat.
Among other theorys the lecture was really interesting.

[Below]: Tapping into a sociocultural use of advertising, Yorkshire being the definition of a sociocultural context associating the product with a place which creates 'good' association of the brand based on the audiences personal experience. It is how the world shapes us and how the world is perceived to us.

[Useful External References]:
Semiotics - The language of Medicine - B.E Litowitz (1991), Semiotic Perspectives on Clinical Theory and Practice: Medicine, Neuropsychiatry, and Psychoanalysis (Approaches to Semiotics)
Cybernetic Theory - AdBusters -
Rhetorical - The Star - The Inescapable sales pitch

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Lecture 3: Psychoanalysis & the Gaze

For this particular lecture I have decided to post up my notes, the lecture as a whole relied on the presumption of understanding Freudian theories and unlike some of the other lectures I found some of the content difficult to grasp.
Psychoanalysis refers to the theories of the mind in particular about how through the conscious we can study the sub-conscious. Looking at the ego and how it is derived into several different categories, our ego being what we show to everyone else, our super-ego which is the conscience and the I.D. which is our natural human behavior and drives such as sex and death. What we aimed to look at in the lecture was how through the regulation of behaviour in a similar sense to the theories on Panopticism, how the subconscious, your social morals and repression of instinctual behaviour we fit in with society.

The opening scene of Notorious (1946) by Alfred Hitchcock.

The Gaze looks at the power of looking and in similar to last weeks lecture on looking at how the media protrays the sexes, the lecture looked at how we achieve narcissistic identification (imagining a more perfect version of yourself) through viewpoint and perception but also how it can be used in media to confuse and protray different meanings depending upon its context. In modern context the gaze can be seen in the Peep Show where you become literally in the body of another and your feel a certain power, sympathy, sadness, anger etc for that person whom's emotions are being reflected in that first person view. Viewpoint can also give an understanding based on these theories about the viewer how he/she may prefer to be in the first/third person on screen, whether they are scopophilic and may enjoy looking at people as if they were objects, in essence the thrill of watching could tell of some sub-conscious element in the viewer's mind. In short, the Gaze evokes different structures of power in the subconscious mind, psychoanalysis identifies and aims to interpret these feelings.