Monday, 26 March 2012

Lecture 12 notes// Globalisation, sustainability and the media..


The process of transformation of local or regional phenomena into global ones. It can be described as a process by which the people of the world are unified into a single society and function together. This process is a combination of economic, technological, sociocultural and political forces.


The elimination of state enforced restrictions on exchanges across borders and the increasingly integrated and complex global system of production and exchange that has emerged as a result.

- Fast food restaurants are beginning to dominate the world.

- 'Today, after more than a century of electric technology, we have extended our central nervous system in a global embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as our planet is concerned'.

Marshall McLuhan

- Rapidity of communication echoes the senses.
- We can experience instantly the effects of our actions on a global scale.

Global village thesis//

'As electrically contracted, the globe is no more than a village. Electric speed at bringing all social and political functions together in a sudden awareness of responsibility to an intense degree'

- Centripetal forces// bringing the world together in uniform global society.
- Centrifugal forces// tearing the world apart in tribal wars.

Three problems of Globalization//

1: Sovereignty challenges to the idea of the nation state.

2: Accountability transnational forces and organizations. Who controls them?

3: Identity who are we? Nation, group, community.

Cultural imperialism//

If the 'global village' is run with a certain set of values then it would not be so much an integrated community as an assimilated one.

- Rigging the 'Free market.'

- Media conglomerates operate as oligopolies.

- US media power can be thought of as a new form of imperialism.

- Local cultures destroyed in this process and new forms of cultural dependency shaped, mirroring old school colonialism.

Chomsky and Herman (1998) Propaganda model: 5 basic filters.

- ownership
- funding
- sourcing
- flak
- anti communist ideology


'Sustainability development is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs'.

Task 5// The Gaze..

Task 5//

‘according to usage and conventions which are at last being questioned but have by no means been overcome - men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at’ (Berger 1972, 45, 47)

Discuss this quote with reference to one work of art and one work from the contemporary media.

Berger talks about how men look at women and how women watch themselves being looked at. By this he means that women are made to be looked at for the pleasure of men, men are allowed to look at women and women enjoy watching themselves being looked at by men. I have looked at two pieces of work where this theory has been put into practice. One is a piece of art and the other a piece of contemporary media.

This piece of contemporary media is an example of how the woman has been positioned to be looked at by men in a way that comes across that she doesnt mind the fact that this is happening. She is not looking directly at us which makes us feel comfortable to look at her. She is also looking at her cleavage, which again gives us permission to do the same. Because she is not gazing at us, it doesnt feel like a stand off or that she is not wanting you to look at her, her stance is inviting. This woman is watching herself by looking at her cleavage, knowing that she is being watched by men.

This is an older piece of art but the same theory has been applied. The woman in this painting is looking at us, but in a flirtatious way. The way in which she is laid across the bed is inviting and she doesnt mind to be looked at. She is touching/ covering her genitals which could be suggestive, her head is also slanted which doesnt make her pose seem so abrupt. Also the sleeping dog at the end of her bed suggests friendliness and a welcoming invitation, as dogs are mans best friend.

Essay// Final..

How does the use of advertising have an effect on consumerism?

How does the use of advertising have an effect on consumerism? Well, consumerism is an act which makes us purchase products. In the 21st century the order of consumerism is beginning to have a huge effect on the way in which we live our lives and what we invest in. Advertising plays a huge role within consumerism, as it is this tool that determines on whether or not we buy into a brand and purchase their products.  

Advertising has always had an impact on how we think and act; it has the ability to alter our emotions and needs. It is a powerful tool that can manipulate us and subconsciously effect our way of thinking. Advertising has evolved greatly over the years and with the vast amount of new media and technologies in which advertising is used today, we have no way of escaping it. It has now become part of our everyday life and quite often we take it for granted. We take in approximately 5000 advertisements a day, both knowingly and unknowingly (Story 2007).

Almost everywhere we look we see an advertisement, whether we are on the bus, watching TV or reading a magazine. Companies and businesses use advertising as a tool to persuade us into investing in their product or service.

'One of the most important weapons used in successful marketing is advertising' (Williams, 1980, pg 189)

Advertising first became a popular means of selling a product in the 1800s.

'In 1862 came the United Kingdom bill-posters Association... handbills (throw a ways) were distributed in the streets of Victorian London with extraordinary intensity of coverage, in some areas a walk down one street would collect as many as two hundred different leaflets' (Williams,1980, pg 175)

Since then it has evolved with technology and new media’s. Marketing teams are constantly finding new ways in which they can approach advertising to 'move with the times'. Back in the late 19th century most means of advertising was print based, using things such as flyers and posters. These advertisements would be given out in the street or placed in newspapers. There was then the rise of the radio which gave advertising another means of communication and also the World Wide Web which has completely revolutionised advertising. When we search online for information about something there will always be some form of advertising either on the website or on the search engine. Facebook for example, has become a big part of the online advertising approach. Their site allows you to share your interests in a brand, which then shows this interest to your friends which may also allow them to show their interest in the same brand.  This basically means that you are advertising for the brand/product that you showed an interest in because it is seen by your Facebook friends.

Using online advertising also means that companies gain a better understanding of what consumers look at on the web and means they can use this information to focus on these areas to attract more people to their brand.

'In an advanced Capitalist society such as Britain, the need for people to consume has become as important, if not strategically more important, than the need for people to produce'. (Strinat, D 2004)

Over the years, we as a society have become more materialist, we crave the need to have new products that we are made to believe will 'change' our lives. This gives a new approach to advertising which allows marketers to play with our emotions in a way that we often do not realise. For example, a modern day car advertisement will promote a way of life, of which you will gain when buying their product. In one particular Renault Megane TV advert the car became part of the family by being shown as the 'family dog', they promoted it as being a very friendly, fun and family orientated car. Another example of where a product’s advertisements promise us a more exotic lifestyle is perfume and aftershave ads. They will always use attractive models set in a scene that makes them appear to have the perfect life. The fragrance is shown to be the product that can give you this lifestyle, and we as a materialist society believe in the advert and invest in the brand.

Another example of strong branding and identity through the use of advertising is Apple. Apple is one of the most successful businesses in the world. Their products are revolutionary and they are always finding new ways to use technology to help us live an easier life. Apple brings out new products all the time, each of which will be popular and sell well. The reason Apple are so successful is mostly because of the way in which they advertise their products. They make personal connections within their ads so that their consumers can relate to this. Rather than trying to blatantly sell a product, they will make a subtle personal connection with their customers which will make them feel more attracted to the brand. This relationship made with customers through Apple's approach to advertising, makes the brand more desirable to more people around the world.

'It is often said that our society is too materialist, and that advertising reflects this. We are in a phase of a relatively rapid distribution of what are called 'consumer goods', and advertising, with its emphasis on 'bringing the good things of life', is taken as central for this reason.' (Williams, 1980, pg 183)

Due to our society being so consumerist and materialist, it means that we often buy products that we do not need or things that are not essential for us to live. We now buy a product to buy social status, it’s almost like the saying 'You are what you eat', but instead we are what we buy. If one were to buy a top from Primark, for example, you would have a less social status than if you were to buy one from Harvey Nichols. This is due to branding and advertising, and how a company use these tools effectively to get us to buy the more expensive items. This could sometimes mean that you spend more on a well known branded item, simply for the brand name, when you could get the exact same thing for half the price that isn’t branded and this all boils down to the use of advertising in a consumerist society.

'Many people will indeed look twice at you, upgrade you, upmarket you, respond to your displayed signals, if you have made the right purchase within a system of meanings to which you are all trained' (Williams, 1980, pg 189)

Advertising is now being used to sell everything, and each time a brand uses this tool to sell their product they will promote it as being an essential part of our lives. There is so much theory behind an ad, every little detail is considered and chosen for a purpose that will help communicate the right message that will lead to sales for a company, and colour is an example of this. When a brand is designing its identity it will keep a consistency between all ads and designs. They will create a brand image that is memorable so that consumers will easily recognise a company’s branding. This plays an important role within consumerism because a strong brand image attracts consumers; the more recognisable the brand is the more people will invest in it.

'When we find ourselves drawn into a shop by enticing window display, we are being consumer. When we buy a new brand of toothpaste because the packet informs us that it will whiten our teeth, we are being consumers...The act of consumption has been characterised as the flow of goods from producers to consumers. Consumption is what we do in response to the activity of retailers, marketers and advertisers.' (Pavitt, J, 2000, pg 102)

One particular campaign that offered to benefit peoples’ lives was the Guinness advertising campaign from 1928. The campaigns slogan was 'Guinness is good for you'. It was fairly straight forward in what it was trying to convey about the product. This approach to advertising is simple and to the point. Guinness were saying to their consumers, buy our product because it is good for you, as simple as that. They found this information by compiling a survey for their customers, who said that the only reason they drink Guinness is because it is actually good for you.

'The slogan came from research into why consumers drank Guinness - the overwhelming reply was 'because it's good for you' (

This particular Guinness campaign lasted for over 40 years; they continued to focus on the fact Guinness did have health benefits. Although most of their advertising within this campaign was being honest to the consumer without trying to trick them into thinking the beverage was good for them, there were some ads which tried to push the idea that you should drink lots of Guinness.

The 'A Guinness a day' line, along with 'Guinness is good for you' suggests that it is necessary to drink a pint of Guinness a day. The consumer already knows that Guinness is good for you because they were the reasoning behind the campaign but with the added line of 'a Guinness a day' helps to persuade and inform them that it’s okay to drink a Guinness a day. The consumer justified the campaign and then Guinness saw an opportunity in which they could use this to raise sales. In a way it is being a bit sly but like most advertising it is very clever.

' The power of the consumer affects how you market, how you develop products, how you change your launch time frames and how you price things' (Wickstrom, M 2006, pg 29)

However in present day adverts, advertisers have made advertisements seem more complex to convey a message about a product in order to make it seem like the consumer has more control. No one likes being told what to do, so if they offer a product that comes with a 'perfect lifestyle guaranteed'. This makes the consumer think that they have complete control over their emotions and choice on whether to buy the product. But in actual fact they have all been trained to respond to this type of advertising that effects their emotions and therefore leading them to still invest in the product. We have no longer have control on the way in which we buy things. It has become a materialist system where we as consumers are made to feel we need to buy something when in actual fact we probably do not.

'Commercial breaks, radio spots, product placements, billboards, pop-up ads- we sometimes take for granted how much advertising surrounds us in our daily lives. We may find ads funny, odd or even disturbing, but we rarely stop and consider their deeper meaning or function within society' (Turow and Mcallister, 2009)

In conclusion, it is clear to see that advertising has a huge effect on the way we live our lives and buy into brands. If marketers and advertisers reach us on a personal level then we are more likely to invest in their brand. There is no way in which we can really fully escape advertising as it is literally in every part of our lives. You couldn’t go out of the house without seeing hundreds of adverts for all sorts of things. The only way in which we can gain control in this materialist society that we live in, is to gain a better understanding of how advertisers think as well as how they act to try and persuade us to buy into a product or service. This means that consumers would have more control over what they want and what they need to purchase and we will no longer be 'tricked' or 'trained' into buying into a brand. But as consumers become more aware, it maybe that marketers and advertisers will always stay one step ahead. 


Adorno, T (1991) The Culture Industry: Selected essays in mass culture. London, Routledge.

Debord, G (1994) The society of the spectacle. London, Rebel Press.

Gobe, M (2010) Emotional Branding: The new paridigm for connecting brands to people. New York, Allworth Press.

Lindstrom, M (2008) Buy.ology: How everything we believe about why we buy is wrong. London, Random House.

Louise, S (2007) Anywhere the Eye Can See, It’s Likely to See an Ad. [Internet] New York, New York Times. Available from: <> [Accessed 15th December 2011].  

Marcuse, H (1991) One dimensional man. London, Rouledge.

Noel, H (2009) Consumer Behaviour. Worthing, AVA Publishing.

Pavitt, J (2000) Brand New. London, V&A

Strinati, D (2nd Edition, 2004) An introduction to theories of popular culture. London, Routledge.

Turow, J and McAllister, M.P (2009) The advertising and consumer culture. New York, Routledge.

Vollmer, C and Precourt, G (2008) Always on: Advertising, Marketing and Media in an era of consumer control. USA, McGraw Hill.

Wickstrom, M (2006) Performing Consumers. New York, Routledge.

Williams, R (1980) Culture and Materialism. London, Verso.

Task 4// Hyperreality..

What is Hyperreality?

(Sociology) (Philosophy) an image or simulation, or an aggregate of images and simulations, that either distorts the reality it purports to depict or does not in fact depict anything with a real existence at all, but which nonetheless comes to constitute reality.

An example of hyperreality could include the reality TV show Big Brother. Big Brother is a show that is held twice a year, one being with celebrities and the other ordinary people. A selected group of people audition to enter a house for about 6 weeks; they complete tasks inside the house to win special treats for either themselves or their housemates. Each week a house mate is evicted following voting’s made by the public.

This is an example of hyper reality as the people in the house and also the public that vote for the evictions believe that the show is a real life situation. But in actual fact it is a TV show that has been specifically designed to seem real. The house that the people live in has been built purposefully for the show and it has been designed to be almost like a perfect house, they have everything they need as if they were in the 'real' world. Another aspect of the show that is hyper real is the fact that the house mates know that they are being watched which therefore would make them act in a certain way which means the public would not see the 'real' them. They are almost part of a simulation within the house.

When people go into the house they are just ordinary people and its not until they are on the show or have been evicted that they gain a higher social status, almost like celebrities. But they have not actually changed at all, which again links to the fact that people think the Big Brother house is real when really it is a well structured and thought out show.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Task two// Benjamin and Mechanical Reproduction..


Read the Walter Benjamin's essay 'The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction'. Write a 300 word analysis of one work of Graphic Design, that you think relates to the themes of the text, and employing quotes, concepts and terminology from the text.

Benjamin states that any piece of art can be reproduced by those that created it to start with. They have the ability and the eye to reproduce what they initially created.

In principle a work of art has always been reproducible. Man-made artifacts could always be imitated by men.’

Benjamin talks about the value of art and how reproduction can make art worthless. Original pieces of art work are very expensive and it could be said that some are priceless. When we create reproductions of original pieces of art, we are taking away their value. Who would feel the need to spend thousands of pounds on a painting when you could buy a replica for a percentage of the price?

This means that art is becoming more accessible to everyone whereas before it was just the wealthy people. This would not only affect pieces of art but art overall as there would no longer be anything special about it. This happens a lot with products these days, not just pieces of art. Designer clothing is often reproduced to a poorer quality which makes it cheaper, but sometimes you couldn’t even tell the difference.

An example of this within Graphic Design would be the ‘Keep calm and carry on’ posters. These have been massively reproduced all over the world. People have begun to create their own versions of the poster, which are then reproduced. This takes away the value of the originals of which are worth around about £1000 each. It was believed that the originals were destroyed after the war but since then some have been found, from which they were then reproduced. Although the originals are still worth a fair bit of money, the value has dropped dramatically as it is now so easy to get hold of a replica.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Lecture 11// The production and critique of institution..


To examine the historical development of practices of institutional critique in relation to the corresponding development of the modern art gallery.


1// To demonstrate the importance of the art museum to the rise of the bourgeois public sphere in the 19th century.

2// To analyse Peter Burger's theorisation of the twin development of aestheticist (formulist) art practice and critical avant-gardism in the first three decades of the 20th century.

3// To consider the postwar critique of the convention of the white cube through attention to Brian O'Doherty's Inside the White Cube and Michael Asher's 1974 Claire Copley Gallery installation.

- Modern art musems have been developed into public exhibition spaces and have been generated to gather a visible presence of a social body, gathered to appreciate the achievements of its society. By creating a sense of belonging, the museum spaces serve to mystify the role of the individual within society.

- Capitalism makes people believe that we must sell in order to live.

- Capitalism generates a single fundamental class division between the bourgeoisie (who owned the means of production and the proletariat (who sold their labour for wages).

- Social institutions such as the church, schools and the press play an important role in propagating ideologies that support existing relations of production and support dominant class interests.

 - Within the rise bourgeoisie came the rise of public art museum.

- Understanding how ideology functions as a particular set of culturally shared assumption that have the appearance of being timeless and natural, but in essence are historically determined and culturally specific.

- Marx ideology is grounded in relations of production within society.

- Marx beliefs and assumptions that societies hold their collective consciousness. Directly linked to the means by which society sustains and reproduces itself physically and materially.

- A society that gains wealth by working land will possess different collective beliefs to a structure that has a very developed level of industrialisation.

- Marx 'It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness'.

- Following from the development of the Louvre throughout the 19th century, public exhibitions of art increased in popularity.

- The development of public museums and exhibitions in the 19th century generated spaces for the representation of cultural life and the production of public audiences.

- Institutions comprising 'the exhibitionary complex' were involved in the transfer of objects and bodies from enclosed private domains.

- Formed vehicles for inscribing and broadcasting the messages of power throughout society.

- The Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace consisted in relations between the public and the exhibits so that while everyone could see, they could also be seen, thus combining the functions of spectacle and surveillance.

- Creating an environment where people coudl witness their own inclusion within a larger social body.

- Through the progressive removal of art's representational function and enclosure within the museum spaces came a separation between art and life so that modern art came to comprise a direct and individualist address to the audience's aesthetic sensibility.

- Ideas of expressivity, tastefulness and beauty were at the heart of the aestheticists doctrine. Colour was understood to be an inherent expressivity that stood for the artist's inner sensations.

- Colour used in paintings became unnatural.

- Aesthetic Hypothesis which introduced the idea of significant form, which centred around the idea that what was of importance in visual art was the capacity of a work's formal organisation to provoke an emotional response.

- Modern art became independant from the natural world, art became about evoking an emotion rather than staying true to natures characteristics.

- Artists tried to create an emotional encounter within their subject, generating a unique visual language through which those feelings were conveyed.

- Art became autonomous.

- Abstract art no longer reflected upon social reality and came to focus the production and reception of art towards disinterest and tastefulness.

- Burger emphasises on the institutionalisation of a particular set of values, practices and modes of encounter in which individuals might discover aesthetic emotions that are independant from practical life.

- Marcel DuChamp submitted a urinal for an exhibition was denied, this intervention then provided the object with art status, by virtue of its standing in for, or as material documentation of, the act of submission or nomination as art.

- The act of refusal was an acknowledgement of the object, which later paved the way for its acceptance as a form of art, or rather anti-art.

- DuChamp highlighted theseparation that had been drawn between art and life.

- What differentiates works of art from other objects in the world. What makes them different is what we do with them and what we say about them.

- The physical manipulation of the gallery environments changed the ways that architectural divisions of interior and exterior space and subdivisions of interior space functioned, changing the relations between viewer and gallery and the viewers attitude towards the objects/ scenarios presented within galleries.

- Underlying acts of contemplation before exhibits in art galleries is a set of social agreements, generated throughout the history of public art exhibitions that orient the actions of individuals within these space.

Lecture 10// Deleuze and Guattari and Creativity..

Sessions aims//
 - To examine how Deleuze and Guattari draw emphasis to the constructed and contingent nature of social reality.


1. To contrast models of creative, 'rhizomatic' thought with traditional 'tree-like' models of thought based in sequential argumentation.

2. To examine Delueze and Guattaris interpretations of processes of social change and development.

3. Consider how they propose individual people might transform themselves.

4. To contextualise these theories of change and development in relation to the concepts 'the virtual' and 'the actual..'

 - Deleuze and Guattari were a philosopher and psychiatrist who worked together in France in the 1970s and 1980s, and who have been hugely influential in numerous fields, including (but not restricted to) art practice, theories of music, geography and sociology.

- Against this dominant tradition Deleuze and Guattari conceived of an alternate structure for thought that privileges difference, play and creativity.

- They called this rhizomatic thought.
- We're going to look at A Thousand Plateaus, and the concepts developed within it: the rhizome, assemblage, subjectivation, schizo-analysis, the body without organs, and the virtual and the actual.

- Each chapter (or, as they put it, plateau, meaning a particular set of circumstances brought together in an intensive relationship) resists reduction to a goal-oriented argument. Instead multi-disciplinary practices are brought into a state of play, and concepts are re-contextualised and reverberate together.


- A rhizome is an underground stem that grows horizontally and pushes up lateral shoots- like a ginger plant.

- Delueze and Guattari form alternative model of thought to the tree-like structure that they associate with traditional philosophy.

- Delueze and Guattari emphasise that concepts 'are not waiting for us ready-made, like heavenly bodies.. They must be invented, fabricated or rather created.'

- Rhizome builds relationships between objects, places, people and ideas, generating unanticipated commonalities between seemingly disparate entities. Rhizomes are inherently creative and may be produced intentionally or unintentionally.

- Isa Genzken's sculptures as rhizomatic artworks. Her works reflect the chaos of the urban landscape, yet often read as small scale skyscrapers. In these works, objects, images and poured paint collide, creating formations that suggest future architectural production shaped in relation to the city's own detritus. Materials, images and ideas drawn from diverse sources collide, suggesting possibilities for the transformation of urban space. 

- Their usage derives from the French agencement, the meaning of which emphasises processes of arranging, organising and fitting together. Assemblages emphasise the convergence of heterogeneous elements such as food, furniture, and people in recognisable structures, such as a dinner party.

- An example of an assemblage with which we are all familiar is the place we make our home.A home is a way in which we make a space express comfort to us. Deleuze and Guattari describe a child, alone and afraid in the dark. The child hums or sings a tune as a way of bringing familiarity to the place.

- So, assemblages of all kinds operate, and they operate within a territory. And territory is not simply a place, it's also a process.

- Hoodies create an assemblage in a supermarket, people feel threatened by them. They turn the space from a supermarket car park to a social space. They re-territorialise the space.

- De-territorialisations and re-territorialisations occur within assemblages in accordance with the flows in which their component parts move at different speeds. Different social constructions change at different rates. The status of teenagers in society, for instance, can change very quickly, while the
status of the military is very embedded and static and slow to change. This effects how assemblages form and shift.

 - Deleuze and Guattari go further, though. As individual bodies are buffeted around these social assemblages - from school, to home life, to church, and to work, and in a continual immersion in social activity - reading other people's approval or disapproval, being gendered, by selecting interests and passions or having them prescribed by others - a subject is produced.

- Consider the working day. One is shocked out of dream fantasies by the alarm clock, jostled into the role of commuter, thrust into the tasks of wage labour, and then, back at home, required to perform as a parent, and finally show the sensitivity of a lover. All this in one day. Each different situation makes a series of unique demands upon the individual, to which they must conform, at the risk of castigation.

- Real object is ascertained. James Williams notes 'A mountain exists as real with all the ways it has been painted, sensed, written about and walked over.' This traditional notion of 'the real', where something is real as opposed to something imaginary, or copied, no longer holds. Every object we understand in relation to its brute materiality is only ever known from a given perspective.

- The actual refers to states of affairs, bodies and individuals, whilst the virtual refers to what these entities imply and what in fact brings them into existence.

- The virtual is the unsaid of the statement, the unthought of the thought.


- Between creative rhizomatic constructions, social assemblages,  individual re-programming, and questioning accepted notions of thought, Deleuze and Guattari developed a series of tools for strategic thought and action. These provide a set of tools for those who wish to challenge order that exists for its own sake, and a way of understanding how we today exist in relation to an ever changing, and ever more complicated modern world.