MIT 1200 Lecture 4: Art and the Body Politic

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Western University
Media, Information and Technoculture
Media, Information and Technoculture 3214F/G
Sharon Sliwinski

MIT 1200 Lecture 4 January 26, 2011 Art and the Body Politic - Comics - a disposable, popular graphic medium which uses a combination of images and text to convey a story - Initially appeared in newspapers more than 100 years ago, though they have older predecessors (William Hogarth). Comics came into being with the rise of mass society. - The medium evolved from daily newspaper strips to stand alone, comic books. - Cinema - Film reels are created out of individual frames (often photographs) which, when projected in rapid succession give the spectator the illusion of motion - Experiments in the late 19th century led to the ride of the motion picture industry. - Film was initially silent (often distributed with scores to be played at the theatre) but talking picture -- or “talkies” -- were introduced in the 1920’s. - Key point: Cinema creates an imagined space where a mass body exists that can perhaps exist no where else. “No reality could stand the intensity of the mass shown in cinema” (Valerii Podoroga) - Cinema lends the masses their identity in at least 2 ways: - 1. The film spectator is imagined as one viewer infinitely reproduced. - Triumph of the Will (1935) Directed by Leni Riefenstal. How are the masses/crowd portrayed? They are portrayed as a nation because of all the political gestures, giant flags. Overwhelming sense of bodies, so many people. - 2. The use of the movie star: a product for mass consumption with whom we identify. - We identify so much with movie stars; when they get hurt we feel bad for them. This could be a good thing or bad thing (like if the movie star is Hitler…) - 1927: First “talkie” “The Jazz Singer”. - Berlin: City of Smoke - WHat’s the relationship between art and the political climate of the time? - Key Q
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