My notes Key relevant notes
I Separation Perfected
4. Images control human social relationships. “It is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images.”
“Weltanschauung” – meaning a world view of a group/individual.
15. “the spectacle is the chief product of present day society.” – consuming/ watching the performance of consumerism.
18. “it is inevitable that it (the spectacle) should elevate the human sense of sight to the special place once occupied by touch; the most abstract of the senses, and the most easily deceived” – consumerism and mass media means that sight is more often deceived less reliable than it once was.
19. “So far from realising philosophy, the spectacle philosophises reality, and turns the material life of everyone into a universe of speculation.”
21. “The spectacle is the bad dream of modern society in chains, expressing nothing more than its wish for sleep. The spectacle is the guardian of that sleep.” – Metaphor for consumerism, not allowing opinion movement or the basic human needs.
25. Through the spectacle cultural promises are never met. Promises aren’t realistic. Much like the American dream.
27. The spectacle allows no freedom apart from activity, which is banned in the spectacle. No freedom, must do what the spectacle says is right.
35. The more independent you are the more you are cut off. Reminds me of Corey Doctorows book ‘Little Brother’ if you try and be different or make a stand you become isolated and a target.
II The commodity as spectacle
38. The spectacle only cares about quantitive. It’s more about numbers than it is substance. No one cares what you are buying as long as you are buying something.
III Unity and devision within appearances
59. Behind the glittery surface of mass media and the spectacle are passive consumers.
60. The portrayal of the celebrity is the unachievable version of labour. Work hard, buy products and this could be you. It’s a goal for consumers which in unattainable.
69. Each product you buy is a shortcut to total consumption.
The great thing about video is that it’s an extended version of word of mouth. Why tell someone about a project when you can show and tell them at the same time? you never forget to mention a vital part, and no matter who is watching it a student a corporation or your next door neighbour they are all receiving the same information and the same experience of your project. Using video to not only promote but explain a project seems almost limitless. Here are some projects that use video to introduce their ideas well.
The table project
The table project utilise video well, I’ve seen the stop motion technique of someone drawing done countless times, but this is by far the best use of it. Using visual techniques and narration a quite complex project is explained in an easy to understand way, you could call this the projects pitch, it’s selling itself to you and want’s to make you learn more. I myself have since watching it sent it onto family who are actively involved in the church because I know they will want to learn about it from the video.
You could almost talk about this introduction as a trailer, it takes a different approach to mine, it’s about conspiracy and their fore doesn’t give a clear definition about what the project is, but that’s 100% intentional. There is also an explanation video, a talk through of this one. Which you can watch here. https://vimeo.com/15396143 However like mine it is a transmedia project.
The geography of youth
I love this project intro video. Wether it be because the project is inspiring or I feel like it could be a Phonar project, it is undoubtably a brilliant pitch, it’s exactly the kind of thing I’m after, using stats and figures to hook the viewer and peoples own personal stories too. It leaves me wanting more, I want to know about the project.
This quote from Adam Millar’s exploration of the effect of the atomic bombs on Japanese Culture has struck a chord with me.
Although these cartoons and comics may seem unimportant, they are a window into the fears felt by Japan, and the deep scar that has yet to be healed.
For the whole of summer I have not been able to steer away from the word “escapism” and every time I talked to people about escapism within Japanese culture people got confused. And now I know why. I am not talking about japanese culture as a whole I am talking about a particular type of people. Otaku.
So I wanted to get deep down into the roots of what Otaku is and where it came from. This is an interview between
Toshio Okada, Kaichiro Morikawa and Takashi Murakami. 3 leading pioneers in Otaku culture.
Here are some selected quotes from the interview. To read the full transcript please follow the link.
Takashi Murakami: Okada-san, Morikawa-san, thank you for coming. Our topic today is the culture of otaku1 [literally, “your home”]. After Japan experienced defeat in World War II, it gave birth to a distinctive phenomenon, which has gradually degenerated into a uniquely Japanese culture. Both of you are at the very center of this otaku culture.
TM: Indeed, otaku are somewhat different from the mainstream. They have a unique otaku perspective,
Anatomical diagram of “Flaming Monster Gamera” from An Anatomical Guide to Monsters, 1967
even on natural disasters. For example, the reaction of Kaiyodo’s3 executive, Miyawaki Shuichi, to witnessing the destruction of the Great Hanshin Earthquake4 in 1995 was, “I know it’s insensitive to say this [after such terrible disaster], but I think Gamera5 got it wrong.” You know, the aftermath of a real earthquake was used as a criterion in otaku criticism.
TO: At the time of the earthquake, I raced to Kobe from Osaka, hopping on whatever trains were still running, taking lots of pictures. I agree, Gamera got it wrong. To create a realistic effect of destruction, you need to drape thin, gray noodles over a miniature set of rubble. Otherwise, you can’t even approach the reality of twisted, buckled steel frames. It was like, “If you call yourself a monster-filmmaker, get here now!”
KM: …Over time, the focus of otaku taste shifted from science fiction to anime to eroge15 [erotic games], as young boys who once embraced the bright future promised by science saw this future gradually eroded by the increasingly grim reality around them. I think they needed an alternative.
This open theory by the research leaders on otaku culture that Otaku is a way of escaping in relation to natural disasters and the effect this had on Japan is really encouraging to me that I am going down the right track.
Today’s Phonar lecture was on 50 shade of Grey. At first my thoughts were, how does this relate to photography, but as the lecture began to unfold I quickly learnt that there are many aspect of 50 shade’s impact, promotion, publishing and use of the ‘fan’ that I as a photographer could learn from.
Phonar is about a community and freeing up our work rights in order to collaborate. Rather than keeping everything copyrighted and shutting ourselves off to the greater world we should be sharing our ideas and information, creating a network of contributors and fellow practitioners. The idea of E.L. James’ 50 shades series of books steamed from her love for twilight. As a fan she partook in the ever growing community of online fan fiction and used her skills to re-present the love story of Edward and Bella. Some may argue that as practitioners we do this in all our work, taking influence from other peoples work wether it be colour, narrative, composition or any other aspects that draw us to a certain piece of art, nothing is 100% original anymore. But this isn’t a negative thing.
Tapping into a community that bases itself on our interests seems like a natural development in life, but sometimes we need that extra push. Phonar for example is a fan base for all photographers to access new ideas and projects allowing them to meet the worldwide photography community. Much like 50 shades stems from twilight, courses like Phonar stem from a passion of photography.
As a self proclaimed fan myself I found it interesting listening to Mafalda’s concept on audience and community. Whilst some people might see 50 shades as pornography other people might not. Almost everyone is a fan of something, a religion, a place, a TV show or a game. We pump money, effort and time into areas/hobbies not so that we can make money back (that was never E.L. James’ intention) but to share with other people in our obsessions. For me personally it is Anime/Manga and Japanese pop culture, I am a convention goer, and I spend hours online (some people would think wasted) researching specific characters or products relating to my obsession. We have been asked to key into a specific audience, reach the fans and collaborate with them, maybe do a project on them or interview them. Whichever method is chosen it is the best way to learn and grow. This time last year E.L. James was a fan, and now she is a best selling author, she produced her best piece of writing, not because she had to but because she wanted to, it’s her passion and she knew online was the best place to reach other people who were interested. For these reasons I hope to tap into the cosplay community. I have briefly scratched the surface, photographing at events, arranging studio sessions and joining forums.
Beautiful New World is an Art exhibition that focuses on the idea of a new world, along with the 21st century came a great expectation of peace and growth in Japan, but it soo became the most violent and destructive time in recent history. Whilst WWII was harmful, post war provided great growth for Japans economics. However in the last 30 years Japan has suffered from some horrendous events such a earth quakes, tidal waves and economy crashes. Influenced by the theme of a new world which is so current in Manga, the world being destroyed and trying to rebuild itself is featured in thousands of manga stories, these art pieces comment on the lust for a better place, an escape from reality which is so predominant in Japanese pop culture. (off the top of my head I can think of 3 or 4 manga series I have read where creating a new world is the main theme.)
The exhibition itself features the work of 34 creative people, spanning across all art forms, and is divided into 3 sections, Beautiful real world, New media world and End of the world and future world.
The main theme of this section is understanding beauty and reality. Question both of their meanings and re-exploring how we understand them. The pieces are based on the representation of females in Contemporary advertising and fashion shoots. It also takes direct influence from manga..
Japanese manga and animations that illustrate gender-specific features in the boy’s world / girl’s world; and works that focus on “kawaii” culture, as well as the personal world-view of hitori-asobi(solitary play) that deviates from this culture.
This piece by Kaneuji Teppei has a direct reference to Japanese popular culture, using the brightly coloured structured hairstyles which feature in anime and manga to create a Big foot type creature.
Paramodel is an “art unit” formed in 2001 by Yasuhiko Hayashi (2001 Fine Art graduate from the Kyoto City University of Arts) and Yusuke Nakano (a Nihonga [Japanese-style painting] graduate from the same university). Their title comes from the combination of the words, “Paradise” and “model”, and the fusion of these two concepts is essentially the launching point of their creations. Although the unique talents and interests of these two individuals hardly ever intersect, they manage to work in parallel towards the same vision of constructing intricate models of Paradise using toy parts, like plastic train tracks and mini-cars. Engaging in this poetic, yet paradoxical practice of remodeling paradise, this art unit presents their visions in a variety of media, including installation, objets, animations, painting, sculpture, and photography. –www.azito-art.com/paramodel/
These pieces by Paramodel play on the miniature culture within Japan, the sushi presented on the truck plays on the idea of Kawaii culture within Japan, the need for everything to look cute and sweet.
The art of new media has changed the ways in which we view the world. The works that tune into the new possibilities of communication and physical sensibilities are becoming ever important in considering contemporary society; such works take interest in what effect technological development in images and sound has on human sensations. The idea that perceives human relationships, or relationships between human and the environment as fluid, rather than predetermined, could be the driving force behind such developments. The works to be on exhibit in this section encompass a broad range of works, including not only those works that incorporate new technology, but also those that relate to the urban environment, fashion, and objects. – Taken from the online catalogue
some of the exhibited work:
Hiroshi Fuji’s work looks at consumerism and a culture who chuck out anything that isn’t up to date. His sculptures are made from discarded items, he tries to take unwanted objects and turn them into something interesting. All the parts are childrens toys.
All featured artists:
Atelier Bow-wow, doubleNegatives Architecture, Tsumura Kosuke, Fuji Hiroshi, Ikeda Ryoji, Oshii Mamoru, Yokoyama Yuichi, National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan)
Section 3 End of the World and Future World @B.T.A.P.
This section touches on the deep-seated apocalyptic world-view in Japanese society and culture, together with the visions for the future that are projected as result. The apocalyptic world-view is shaped by the disintegration of society and the collapse of urban cities, caused by natural disaster, war, and genocide as such, as well as death and the fear of facing death, while the visions for the future are projected in forms of cities in rejuvenation and futuristic cities. Some of the works in this section signify eternity and sustainability in relation to these themes. – taken from the catalogue
some exhibited work
Hatakeyama Naoyas stunning landscapes toggle between the destruction of the world, juxtaposed with landscape photos with no sign of human life, making us think about the beauty of the world, and putting us in the position of imaging a new world.
– Project Viva Riva – Sutanda
2001 200cm × 200cm × 300cm
aluminum, brass, motors, other monuments (Revival) Play arose from the “ruins of the future.” Work was born doll suit atom was picked up in the ruins of the nursery of Chernobyl, the sun that had been painted on the wall has become a group. Doll rises senses radiation 20 times, objects located beyond the line of sight of the sun shine at the same time. Stand up on two legs is also a big step in the process of human growth and human evolution.
Tomoko Yoneda’s photographs of an end is seem less kitsch and colourful as some of the work in the exhibition, however it’s message is strong. Unless accompanied by it’s title the photo holds no real connection to the idea of a new world, but with the title we imagine we have reached an end of a story, perhaps a family or couple fleeing to the new world after a long series of events.
All featured artists:
Fujihata Masaki, Hatakeyama Naoya, Miyajima Tatsuo, Miyamoto Ryuji, Ohmaki Shinji, Urasawa Naoki, Yanobe Kenji, Yoneda Tomoko
The exhibition as a whole
There is no doubt that this exhibition would have been one worth seeing. Rarely are so many forms of art in one place, the interesting idea is that all artists work is based along the idea of a Beautiful New world, but each result is completely different, and that the repetitive use of a new world narrative within Manga has a big enough influence and has become such a big part of japanese pop culture that many artists are using it as their influence for work.
When I think about Flowers within photography I find no inspiration it’s been done 100 times before in the same way and will continue to be done by everyone.
However with my Journey to school project I hope to break this assumption in my head, I am trying to depict my primary school journey through the flowers I interacted with on my way. As a young girl I was fascinated with flowers, like most little girls, however myself and my best friend having names of flowers has followed me around forever. On my confirmation the Vicar spoke of how having the name of a flower was a blessing because I will always follow the sun, and on my 18th birthday I had 2 flowers tattooed onto my body to represent a friendship. This journey concerning flowers started from the age of 4 when I used to walk to school with Rosie, I passed the falling plants I called “fairy wings”, the primroses which I chose as my cats name at age 4 and the Roses and Daisies which symbolise not only a childhood friendship but a life long connection.
Christine Carrelo is a photographer that I have found that photographs flowers in a way I have never seen before. Her work is helping to break that assumption in my head that all flowers photography is the same.