MIT 1200 Lecture 4 January 26, 2011
Art and the Body Politic
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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