Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
In this day and age, the importance of this photo is lost on us (or at least on many in my generation), as the peculiarity of the photo lies in the fact that, in the 50’s, to own a motorcycle and attire like this for a black couple was very rare. The couple in the photo must have been fairly well off, yet still they frown. Upon being told this, our perception and understanding of the photograph changes, because our understanding of reality (retrospectively) changes.
What’s more interesting is chicken and the egg activity of the publicity image. As John Berger states, “The publicity image steals her love of herself as she is, and offers it back to her at the price of the product.” Without the subject to steal from, the publicity image is nothing, yet without the publicity image, the subject has no idea upon which to base her look.
At any rate, the inherent postmodernism of photography has by now been brought fully into the light with the work of Sherrie Levine, Richard Prince and Andy Warhol, among others. These days, the appropriated image (as opposed to the artistically composed) is a common part of the artworld vernacular. Yet, these images don’t show us a ghost of reality; what we see in the appropriated image is a reflection of our understanding of the world we live in and how it has been constructed for us and by us. the appropriated photograph strips away all artistic intention and leaves only the social connotations of the image for us to view. the appropriated image shows us how powerful an image is, even without artistic intention or composition. it shows us fully the post-modern activity of photography.
Monday, March 8, 2010
The Death of the Author serves as a bridge between The Intentional Fallacy and The Expressive Fallacy. While it acknowledges the fallacy of the supreme idea of the author’s intention, as Wimsatt and Beardsley do, he takes it a step further and acknowledges the fallacy of the supreme idea of The Author. To steal from my summary, “the text is a tissue of quotations from centuries.” Basically, the point Barthes in making with this, and overall, is that, as we—ourselves—are the product of many ideas and environments, so too is the personality of the author, the personality that is doing the writing. It follows from here then that if the author is a subjective being made of experiences and the same histories the rest of us share, then his “text is a tissue of quotations,” and as such he holds no authority over our own, the reader’s. in short, “The birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the author.”
What I find interesting about this is the idea of a shared and constructed history. In modernism there is an idea of universiality of a cultural path; the common view is that all civilizations are on the same cultural path of development and some are at different stages of it. While this is solely western construction describing its own cultural history and ultimately (universally) false, what is true is that true history is universal. Not subjective, written and noted history, but objective history, as it happened outside of subjective experience. Getting back on track, objective history is what constructs us through way of subjective experience which blend together in a unique subjective individual, and through intentionality, our (subjective) consciousness is added to the objective world (history) through way of language, writing and action. As Merleau-Ponty says, our body is a “ground zero,” existing in the physical, objective world, yet housing and expressing our own inner subjective consciousness. What I’m trying to get at is that objective history and reality shapes us, our subjectivity, and ultimately that constructed subjectivity puts back into the physical, objective reality (history). We construct objective history with our actions and the passing of time, and yet this objective history is what constructs us.
So, if we construct an objectivity that constructs our own subjectivity, this objective history becomes, in essence, an essence, an entity. An entity which does exist outside of us, but exists as the sum of us. It is an entity which reaches into us as we reach into it, and is ultimately the ether that connects us all. I want to reiterate that history can indeed be subjective, as it exists in history books that are rewritten and re-interpreted, and this subjective form of history exists in all of us, in our personal history and personal view of history. But objective history exists in the realm of passing time, in what happened simultaneously everywhere at one precise moment in time after another and after another. For example, the web 2.0 is an entity which exists as a product constructed entirely by us, yet the information input to it from different people ultimately reaches and affects us. We then in turn are changed, and input more data, which changes the web 2.0 and all other users, and so on and back and forth, vice versa, etc in a incessant cycle. Yet if we take the internet in its entirety, it is an entity, an objective entity made up of facts(and not facts) which is ever evolving as (and with) us.