Democratization of Visual Culture

In Image Based Culture: Advertising and Popular Culture, Jhally explains that “given that our understanding of reality is always socially constructed (that “ideology” is present in any system or situation), visual images are the central mode through which the modern world understands itself.” He spends most of the article describing how image based culture is basically a creation of the market. He disses image based culture for colonizing all these areas of life, but doesn’t discuss the positive aspects of a turn to a visual culture. In “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” Walter Benjamin argues that the turn to a visual culture based on images that are inherently reproducible (photography/film as opposed to paintings which were created less often and there was always only one “real” copy) was accompanied by a democratization of these forms. More people have access to them and, since there are many copies, the masses can engage with these objects collectively on the same plane (instead of in the “hierarchized mediation” used for paintings by placing them in galleries, museums, or private ownership). I think, for example, that visual culture has allowed for greater participation in the political sphere and has created a space for modes of expression that are different from the text-based standard.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: