ToC: VISUAL STUDIES
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- VISUAL STUDIES ISSN 1472-586x (print) ISSN 1472-5878 (online) (Taylor & Francis)Editor: D. NewburyToC: Visual Study, Volume 28, Number 1, March 2013======================K. Kreider, J. O'Leary. Time, place and empathy: the poetics and phenomenology of Andrei Tarkovsky's film image (p. 1)Notes: 6; References: 13Acclaimed Russian film-maker Andrei Tarkovksy's specific understanding of what constitutes the `film image' is outlined in his collection of writings, Sculpting in Time (1986), and evidenced by his body of film work. Our aim in this article is to identify the specificity of Tarkovsky's theory and practice of the film image and to argue that the film image is a meaningful composite of poetic, spatial and material properties. We unpack this complexity through a close, careful and attenuated reading of a single scene from Tarkovsky's film Nostalghia (1983). In this scene, the film's protagonist the poet, Gorchakov carries a lit candle across the expanse of the Santa Catarina pool. The pool, a geothermal bath in the Tuscan hillside town of Bagno Vignoni, Italy, is emptied for this shot, but still steaming. This infuses the film image with atmospheric qualities of place. We read these qualities in relation to Tarkovsky's use of symbol, the relationship of this scene to others in the context of the filmic narrative, and the filmic syntax of the long take and tracking shot. We also examine how the film image is received, as a projection, by an embodied recipient, and to what effect. Through this discussion, we defend Tarkovsky's work against charges that it embodies a naïve realism, exposing the critical potential inherent in Tarkovsky's nostalgic impulse.A. Tarkovksy (1932-1986)S. Carta. Ethnographic film as filmic autobiography: David MacDougall's The Age of Reason (p. 17)Notes: 13; References: 49The paper offers a discussion of the problem of autobiography in film. It examines David MacDougall's The Age of Reason (2004) and the way in which this ethnographic film participates in the construction of an embodied visual analysis in which the filmmaker's self is encoded in the material of film. The Age of Reason is the last film in the Doon School project, a series of five films that constitute a video study of a prestigious boys' boarding school in northern India. It follows the intellectual and emotional life of Abhishek Shukla, a Nepalese boy, and documents the processes of his adaptation to the life of the school. The film also represents an experimental form of self-inscription that derives from the psychological and corporeal engagement of the self behind the camera with the world of a particular pupil. The paper concludes that MacDougall's most autobiographical film represents a new departure in self-inscription. It carries the imprint of MacDougall's autobiographical self and its relationships with the complexities of an open interaction, but it also functions as a form of nonverbal and visual self-inscription that requires the acknowledgment of domains of experience that often elude linguistic expression.C. Bates. Video diaries: audio-visual research methods and the elusive body (p. 29)References: 33The contemporary rise of body studies has led sociologists to take embodiment seriously, however, the issue of methodology in relation to the body remains largely under-explored. This article addresses the concern to capture the elusive body from a methodological perspective and discusses the video diary as a novel device for attending to bodily experience. The article considers how observation is redesigned through the video camera and describes the different ways in which bodily experience can be represented on screen. Using examples from video diaries made by participants in a multi-method study of the body, health and illness in everyday life, it shows how video diaries can contribute to an embodied sociology by making the body visibly, audibly and viscerally present.S.M. Standvad. Symmetrical ethnography: a study of filmmakers portraying academia (p. 38)Notes: 1; References: 56As a part of an organisational sociological study of Danish film projects, I followed the development of a feature film over a one-year period in 20062007. Coincidentally, this film came to be about a drama in the academic world. Thus, while I researched the filmmakers, they investigated life in Academia, using me as an informant. In that way, the positions of researcher and informants were turned upside-down. Or rather, a two-way relation of mutual investigations was introduced between the filmmakers and me. In the empirical analysis of the filmmaker's work, I employ the concept of symmetrical ethnography, which has been introduced by the Brazilian anthropologist Eduardo Vivieros de Castro in an attempt to equalise the knowledge practices of informants to those of ethnographers. Vivieros de Castro suggests that such symmetry entails a turn from epistemology to ontology. Hence I discuss whether the filmmakers' work can be seen as an invention of ontologies. Whereas studies in organisational aesthetics and sociological appraisals of documentaries within visual sociology have a tendency to compare art to academic work, I suggest looking into the filmmakers' `point of view on point of view', suggesting that the filmmakers and I may not be representing the same world differently but representing different worlds.Eduardo Vivieros de Castro (b. 1951)M. Lloyd. `Sudoku with buttocks': coupling images and captions in The Adventures of Naked Man (p. 52)Notes: 5; References: 28The Adventures of Naked Man is a newspaper caption competition that began life in Melbourne in 1998, then moved to two New Zealand newspapers. The competition's protagonist is the sole naked person in a cartoon-like drawing where, owing to some convenient object or body position, his penis is obscured from sight. Entrants to the competition submitted a caption to complete the drawing, and with the obscured penis as the understood focus, entrants mostly (but not always) used double entendre to make risqué humour. The sexual slant of the competition resulted in surprisingly little negative reaction, with the episodes continuing for many years, generating loyal followers. It is argued that part of the reason for the competition's longevity is its Sudoku-like mental challenge, which involves ensuring tight connections between categorisations of people and the activities in which they can normatively be inferred to be engaged.E. Sumberger. Moving through the city: visual discourses of upward social mobility in higher education advertisements on public transport in Santiago de Chile (p. 67)Notes: 20; References: 60Chile is one of the world's most neoliberal countries with a high level of privatised healthcare and education. The presence of advertising for both public and private universities points to the radically altered relationship between public and private higher education as a consequence of neoliberalism. Some authors describe the increasing similarities between the representations of public and private universities as evidence of their hybrid nature whereas others contend that what comes across as contingent hybridity is the dominance of a neoliberal discourse that has invaded public universities. This article looks at how public and private universities' visual and textual representations of themselves evolve in a context of mobile, neoliberalised public spaces. The research is based on a mobile visual ethnography of higher education advertisements on public transport in Santiago de Chile in 2010. The visual and textual dimensions of the advertisements are analysed by means of critical discourse analysis. The universities' particular sales messages with regard to promised upward social mobility and employability through education are reinforced by the intertwining of images, mobile spaces and actors. However, as the discourse analysis shows, the promises of equal upward social mobility are in contrast with the realities of neoliberal higher education and the increasing financial debt faced by students.J. Littlefield. Howard Wainer: a review of four books (p. 78)Notes: 1; References: 7Howard Wainer (b. 1943)Reviews: 5 reviews====================Reviewed by B.V. Toshev, 30 June 2013
ToC: Visual Studies, Volume 28, Number 2, June 2013
A. Yeates. Queer visual pleasures and the policing of male sexuality in responses to images of David Beckham (p. 110)
Notes: 23; References: 56
Since he stepped out in a sarong in 1998, David Beckham's sexuality and gendered image has been a popular topic of discussion in the media. He has also attracted academic attention for the expanded range of masculinities he seems to represent. Some academic studies of Beckham have employed ‘queer theory’ to analyse the destabilising of gender that his public presentations seem to embody but little attention has been paid to the specifically visual dynamics of images of Beckham. In this essay, I take Sam Taylor-Wood's David (2004) as a starting point to suggest the types of visual pleasure that images of Beckham might be seen to offer to both male and female audiences. For the remainder of the essay I focus on an Armani male underwear advertisement from the 2007–2008 campaign. Informed by discourse analysis and queer theory, I identify a set of ‘queer’ responses to the advertisement, suggesting they represent the ‘policing’ of male sexuality, which often accompanies potential signifiers of homoeroticism. I conclude by considering how and why Beckham has retained his status as a heteronormative masculine icon despite his continued appearance in homoerotic images.
P. Uimonen. Visual identity in Facebook (p. 122)
Notes: 6; References: 24
Seeing your friends in Facebook has become a common means of social interaction, illustrating a visual turn in digital media in general and social media in particular. This article explores visual identity in Facebook, focusing on the use of profile photographs in the performance of digitally mediated selfhood. In Facebook, relationships are increasingly communicated through images, thus rendering the interactive reflexivity of performance rather visible. Based on the profile photographs of students at an arts college in Tanzania, the article discusses the construction of cultural identities through visual communication. By visually expressing their selves through profile photographs, users engage in the social construction of reality, crafting their digitally mediated identities in interaction with their online social relations. The online performance of selfhood is analysed in the context of offline social and material realities, to underline cultural aspirations for global inclusion. Building on anthropological readings of performance, the concept of social aesthetic frame is introduced to capture patterns of digital stratification that encompass the online construction of networked selfhood in the peripheries of the global network society. The article builds on anthropological research on digital media and intercultural interaction at a national arts institute in Tanzania, using a combination of digital, sensory and visual research methods.
D. Manney. ‘Who put that on there … why why why?’ Power games and participatory techniques of visual data production (p. 136)
Notes: 8; References: 61
The use of participant-led visual data production is often seen as advantageous because data can be directed, constructed and created away from the influence of the researcher. The case for employing the visual to engender participatory research, and specifically to limit the intrusive presence of the researcher, is well versed and in vogue within the field of social science; however, although participatory techniques offer an opportunity to disrupt power relations, they are unable to transcend familial practices. Drawing from a study in which mother/daughter dyads produced photographs, collages, maps and stories to communicate their everyday lives and ideas of the future, this paper examines the wider role of ‘intrusive presence’. The paper documents incidents of external physical interference where visual data was amended, the influence of outside suggestion in the creative process, and the restrictions placed by the imagined reactions of the viewer. The paper argues that when the ‘intrusive presence’ of the researcher steps out of the site of visual data production this leaves a space that is often filled by the ‘intrusive presence’ of significant others.
R. Butler. Images of the child and environmental risk: Australian news photography of children and natural disasters, 2010–2011 (p. 148)
Notes: 3; References: 47
Images of children appeared frequently in Australian metropolitan news reporting on the series of extreme weather events and natural disasters that occurred in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region between September 2010 and April 2011. This article examines these photographs and pictures as a case study through which to comment on relationships between public image worlds of children and globalised visual cultures of risk in late modernity. The author discusses the Australian news coverage of these events alongside the public uncertainty generated by discourses on global climate change. She draws attention to the frequent emphasis on children in this news reporting to narrate the stories of families and communities, and considers the historical relationship between images of the child and natural disasters in news journalism. Drawing on theories of risk, the author then examines the global networks of images of risk within which these pictures of children circulate. This is contextualised alongside Western post-industrial sentiment towards the child, and the ways in which frequent images of children today saturate the market in unprecedented forms. Two case studies from the Australian context are analysed to illustrate how such representations have become emblematic of deeply held public anxieties towards Australia's uncertain environmental future. In conclusion, the author argues that these images bring forth the intimate relationship in the global public sphere between visual cultures of children and risk in the 21st century.
D.L. Li. Shanghai EXPO 2010: economy, ecology and the second coming of capitalism in China (p. 162)
Notes: 6; References: 30
China entered global media consciousness following the Tiananmen crackdown and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the two world events that heralded ‘the Reagan, Thatcher, and Deng Xiaoping Revolution’, and with its spectacular economic growth it has remained central to the picture of global capitalism ever since. A Chinese native and naturalised American academic, I am constantly surprised at my hometown Shanghai's rapid and restless makeover. Taking the Shanghai EXPO 2010 as its primary focus, this article uses visual and verbal resources to convey the sense of the great Chinese transformation and to construe the historical impact of Chinese development on the world economy and ecology today. The images are invested with my own perspective in an analytical narrative that exposes the contradiction between the ecological finitude of the earth and the rapacity of a now global consumer economy. Attuned to the ideological sea changes implicit in the spectacle of a brave new world, I ask whether Shanghai EXPO 2010 has succeeded in its professed ideals of planetary preservation or merely proffered palliative proposals of ‘socially responsible capitalism’.
J. Baetens. Image and visual culture after the pictorial turn: an outsider's note (p. 180)
Visual culture is the name of a now well-established academic field, the disciplinary and symbolic status of which nevertheless remains uncertain. Structured around the notion of the ‘pictorial turn’, visual culture has encountered various critiques, which impose on the field to state of permanent revision and repositioning. This article attempts to give an overview of some recent theoretical debates and sketches some perspectives for further research.
K.-h. Yang. Revitalising the challenge for change: A contemporary initiative for interventionist media (p. 186)
Reviews (p. 191): 12 reviews.
Reviewed by B.V. Toshev, 7 Nov. 2013