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Visual Culture


visual culture material artifacts, buildings and images, plus time-based media and performances, produced by human labor and imagination, which serve aesthetic, symbolic, ritualistic or ideological-political ends and /or practical functions.
multidisciplinary in nature many academic disciplines are integrated in the study of visual culture
Culture what humans have done or added to nature by their inventiveness and labor
base material resources, means of production (labor, industries, machines, technologies), the economy.
superstructure “spiritual” phenomena: ideology, art, religion, science and philosophy
ideology shared set of societal values and beliefs
hegemony dominant ideologies are always in flux
civilization culture synonym with broader and evaluative connotations; mannered; paradox of civilization increasing potential for destructive power
Freud civilization requires repression of certain instincts and desires
high culture royalty, aristocracy, upper middle class
middle-brow bourgeoisie or middle class & lower middle class
low culture proletariat or working class & underclass
kitsch visual artifacts judged to have little or no aesthetic value
camp recodes Kitsch as valuable, sees value through its status in invoking class standards of bad taste
connoisseur master of "taste"
Folk culture rural societies
mass culture made by professional designers and artists
popular culture made by common people for masses
pluralist culture many cultures; a flexible, dynamic process
trans/cross-culture looking for commonalities
intercultural ways cultures interact
cultures in conflict cultures destroyed, undermined or transformed by violent or other means
culture and barbarism cost of culture often exploitation; critics often wary of "celebratory" approach to history and criticism
multiculturalism need to incorporate values and ideas which do not reflect merely the dominant group ideology.
apperception visual information merges with other sensory information along with existing memories and knowledge
Synaesthesia colors and shapes associated with sounds, smells and feelings
ocular centrism critique says vision complicit in social oppression via surveillance and spectacle
"eye of God" idea of controlling deity
panopticon "all seeing" prison design; humans internalize scrutinizing gaze
biopower state has indirect control over citizens
feminist critique eye objectifies and masters; "gaze".
visuality socialized vision; knowledge, interests, desires and social relations between perceiver and perceived.
representation use of language and images to create meaning about the world
mimesis mirroring the world
social construction making meaning only through specific cultural contexts
mediated vision seeing images vs. seeing the world
media visual representations intentional, encoded communications
haptic touch, texture and contour
kinaesthetic movement in muscles, tendons, joints
scopic drive desire to see
invocatory drive desire to hear
hegemony power relations in constant state of flux
habitus field exists before entry with rite of passage; individual assumes position within it
primitivism cult and appropriation of tribal arts by modern artists
orientalism exotic conceptions of East as European inventions
culture studies broader than visual culture, as it includes all the habits and customs of people
ekphrasis (classical period) detailed description of works of art
exchange value what something costs
use value how useful/necessary something is
"presumption of relevance" insinuates necessity
pseudo individuality consumption will make you unique
commodity fetishism separates goods from context of production for new meanings t be attached
reification abstract ideas given concrete form
metacommunication exchange where topic is act of communication itself; reflexive
signifying practice goal of producing meaning as well as object
Resources capital, facilities required for production
materials and tools raw goods of production; artists/designers can work with or against.
external resources religion, political beliefs, etc.
internal resources functionalism, expressionism, etc.
aesthetic resources enormous bank of object types, images, symbols, techniques and styles accumulated over centuries.
distribution packaging, shipping
circulation through space and over time; can have many "lives"
transient cultural objects finite life; exchange value decreases over time.
durable cultural objects no finite span; exchange value can increase
rubbish zero value; no increase
bricolage taking existing artifacts and recoding them for new subgroup meanings
counter-bricolage mass culture reappropriating the bricolage
"breaking frame" off-stage character (spectator link)
"fourth wall" illusion of direct contact, appeal to viewer
"mirror phase" developmental stage where infant recognizes their image in mirrors as self and yet not- project.
cinematic apparatus traditional cinema space-darkened theater, mirror-like screen-invites regression to childlike state
literate able to read or write, more generally, educated or learned
semiotic perspective language and pictures are two kins of sign
rhetoric type of speech used to persuade an audience; field of study which examines modes of communication
visual poetics examines rhetorical devices in images and language
simile one thing is likened to another
metaphor a stronger connection than a simile (it is something)
metonymy change of name
synecdoche part standing for the whole
hyperbole excessive exaggeration
personification abstract ideas embodies in some person or animal
symbols signs or objects that have, over time, acquired fixed secondary meanings
allegory a treatment of one subject under the guise of another; a presentation of an abstract meaning through concrete forms
alliteration, assonance, and rhymes closest visual parallel would be repetitions of form, color, patter, etc.
antithesis opposition; contrast-visual opposite juxtapositions
chiasmus two phrases are juxtaposed with the key word order reversed in the second
quotation and paraphrase visually, appropriation and influence incorporation
intertextuality references to other works in the genre "quoting" ; game with audience, reflecting their sophistication as knowledgeable viewers
form and content modes of analysis may tend to focus on one more than the other
manifest content what is shown; objects recognized by most
laten content attached secondary meanings; connotation
denotational what is shown
connotational how it is shown/what it means
content analysis quantitative analysis of date-count number of certain images, etc., not indication of qualitative value; precision and verifiability
iconography branch of art history which studies content
iconology "interpretive"; synthetic
genre a classification or grouping of artworks
form color, shape, value, lighting
style handling, manner of expression
semiotics study of signs within society
signifier material dimension of sign
signified conceptual dimension of sign
syntagm collection of signs in linear sequence
paradigm a set where each unit has something in common and is obviously different from the other units
analog paradigm with no easily fixed number of units
digital paradigm with fixed number of units
index record of; a direct, causal connection (footprint)
icon resembles referent in some way
symbol arbitrary, depends on convention
motivation how much the signifier describes the signified
semiosis act of signifying; not one-way, similar to apperception
undecidability impossibility of deciding between competing interpretations
dissemination a new way of considering fragments not as from an original centered whole, but as constituents of a larger, but never completely graspable, entity.
hyperreal reality is fabricated by technology
parody ridicules by exaggeration the distance from "normal"
pastiche no ridicule, no "normal" --blank, radical eclecticism.
Created by: meaganmarie