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Lecture 1

ARTH 101 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Vanishing Point, John Berger, The Technique

Art History
Course Code
ARTH 101
T'ai Smith

of 4
Writing' Assignment' #1:'Choose' any'reproducible' image' (you' have' to'buy' the'
copyright)' then' make' a'formal' description' about' that
What'is'Visual' Culture?' Encompasses' many' different' forms' of' media' in' a'diverse'
range'of' contexts' (e.g.' fine' art,'advertising,' television,' YouTube,' paintings,' gifts,'
Hollywood' films,' first' person' shooter' games,' print' culture' in' the'15th century)
It'is'around' us'all'the' time,' e.g.' interaction' with'screens' and'advertising
We'are'aware' of/interact with' it'either' consciously' or'unconsciously
Billboard,' comic' books,' platforms' like' Windows' and'Microsoft
They' are'all'kind' of'visible' artifacts,' things' made' by'humans' directly' or'with' human
made' technology' and' tools
NOT' talking' about' natural' phenomenon
MEDIA:'It'is'those' materials/tools/technologies' or'(sets' of)' techniques' through' which
we'see,' communicate,' grasp,' or'create' knowledge' about' our'world' and' ourselves' (so'
they'are'tools'which' create'meaning)
Fine' Arts' Vs.' Visual' Culture:' Fine' Arts' is'framed' by' the'institutional' setting' (e.g.' the'
frame' in'a'painting,' the'museum,' the' curator)' and' something' with' a'critical' context
Matthew' Arnold:' Culture' is'the'best' that'has' been' thought' and' said”
Culture' refers' to'a'whole' way'of' life,' not' just' a'set' of' things,' or'a'set'of'
processes/practices' which' individually' makes' a'sense' of' the'world,' or' the' various'
ways' a'human' would' perceive' media
There' are'multiple' cultures' that'are'constantly' interacting
‘We'never' just' look' at'one' thing’' (you' are'simultaneously' referencing' other' images'
while' looking' at'one' thing)
Critical1 Theory:'Model' or'framework,' based' and'interdisciplinary,' has' certain'
Friday,' 23' October,' 2015
12:57' am
Critical1 Theory:'Model' or'framework,' based' and'interdisciplinary,' has' certain'
concepts' that'are'drawn' out'of' Feminism,' Maxism' and'etc
Objective' of'ARTH'101:' Provide' a'toolkit' of' key' terms' and'concepts' which' can'be' used'
to'discuss,' use' them'to'apply' to'texts
How' does' meaning' circulate' through' diverse' visual' forms?' How'do' viewers' participate'
in'giving' meaning' to'images?' How'does' the'visual' impact' our' societiesor'establish'
specific' worldviews?' How' do' the' objects' we' create,' look' at,'and' use' for'
communication' or'simply' for' pleasure' have' the'power' to'give' meaning”' ...' or'create'
us' as'subjects?
World1Views:' How'you' perceive' certain' things' and'how' it'is' affected'by'the'
environment' and' upbringing
Subject:'A'subject' is' an'agent,' typically' human,' whose' identity' is'defined' by' it’s'
society' language' and' culture.' A'subject' is'someone' who' enacts' the'social' contracts' of'
its'society' and' contributes/produces' to'the'culture' of'society.' May' also' refer'to'
viewer/obser ver /spectator/user/player/audience' of' a'painting,' any' other' still' image'
or'a'film/perfor mance/game' depending' on' which' interface' you' have' before' you' (e.g.'
the'painter' or'the'audience' looking' at'the'painting).' Who' is'doing' the'action.
E.g.' in'‘The' Bar'at'the'Folies' Bergere’' painting,' you' are'put'in' the'perspective' of' the'
painter' (therefore' the'painter' and'you' are'the' subject)
The'Birth' of'the' Modern' Spectator:' New'kind' of' subject,' new' kind' of' perspective.'
Within' the' 19th century,' there'were' numerous' apparatus' for' ‘looking,' e.g.' the'
Modern' Spectator
The'modern' spectator' allows' the'isolated' focusing' on' a'single' thing/single' image'for' a'
certain' amount' of'time' that'isnt' distracted
Modern' spectatorship' is'about' isolation,' being' focused,' looking' through' a'single'
machine' (e.g.' looking' at'your' personal' computer)
Realism:' What'is'considered' to'be'realistic' (e.g.' two' different' paintings' showcasing'
the'Russian' era,'just'a'display' of' materials' could' be'classified' as'Realistic' whereas' a'
painting' of'two' people' would' be'considered' abstract
E.g.' the'enforcement' of'SocioRealism' (1914)' by' Stalin' to'showcase' technical/modern'
technology' within' art
The'real' space' is'the'physical' object' in' the'painting' before' you' whereas' the'depicted'
The'real' space' is'the'physical' object' in' the'painting' before' you' whereas' the'depicted'
space' is' the'space' in' the'interior' (so' depicted' space' is'just' an'illusion)
Reality' is'something' that'is' mobile,' it'constantly' changes' and' evolves
Linear1 Perspective:' Where'the' viewer'is' standing' at'a'certain' point,' or'where' the' ideal'
viewer' is' looking' at'the'scene' with'the' full' impression' that'the'space' is' receding,' with'
a'form' of'depth' towards' a'vanishing' point' (so' a'window' to'a'world/single' point'
perspective/t o' see'clearly' or'look' through)' e.g.' Call' of'Duty' videogame' where' the'
vanishing' point' is' the'target,'lenses' in' cameras' (look' at'Alberti,' illustration' of'linear)
John' Berger:'Fits' with' the'convention' of' humanism (because' it'is'structured' as'all'
images' of' reality' to'a'single' spectator' who,' unlike' god' can'only' be'in' one' place' at'a'
Orthogonal' (lines' that' go'vertical' in' a'perspective)/Transversa l' (lines' that'go' across' in'
Self1 Reflexively:' Contains' a'reflection' or'image' of'itself
Isometric1 Perspective:1 Different' and' contrasted' with' linear' perspective,' also' means'
same' measurement' (e.g.' in' role'playing' games' like' Sims)' and' works' with' an' equal'
view' of' three'dimensional' space
Homework:1 On' a'daily' basis,' look' at'your' visual' environment' and' try'to'discern' what' is'
shown' and'what' is'not' shown
Dont' forget' to'cite your' resources
Formal1 description:'What'is' visible' and'what'you' see' (there' is'no' right' or'wrong'but' is'
based' on'whether' or'not' it'can'actually' be'seen' by' others)
Material:' Matter'from' which' things' are'made
Medium:'The'technique' through' which' it'is'made
Collage:' Things' combined' to'create'an'overall' composition'
Content:'Objective' content' (what'is'purely' visible' in' the'image)' or'narrative'
content' (what' story' is'the' image'telling,' or'what' you' interpreted)' e.g.' events,'
physical' detail/image' of'the' work
Juxtapose:' Place'anything' close' together/side' by'side' (typically' for'the' purpose'
of' comparing/contra sting).' You' can'talk' about' juxtaposing' image/form/physica l'