Project -Women artists- In your BLOG…..

 

One of the most interesting of the young artists coming out of British colleges in the 1980s/90s was Sarah Lucas. Her work is often self-portraiture and she works in most mediums. In general her work is a critique of life as a woman in the modern world.

Select and annotate at least four works by contemporary women artists, including Sarah Lucas.

How do these works relate to some of the theories and ‘isms’ that you’ve explored so far?

  1. Untitled (2014)- Inge Jacobsen.

 

pjhep_22-09-2017_11-45-35

 

2. A Girl Walks home Alone At Night (2015)- Ana Lily Amirpour.

pjhep_22-09-2017_11-37-04_1

 

3. Single room furnished ( 2000). Cecily Brown.

Untitled

4. Two fried eggs and a kebab (   ). Sarah Lucas.

  • CS15_0015_Lucas_OH_GCRThroughout art history ‘Western art replicates the unequal relationships already embedded in society’ (Tate, 1989). This artwork parodies how women are perceived as mere objects (usually naked) in historical art- The parts of the women’s body which are especially desirable to men have been transformed into inanimate objects emphasising their ‘consumer goods’ characteristic in male eyes.

 

  • This may be also considered ‘Abject art’ , a term which includes reference to bodily functions and ‘aspects of the body, that are deemed impure or inappropriate for public display…’ (ref). The breasts and vagina here remind us more of lactation and menstrual blood flow- functions which may be far less appealing to men than their sexual alternatives. In this context it is a strongly aggressive feminist statement.

 

  • Lucas often uses food to represent sexual body parts (ie. Signifier/signified). This is a feminist technique to highlight how women are degraded by (usually male) connotations between body parts and food ( eg. Chopped liver, Butcher’s window, bearded clam, ………all terms for the vagina).

 

  • Perhaps this piece presents a Lacanian image screen or ‘stain’ (Haveland, 2009: 93)- here contributing to  how men’s view of women as people is somehow separated by their strongly conditioned tendency to objectify and sexualise them (both socially and biologically enforced).

 

  • The simplification of the woman’s body reminds us of the representation of women on the film screen, often seen as single bodily areas,  more iconic, and breaking up narrative (Mulvey, 1999: 384).

 

  • Alternatively this stark portrayal of the female genitals may make male viewer’s worried due to Freud’s ‘castration anxiety’ (Mulvey, 1999: 385)

 

  • Finally, the representation of the women’s genitals by food may reference the idea that the pleasureable (scoptophilic) gaze is often likened to the eye as either a penis, or a devouring mouth (Fenichel, 1999) , hence the concentration on female genitals, and their transformation into food items respectively.

 

References

Benjamin, W.(1999) ‘The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction’ in In visual culture: a reader. Evans, J and Hall, S (eds.). London. SAGE Publications.      p. 72-78

Berger, J (1972) Ways of Seeing Middlesex, England. Penguin Books

Fenichel, O. (1999) ‘The scoptophilic instinct and identification’  in visual culture: a reader. Evans, J and Hall, S (eds.). London. SAGE Publications.   p. 381-38

Haveland, P. (2009)  Visual Studies 1 Understanding Visual Culture. Barnsley : Open College of the Arts.

Mulvey, L. (1999) ‘Visual pleasure and narrative cinema’ in visual culture: a reader. Evans, J and Hall, S (eds.). London. SAGE Publications.   p. 381-389

Textileartist (2014) inge-jacobsen-hijacking-image [online] athttp://www.textileartist.org/inge-jacobsen-hijacking-image/ [accessed 21/9/2017]

TheGuardian  (2015) The skateboarding Iranian vampire diaries [online] at https://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/may/07/skateboarding-iranian-vampire-ana-lily-amirpour-feminism-porn-girl-walks-home-alone-at-night [accessed 21/9/2017]

TheGuardian (2005) I like cheap and nasty [online] at  https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2005/jun/12/art1   [accessed 21/9/2017]

Tate (no date) Feminist Art [online] at http://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/f/feminist-art [accessed 21/9/2017]

Tate (no date)   Abject art   [online] at  http://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/a/abject-art [accessed 21/9/2017]

Waldemar (2006) shes-laying-it-on-thick [online] at http://www.waldemar.tv/2006/04/shes-laying-it-on-thick/ [accessed 21/9/2017]

Illustrations

Two fried eggs and a kebab, [mixed media] [online] at http://www.saatchigallery.com/aipe/sarah_lucas.htm

 

Fig. 1

 

Fig. 2

.Fig 3

 

 

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Assignment 4- Formative feedback.

 

Formative feedback

Student name Philip Hepworth Student number 508858
Course/Unit Understanding Visual Culture Assignment number 4

 

Overall Comments

As I have annotated you work as part of the tutor reports you will need to send the annotated versions as well as the tutor reports with your work for assessment.  Ideally these should be in the form of pdf files due to the software used for assessments at OCA

 

Assessment potential

 (after Assignments 2 and 4)

 

I understand your aim is to go for the Creative Arts* Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, and providing you commit yourself to the course, I suggest that you are likely to be successful in the assessment.

 

Feedback on assignment  

My notes made on your assignment are to make the basis of our discussion along with the following:

  • I think you have made a pretty good attempt at this assignment.
  • You have written it clearly and in appropriate language.
  • There is a logic to the essay
  • Good use of both reference to the item under discussion and your chosen theories
  • You raise a number of questions in the mind of the reader that are beyond the scope of the essay but invite further investigation

 

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical review/essay

I think this is coming together well, the posts are filling out and it si not difficult to find what is needed.

Suggested reading/viewing

This is a revised site for the Buffy primer: file:///D:/My%20Documents/Peter/Open%20College/Visual%20Studies/Primer_for_Buffy,_Restless.html

Some people have found Beaudrillard’s The Gulf War Did Not Take Place (ISBN 0-919952-23-X) useful for the coming assignment and you might find some ideas in Ian McEwan’s Saturday (ISBN 978-1400076192), it’s a good book anyway!

Pointers for the next assignment

 The final assignment is about reality or at least the ways in which contemporary visual culture mixes the real with the virtual (even the word has changed its meaning), uses the term ‘reality’ (particularly in television) to mean anything but and the ways the society needs mass media confirmation before believing something actually happened, not to mention the question of whether some things that are so confirmed did in fact happen. Baudrillard is the main theoretical source, both his Simulacra and Simulation and The Gulf War Did Not Take Place can help. But there is much in Ian MacEwan’s Saturday of interest and you have already looked briefly at Bladerunner and The Matrix in your blog. For this assignment you might like to think about ‘reality’ TV, or computer games and/or discuss the manipulation if images in factual reportage etc.

  • You might want to take this opportunity to go beyond the scope of the module, beyond postmodernism and think about Hal Foster’s ideas about the Return of the Real (ISBN0-262-56107-7) or Terry Eagleton’s After Theory (ISBN978-0-14-101507-1) but that is no more than a suggestion and not really asked for in the brief

 

 

Tutor name Peter Haveland
Date 10/09/2017
Next assignment due N/A

 

Project-White

Notes on ‘White’ by Richard Dyer

p.457

  • Can whiteness be a category -like eg. Blackness in film?
  • Most ‘minority’ analysis – on women, black, gay etc…. concentrates on how these groups are portrayed and represented, as part of the analysis of the way they are subordinated
  • But concentrating on these groups, without showing ‘the norm’ alongside them reinforces their ‘oddity/ differentness’.
  • Concentrating on the ‘norm’ eg the dominant category can also work to redress the balance – this has mainly been done with an analysis of the construction of ‘masculinity’

p.458

  • the author states that it is ok for a writer on the ‘dominant’ to be part of the dominant group ( eg. White and male). He should not go overboard on self criticism, but must acknowledge it may have an effect on his writing.
  • White v black is not just about ethnicity, and we have many everyday examples where the norm is white cf black.
  • White is light v black is dark- safe v dangerous
  • White is good and black is evil- the bible. Even these which may seem obvious are constructed….. it’s certainly possible to think of light/white as dangerous and black/dark as safe ………examples…
  • Black is often thought as a colour and white as a background or nothingness (white paper, white light) . Scientifically white is all colours and black is the absence of colour.
  • This resembles the idea that the ‘norm’ is white= everything, and black is somehow different.
  • Even in calls to the ‘nation’ (which seem inclusive of many groups), does it really include Black -in the case of Britain- or is white an underlying additional assumption of the norm here??, like we assume whiteness in addition to the norms of class, gender, heterosexuality……

p.459

  • Because it’s often assumed in the background whiteness is often hidden as a category in itself ( except in extreme case such as racism…)
  • It also makes it hard to analyse…. Unlike black. So we have the eg. Brief encounter which becomes about middle class- not White, but we have The colour purple which is about Black, before poor…….
  • The film ‘Being white’ shows vox pops of white people who ,in practice, are unable to define themselves as white, but always as subcategories of white- eg. Jewish….
  • Dyer suggests several areas that might be useful in analysing this difficult characteristic of ‘white’- eg. Portrayals of white in racist extremism, or in non-white film. Or if exchange white characters with black ones in iconic white films…..- what does it say about whiteness? (the commutivity test)

p.460

  • All these methods need to contrast white with non-white (and this is not the case with the analogous analysis of say portrayal of blacks, or American Indians).
  • Three cinematic films are mentioned where whiteness is analysed through the presence of non-white others, Simba, Jezabel , and Night of the Living Dead. The three cover a wide range of cinema characteristics (budget, style, subject etc…)
  • Definition coterminous=covering the same area.
  • Dyer looks at what is similar about the portrayal of whiteness in all 3 (diverse) films, but admits that due to whiteness’s resistance to being categorised there is an inevitable massive variation in whiteness in films.
  • Nevertheless, ‘all 3 films share a perspective that associates whiteness with order, rationality, rigidity….’ (ref) and a sense (in very different ways) that whiteness is being contested.
  •                                                                                                                                                   p.461
  • all 3 make reference to potential loss of dominant state of the whites-Simba- the uprising of the Mau-Mau against British occupation, Jezebel-the abolition of slavery in the USA, and ‘Night’ (implicitly) the various power struggles of the black people in 1960’s USA.

 

  • Dyer says that the sense of otherness in these films is based on ‘existential psychology’- introduced by Sartres where ‘an individual becomes self-aware by perceiving its difference from others’ (sounds a little like Lacan’s mirror phase, but this involves a misapprehension/false perception  about ‘no difference’ with another individual (the mirror image)
  •  This existential pysychology has been discussed by numerous authors , but Dyer concentrates on how it is played out in the films…
  • In each film Whites are dominant but dependent upon Blacks in some way, and they realise this (differently) in all 3 films.
  • This dependency delegitamises the white dominance, and Dyer’s fascination is in
  • how the films struggle to hang onto a justification of white dominance, however difficult it is to do.

Simba

  • The film is British, and is a ‘colonial adventure’ story, where the hero achieves ‘personal growth’.

p.462

  • Dyer describes the film’s narrative as a discussion of the serious issue of the Mau-Mau uprising, with different symbolic groups or individual people representing different attitudes to the problem
  • Finally, the hero (Alan) is the main symbol- his growth is allowed through engagement with the problem.
  • The film involves a complete binary separation of the black and white cultures -with no in-between or meeting.
  • This separation is achieved through cinema effects (symbols…..)
  • Basically white is rational, safe, organised modernity etc… and blackness is the complete antithesis of this….
  • The meetings of the whites and blacks are contrasted to illustrate how they represent these characteristics.
  • The whites- early evening, light, indoors, ‘high-key lighting’, orderly, speech only,
  • The blacks- the binary opposite, including excited gestures, unintelligible speech, and physical movements such as daubing with blood and entrails….

p.464

  • |The idea of ‘boundariness’ is used throughout the film, characteristic of dominant groups in general they have boundaries- eg. Rows, order, uninterrupted speech……but also the setting of boundaries is characteristic of the white/male especially .
  • Dyer says the film is racist ‘in the broadest sense’, but not the narrower one. The film believes that the blacks can evolve and achieve all the progressive characteristics of ‘whiteness’.
  • Several liberal characters believe in the ability of the Mau-mau to do so (including, in the end, the hero Alan), whereas the conservative whites do not.
  • As a reinforcing of this potential, the character of Peter is black and specifically has all the necessary characteristics (Doctor, educated, rational, humane, liberal….) of Whiteness.
  • But- those who believe in the potential evolution are subordinated to others in the film, and in the end liberalism is overcome, Peter dies, and the whites rescue Alan’s farm from the Mau-Mau attack.
  • The film believes in the possible evolutionism of Blacks to whiteness (though it fails in the end), but this Fixity of ideas about how colonised people should act (to be ‘better’ people-more like the colonisers) , or more generally in the how we see the behaviour of any ‘other’ group, is ‘deeply disturbing’ (ref).

65

  • The opening sequence is discussed- how filmic techniques are used to symbolise the binary opposites of white and black. Eg. The white viewpoint is given by, steady aerial shots (give the best view), modernity of the plane, bringing the hero to Africa. Black characteristics include pain, blood, death, fear, untrustworthy, primitive.
  • Binarism is shown by both the film techniques and through the narrative.
  • Aspects of the hero include- resolving the conflict, his adventure and personal growth,
  • Colonialism as a landscape allows white males values to flourish, it holds, adventure, discovery, needs taming, conquering etc….
  • It also requires ordering, rational control , authority….etc…
  • Through his development of responsibility through the film, he wins the love (and hand) of Mary

p.466

  • other films have explored the idea of colonialism eg. Black Narcissus.
  • They often end in acknowledgement of failure
  • The hero Alan also fails throughout the film…….. he fails to keep the farm, to protect Peter, to catch the Mau-mau leader……..
  • The failure shows an anxiety towards the Black threat of the mau-mau.
  • Simba endorse white superiority of values, but shows an anxiety that they will work against the problem (blackness).

 

..in your blog

Watch the films Simba, Jezebel and Night of the Living Dead or at least Simba.

Find The Battle of Algiers (Italian: La battaglia di Algeri), a 1966 black-and-white film by Gillo Pontecorvo based on events during the 1954-1962 Algerian War against French rule. xxxiii This late neo-realist film is in stark contrast to Simba and the comparison is worth the effort.

• Note how Dyer uses some of the theories alluded to earlier in the course (hegemony and Sartre’s ideas of the self) to analyse the films and construct his argument.

• Over the period of a week, see how racial identity and identities are dealt with in the visual media: film, newspapers, the web, any exhibitions you might visit, advertising images and, particularly, the television. Make notes, illustrated where possible, of your analysis, taking Dyer as your model.

 

 

 

 

Project-Black. In your BLOG……

Fanon is writing from the point of view of a black colonial, a second-class citizen of his own country (although in French law he was a citizen of France).

  • What are his key points and how do these relate to visual culture?

        Many artists of Afro-Caribbean, African or Asian family origins working in Britain, the country of their birth, make work dealing with their take on, for want of a better term, blackness. Find such a work and make notes and annotations to explain this. Chris Ofili is just one such artist but there are many others.

 

Project-Black

Notes on ‘The fact of blackness’ by Frantz Fanon

p.417

  • The author came into the world with an idealism which was removed by his becoming ‘an object’.
  • He suggests that within the world of black people he felt ok- not different-omething like a natural state.
  • But when he was seen by ‘the other’, by whites, the change in him was very physical-like a chemical reaction. They looked and behaved towards him as different
  • Colonized peoples (is this another term for black? Or is it more general?) seem to have a fundamental Flaw in their world view. …They can only understand themselves as black- in relation to the white man. The author believes the converse is not true.

p418

  • the customs and history of black men were wiped out by white men, because their culture and civilisation was different.
  • In the 20th C, the author remembers talking about ‘the black problem’ with friends, but he thought everyone was equal, and the differences between people seemed like an abstraction.
  • This changed massively when he began to meet white men, or more specifically their eyes…..
  • In the white man’s world the author describes a different schema which governs his sense of self. His sense of his consciousness being set apart from his body, perhaps a little like that of women in John Berger’s text on the nude in art??
  • He is always aware of how his body is moving in space and time- it’s never completely instinctual and natural-because he is always observing himself-like Berger’s woman who is both surveyed and surveyor (here the white man is equivalent to Berger’s observing man)
  •  He had both a sense of himself as a black body (the corporeal schema), but also a sense which came not from anything bodily, but through how he was viewed by ‘the other’-the white man, which was based on ‘stories and anecdotes’.
  • He next describes an incident where his blackness was raised by a white man (albeit a child)

p.419

  • as the child ratchets up the tension shouting ‘Look, a negro!’ several times, Fanon moves from initial amusement to nausea.
  • His description of how he changed throughout this encounter is difficult to grasp completely, but he says he ‘crumbles’ from a ‘corporeal self’ (implying that he was inhabiting his own body in unison here) to a ‘racial epidermal schema’ (ie. One defined by being Black with respect to the whites) which seems to involve something of the feeling described earlier (a disembodied consciousness).
  • He seems to have become embroiled in a negative train of thoughts about his blackness, and many stylised characteristics of negroes (ie. Those which prejudiced whites would dwell on).

These negative thoughts seem similar to the imaginary world set up through ideologies. He was subjecting himself at this point to a racist ideological view?

  • ‘On that day’ fanon says, he became an object- against his will (it’s not entirely clear whether this was the first time it happened- the start of his being objectified, and separated among white men)..
  • The child becomes more racist, and his thoughts continue to spiral with caricatured and mean descriptions of the negro, and by extension himself. He is ugly, mean, bad, angry…
  • The author makes comparisons with another ‘different’ group- the jews. The jews are anxious about how people think they might act-in stereotypical jewish ways (‘their conduct is perpetually overdetermined from the inside’).

p.420

  • But unlike the jews, Fanon is instantly recognisable as an ‘other’ based on indelible skin colour-not actions which can be hidden (he is over determined from without).
  • Fanon implies that from this movement, he begins to move slowly, to find life difficult and restricting, he is changed from his natural self into one completely determined by the white man.

Project-Images of women. In your BLOG……….

  • Using only newspapers and magazines as your source, construct a visual essay illustrating the visualisation of women today. There should be at least 12 images in your essay. Then do the same again but taking an opposite position.

Visual essay 1-Visualisation of women

 

Scan text 50002.jpg Scan text 4

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Visual essay 2-Visualisation of women

Scan text 120002Scan text 110003.jpgScan text 100007.jpg

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  • Make a collection of images of nakedness and the nude, annotating them to indicate which they represent, how and why.