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The Viewer

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Eli Burke

on 23 August 2016

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Transcript of The Viewer

Making Meaning
There are 3 elements to making meaning:

codes and conventions
that structure the image and that cannot be separated from the content of the image.
and how they interpret or experience the image.
in which an image is exhibited and viewed.
The Viewer
Louis Althusser - Marxist Theorist
The process by which ideological systems call out to or "hail" social subjects and tell them their place in the system. In popular culture, interpellation refers the ways that cultural products address their consumers and recruit them into a particular ideological position.
Roland Barthes - The Death of the Author
Michel Foucault - Author Function
Aesthetics and Taste
Images and Ideology
Looking at Marxism and the concept that ideologies are controlled by the dominant economic power/dominant social class, we might find that through the control of media venues, which provide social cultures with the majority of media content (even Youtube has ads) the dominant social class can perpetuate the capitalist system which keeps them as the dominant and in power.
However, Althusser insisted that “ideology represents the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence.” In other words we need ideologies to experience reality. This theory however removes individual agency and makes it seem as though we have no power.
Gramcsi, an Italian Marxist gave us the concept of hegemony. Power is not wielded by one class over another but negotiated between classes.
There are two central aspects of Gramsci’s definition of
: that dominant ideologies are often offered as common sense and that dominant ideologies are in tension with other forces and hence constantly in flux. The term hegemony thus indicates how ideological meaning is an object of struggle rather than an oppressive force that fully dominates subjects from above.
Jenny Holzer
3 positions taken:
Dominant-hegemonic reading. They can identify with the hegemonic position and receive the dominant message of an image or text (such as a television show) in an unquestioning manner.
(decode passively)

Negotiated reading. They can negotiate an interpretation from the image and its dominant meanings.
(both agreeing and critiquing)

Oppositional reading.Finally, they can take and oppositional position, either by completely disagreeing with the ideological position embodied in an image or rejecting it all together.
(critique and/or rejection)
STUART HALL - Encoding/Decoding
Textual Poaching -
A term used by French theorist Michel de Certeau to describe the ways that viewers can read and interpret cultural texts, such as film or television, to rework those texts in some way. This might involve rethinking the story of a particular film or, in the case of fan cultures, writing ones own version of it. Textual poaching was referred to by de Creteau as a process analogous to “inhabiting a text like a rented apartment.” In other words, viewers of popular culture can “inhabit” that text by renegotiating its meaning or by creating new cultural products in response to it.
Like Sci-fi Fanzines
Some variables to consider:

A branch of philosophy that is concerned with judgements of sentiment and taste.
"A term popularized by french sociologist Pierre Bourdieu to describe the unconscious dispositions, strategies of classification, and tendencies that are part of an individuals sense of taste and preferences for cultural consumption."

"Different classes have different habituses with distinct tastes and lifestyles."
BRICOLAGE- The practice of working with whatever materials are at hand or “making do” with what one has.
This could also be considered transcoding.
the action of taking for one's own use, typically without the owner's permission

cultural appropriation
typically involving members of a dominant group who freely exploit the culture of a less privileged group - often with little understanding of the latter’s history, experience and traditions.
Gwen Stefani in No Doubt's "Looking Hot" video, 2012.


"In cultural theory taste refers to the shared artistic and cultural values of a particular social community or individual... informed by experience related to ones class, cultural background, education, and other aspects of identity."
"Notions of good taste usually refer to middle-class or upper-class of what is tasteful, and bad taste is a term often associated with mass or low culture. Taste, in this understanding, is something that can be learned through contact with cultural institutions."

"Art or literature judged to have little or no aesthetic value, yet has value precisely because of its status in evoking the class standards of bad taste."
Collier Schorr
Lauren Greenfield
Full transcript