Ideology is essentially the ideas that underpin the way societies are run and organized. Ideologies are essential in shaping worldview of an individual or collective group: we use our experiences of media, and social relationships to shape how we view these aspects in different contexts. In the context of a visual text, ‘worldview’ and ‘ideology’ affect our construction and viewing of texts differently. In terms of photography, ideology and worldview can directly affect what the photographer chooses to photograph. Upon viewing the photograph, each viewer will apply their own worldviews and ideologies to their viewing of the image, which will affect how truthful they see the image as being, or how they perceive it. This is called ‘the myth of the photographic truth’; a common perception held by many that assumes that the photograph is a true representation of real-world events. But that can’t be true when the conception of a photograph is influenced so heavily by the photographer, and perceived so differently by each viewer. When evaluating a photograph this is an important point to remember as it shapes the way photographs are used in media to portray truthfulness.
Skills I have learned over the course of this assignment:
Plannning and Preparation
- It’s essential to understand the question, and form a thesis statement early on, then stick with it.
- Mind maps are a great way to form correlations between ideas and add on to paragraph plans.
- Speaking to other people about how they interpreted the question is also useful to question whether the way I’m answering the question is eloquent.
- I’ve learnt that making drafts, waiting and then making changes is essential, and I always make better changes after letting it sit.
- I’ve learnt to write an introduction better, introducing a thesis statement, all my points and my purpose, and not using quotes or citations.
- Using topic sentences and structure to make sure I don’t go on tangents.
Content and Visual Text Analysis Tools
- The readings and tasks around analysing visual texts helped to give me some starting points when I’m trying to analyse a visual text, and get more depth out of it.
- Deeply analysing a visual text is key to understanding it, and being able to make good points about it.
- Critically evaluating texts also is useful in discerning what ideologies or perspectives are influencing a work, and therefore knowing whether it is universal or a local belief, and whether it is “true” or not.
Research and Information Gathering Tools and Protocols
- I’ve learnt to properly MLA Reference, and do in-text citations.
- How to use Google Scholar and the Massey online library to find more reliable sources in books and journals.
- Having a solid thesis statement before starting research is key to researching relevant information and saving time.
I think so far, the most interesting aspect of this paper has been the concept of ideology and the way it has influenced art and social practices, as well as being able to incorporate the views of indigenous studies into my A2 question.
I enjoy the blogging method in this paper, as it allows me to collate the information in a good, organised way, as well as keeping a workbook with my notes. I think these methods and the mind-map has allowed me to keep organised while gathering large amounts of source material. I also think the tasks have forced me to think about things a bit more, and record my thoughts about them which I can come back to in my writing later, though sometimes the thoughts aren’t of great quality. Often I can’t be bothered and my blog posts suffer, but mostly they’re OK.
Blogging has changed the way I work. Before, i never used a computer to collate information, only workbooks. But I think combining the two is a good middle-ground that allows great organisation. Also researching climate change has forced me to become very aware of the effects me and the people around me have had on the environment, and my actions after this. I’ve become more knowledgable about a number of concepts and ways of thinking, especially.
I think the aspects of thinking critically and the working methods I have had to use, like researching and blogging, will be useful in all aspects of life, and the way I have learnt to look at visual texts will inform my opinions better and aid my art practice.
Although i have difficulty with this paper, and it is a definite love/hate relationship, it can be interesting and is definitely relevant and necessary to becoming an informed, well-learned member of the art world.
This is in response to the video The Land Owns Us. https://youtu.be/w0sWIVR1hXw
Bob Randall, native of Uluru, talks firstly about being part of the stolen generation, and having his cultural rights removed as part of the conquest of indigenous peoples in Australia, a bid to assimilate the natives. He then addresses the aborigine way of living with the land, as apart of the land, rather than as owner of the land. They believe in a connection or family in all things. He says “the land owns us” (Randall 2:40). For me, this is an interesting parallel to the way I’ve been brought up to value things, and land, but I also come from a culture with the same values and concepts. It makes me wonder about the role these concepts had, and the differences between European and Indigenous concepts of land ownership and rights, in the conquest of nature and the conquest of indigenous peoples (which are integrally linked). This is a point I am particularly interested in raising in my essay, and I think it’s an important thing to consider. For too long the world has worked on these dominant ideologies about ownership, but they’ve gotten us into hot water, as a result of the conquest of nature. Maybe it’s time to rethink these concepts, and artists and designers can be the ones to re frame that conversation.
Baloji’s photo montage depicts a post-colonial Belgian Congo slave, shackled and prison-clothed, presented in front of abandoned modern-day Katanga infrastructure. This work by Sammy Baloji is a representation of the conquest of nature. If representation is the process by which we construct the meaning of things (Sturken & Cartwright 12), then Baloji’s work all at once aims to construct a view of the past, present, and future of Katanga, and how the conquest of nature have defined them. In 1920, Belgian colonists began heavily exploiting the region of Katanga for its rich mineral deposits, particularly copper, and often using slave labour (Mirzoeff 246). Modern-day Lubumbashi was built on the wealth of this mining industry, and in a way the ‘conquest of nature’ (Mirzoeff 220), but the mines now sit abandoned. Baloji’s use of landscapes in the background harks back to Mirzoeff’s idea that landscapes are a representation of the conquest of nature (Mirzoeff 220); they show man’s destructive use of the landscape, but also the consequent collapse of the industry. The figure in the foreground is a Belgian Congo slave, one of many exploited during that time. Within the relationship between the figure and the landscape Baloji shows the Congolese peoples’ connections and disconnections with the recent past.
- “Representation” 13-16. Sturken, Marita, and Lisa Cartwright. “Images, Power and Politics”. Practices Of Looking: An Introduction To Visual Culture.: New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. 9-48. Print.
- “The Changing World” Mirzoeff, Nicholas. How to See the World. London, Pelican. 2015. 215-252. Print