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Lecture 2

CS351 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Death Of Eric Garner, Visual Culture, Raymond Williams

Communication Studies
Course Code
Jeff Heydon

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Lecture 2
If all media are always and already mixed media, then the notion of mixed media is rendered
empty of importance, since it would not distinguish any specific mixture from any purely
elemental instance
Here I think we must take hold of all the conundrum from both ends and recognize that one
corollary of the claim that “there are no visual media” is that are all media are mixed media
You can chose how to produce a message but you cannot control how it is received or
interpreted/ read/ absorbed/ understood
The best communicators seem to reproduce the results ones are looking for
What is a medium?
-A medium, as Raymond Williams puts it, is a “material social practise”, not a specifiable
essence dictated by some elemental materiality (paint, stone, metal) or by technique or
-Materials and technologies go into a medium, but so do skills, habits, social spaces,
institutions and markets
-material social practise is learning through repetition and learning how to communicate
using the tools given
-A medium allows for expression
There are no visual media
-There are no visual media because there is no such thing as pure visual perception in the first
-painting is not necessarily a visual media because you cannot taste, smell, hear the actual
picture. It is not an accurate depiction
What is visual culture?
-Visual culture is the field of study that refuses to take vision for granted, that insists on
problematizing, theorizing, critiquing and historicizing the visual processes as such
-It is not merely the hitching of an unexamined concept of the visual onto an only slightly more
reflective notion of culture- i.e visual culture as the spectacle wing of culture studies
-A more important feature of visual culture has been the sense in which this topic requires an
examination of resistance to purely culturalist explanations, to inquires into the nature of
visual nature- the sciences of optics, the intricacies of visual technology, the hardware and
software of seeing
The Human Spatial Condition
Legitimization through exposure
-What exactly is the link between the act of photography that produced it and the action it
describes? — Home demolition
-The most obvious answer lies on the performance level: through the photograph, the army
states that home demolition is not a contemptible act, but rather a justified action taking place
in broad daylight, in view of the camera
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