Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 5

Visual Culture Related Abstracts

5 The Contemporary Visual Spectacle: Critical Visual Literacy

Authors: Lai-Fen Yang

Abstract:

In this increasingly visual world, how can we best decipher and understand the many ways that our everyday lives are organized around looking practices and the many images we encounter each day? Indeed, how we interact with and interpret visual images is a basic component of human life. Today, however, we are living in one of the most artificial visual and image-saturated cultures in human history, which makes understanding the complex construction and multiple social functions of visual imagery more important than ever before. Themes regarding our experience of a visually pervasive mediated culture, here, termed visual spectacle.

Keywords: Visual Culture, Contemporary, Images, Literacy

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4 Vantage Point–Visual Culture, Popular Media, and Contemporary Educational Practice

Authors: Elvin Karaaslan Klose

Abstract:

In the field of Visual Culture, Art Education students are given the opportunity to discuss topics of interest that are closer to their own social life and media consumption habits. In contrast to the established corpus of literature and sources about Art History, educators are challenged to find topics and examples from Popular Culture and Contemporary Art that provide familiarity, depth and inspiration for students’ future practice, both as educators as well as artists. In order to establish a welcoming and fruitful discussion environment at the beginning of an introductory Visual Culture Education course with fourth year Art Education students, the class watched and subsequently discussed the movie “Vantage Point”. Using the descriptive method and content analysis; video recordings, discussion transcripts and learning diaries were summarized to highlight students’ critical points of view towards commonly experienced but rarely reflected on topics of Popular and Visual Culture. As an introduction into more theory-based forms of discussion, watching and intensely discussing a movie has proven useful by proving a combination of a familiar media type with an unfamiliar educational context. Resulting areas of interest have served as a starting point for later research, discussion and artistic production in the scope of an introductory Visual Culture Education course.

Keywords: Visual Culture, Art Education, Media literacy, Critical Pedagogy

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3 Three Visions of a Conflict: The Case of La Araucania, Chile

Authors: Maria Barriga

Abstract:

The article focuses on the analysis of three images of the last five years that represent different visions of social groups in the context of the so call “Conflicto Mapuche” in la Araucanía, Chile. Using a multimodal social semiotic approach, we analyze the meaning making of these images and the social groups strategies to achieve visibility and recognition in political contexts. We explore the making and appropriation of symbols and concepts and analyze the different strategies that groups use to built hegemonic views. Among these strategies, we compare the use of digital technologies in design these images and the influence of Chilean Estate's vision on the Mapuche political conflict. Finally, we propose visual strategies to improve basic conditions for dialogue and recognition among these groups.

Keywords: Power, Visual Culture, Conflict, indigenous people

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2 Festive Fictions: An Iconographic Study of Ritual and Intersectionality in Cartagena, Colombia

Authors: Melissa Valle

Abstract:

This paper draws upon the studies of visual culture and intersectionality to illuminate how visuality can naturalize social hierarchies. Through the use of iconography, it decodes the denotative, connotative and ideological meanings of symbols of ritualistic events in the context of the Colombian Atlantic Coast. An examination of such exceptional moments, i.e. of the spectacle, brings into focus how such performances are imbued with meaning by both the on-looker and the performer. Through an analysis of preexisting visuals (e.g., advertisements, social media) and visual materials produced by the researcher for the purpose of photo-elicitation interviews, this paper provides a contextual analysis of the ways in which three representations, popular during Colombian Atlantic coastal festivals (Negrita Puloy, Las Palenqueras, and El Son de Negro), have been historically, culturally and politically constituted. This work reveals that the visualizations are born out of and reproduce typifications systems heavily based upon race, gender, class, and ethnicity. Understanding the ways these categories are mutually constituted through the cultural practice of visual representation is essential to a more comprehensive understanding of the role such representation plays in the reproduction of social difference.

Keywords: Visual Culture, Festivals, intersectionality‎, Colombia

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1 Fields of Power, Visual Culture, and the Artistic Practice of Two 'Unseen' Women of Central Brazil

Authors: Carolina Brandão Piva

Abstract:

In our visual culture, images play a newly significant role in the basis of a complex dialogue between imagination, creativity, and social practice. Insofar as imagination has broken out of the 'special expressive space of art' to become a part of the quotidian mental work of ordinary people, it is pertinent to recognize that visual representation can no longer be assumed as if in a domain detached from everyday life or exclusively 'centered' within the limited frame of 'art history.' The approach of Visual Culture as a field of study is, in this sense, indispensable to comprehend that not only 'the image,' but also 'the imagined' and 'the imaginary' are produced in the plurality of social interactions; crucial enough, this assertion directs us to something new in contemporary cultural processes, namely both imagination and image production constitute a social practice. This paper starts off with this approach and seeks to examine the artistic practice of two women from the State of Goiás, Brazil, who are ordinary citizens with their daily activities and narratives but also dedicated to visuality production. With no formal training from art schools, branded or otherwise, Maria Aparecida de Souza Pires deploys 'waste disposal' of daily life—from car tires to old work clothes—as a trampoline for art; also adept at sourcing raw materials collected from her surroundings, she manipulates raw hewn wood, tree trunks, plant life, and various other pieces she collects from nature giving them new meaning and possibility. Hilda Freire works with sculptures in clay using different scales and styles; her art focuses on representations of women and pays homage to unprivileged groups such as the practitioners of African-Brazilian religions, blue-collar workers, poor live-in housekeepers, and so forth. Although they have never been acknowledged by any mainstream art institution in Brazil, whose 'criterion of value' still favors formally trained artists, Maria Aparecida de Souza Pires, and Hilda Freire have produced visualities that instigate 'new ways of seeing,' meriting cultural significance in many ways. Their artworks neither descend from a 'traditional' medium nor depend on 'canonical viewing settings' of visual representation; rather, they consist in producing relationships with the world which do not result in 'seeing more,' but 'at least differently.' From this perspective, the paper finally demonstrates that grouping this kind of artistic production under the label of 'mere craft' has much more to do with who is privileged within the fields of power in art system, who we see and who we do not see, and whose imagination of what is fed by which visual images in Brazilian contemporary society.

Keywords: Visual Culture, artistic practice, women's art in the Brazilian State of Goiás, Maria Aparecida de Souza Pires, Hilda Freire

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