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Objects of Desire in New Media

London Film and Media Conference 2012

Renira Gambarato

on 31 August 2012

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Transcript of Objects of Desire in New Media

Talking Objects
(cc) photo by Metro Centric on Flickr
Dr. Renira Rampazzo Gambarato
London Film and Media Conference 2012
June 2012
"anything which is the cause or subject of a passion; figuratively – and par excellence – the loved object"
(Baudrillard, 1997: 85)
Objects are polysemic: multiple senses, plural connotations
Desires are polymorphic: human desire, as a conscious (or unconscious) expectation of possessing something, can be expressed in several forms
“Just as a story, an object is a text, a way of exhibiting shapes, and a vehicle of transmission of meanings”

(Glassie, 1999: 46)
“Any object of design will give off an impression of the psychological and moral attitudes it supports”

(Botton, 2006: 72)
Objects can tell stories. Objects can identify and characterize the material culture in time and space and we maintain such a close connection with objects as we do with human beings in daily life
In media, objects translate the characters’ interior. Design, not as an illustration of the narrative but as its own construction of meaning made possible by all of its constituent elements (colors, shapes, textures, materials, etc)
André Bazin’s analysis of objects
In the analysis of the film Le jour se lève (Marcel Carné, 1939), Bazin describes an exhaustive list of objects and their functions in the film. François, the main character, is locked in a hotel room with objects that represent his loving memories. Bazin reconstitutes the life of the character based on the indications provided by the décor of the room.
Siegfried Kracauer’s analysis of objects
Le jour se lève (Marcel Carné, 1939)
Louisiana Story (Robert J. Flaherty, 1948)
Kracauer points out the role of objects in The Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925) and Louisiana Story (Robert J. Flaherty, 1948), for instance, considering that “films in which the inanimate objects merely serves as a background to self-contained dialogue and the closed circuit of human relationships are essentially uncinematic” (Kracauer, 1960: 46).
Roland Barthes’ analysis of objects
Barthes in "Introduction à l'analyse structurale des récits" also considers the role objects play in narrative (literature, cinema, comics, myth, fairytale, and son on).

He analyzes as example the agent James Bond’s novel Goldfinger (Ian Fleming, 1959) and the film Goldfinger (Guy Hamilton, 1964). For instance, Barthes highlights the polysemic value of objects such as a bottle of whisky in an airport hall – which can be an index of modernity, wealth, relaxation or of consumption, wait, and departure too.
Dimple, whisky
garbage can
| film
bicycle | UGC
"[Objects] have sentimental value, emotional power, cultural weight. they can become icons and metaphors - with their own hidden meanings and codes"
Bar code project "deciphers everyday objects, revealing what they say about us"
The possibility of choice in the election of a desired object helps us to see the identity of who makes the choice
We are surrounded by objects and consequently surrounded by history and many stories
Canada & France
Full transcript