Pt 4 Project 6 Black

Read the chapter The Fact of Blackness by Frantz Fanon on pps 417 – 420 of the course reader.


• Fanon is writing from the point of view of a black colonial, a second-class citizen of his own country (although in French law he was a citizen of France). What are his key points and how do these relate to visual culture?

At the start of this essay a child is a child that does not have any experiences to think they are different or treated differently.

There is an industry given over to trying to create something to ‘denegrificate’.  So while Fanon had a whole history of responses, experiences etc to ground him, in white terms he was the uncorroborated history of stories and anecdotes.

Then after a situation involving white people, this person who is black comes to the realisation that they are a sign, emptied of personal and filled with a history that represents something that is to be feared.

Their reactions are misunderstood and those emotions referenced back to this history.

They are an object, not an individual

He wants to be thought of as the individual he is, as unthought of in a group of black people as I am in a supermarket and visa versa. Instead of grouped into this historical residue that negates his education and life in modern culture.

Black culture throughout history has been seen through the eyes of white society, which homogenised black people.

This is all tainted with the view one culture has had with another, when neither have a pristine history (we tend to brush over the whole empire thing).

Whilst all media still perpetuates the image of the black person as less than the white person in any way, this problem will continue, although I hope that it is less marked now than at the time this essay was written (1967).

This could be seen in context of histories view of women, which has never been covered up or forgotten and is still in place today to keep female roles the same, the objectification of women however is not sen through a position of hatred or fear of the unknown, it is viewed through desire and covet and scopophilia.

The difference in the sign of the black person and the woman is the alternate definition of how someone has power over them.

• Many artists of Afro-Caribbean, African or Asian family origins working in Britain, the country of their birth, make work dealing with their take on, for want of a better term, blackness. Find such a work and make notes and annotations to explain this. Chris Ofili is just one such artist but there are many others.


The Work (2015)Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

This was part of a series of paintings that where shown in the British art show 8 2016, Which I saw in Southampton. It was unique in the exhibition as the only example of painting among the mediums used to show where art is currently at in this country.

Yiadom-Boakye’s paintings all had a subdued palette that looked almost retro 1950’s and all showed young ordinary black people going about life. Cross legged on a chair, exclaiming something to someone we cannot see etc. They are everyday people doing everyday things.

The technique she has chosen to show these people is a white European staple, in painting and her work revolves around these pictures of black people out of her imagination.

They put black people into our current culture in a way that is missed by other painters, maybe unconsciously that is what Yiadom-Boakye is painting.

The artist is younger than me, I would hope her view of racism in this country is less than Fanon’s, and she has to deal with being female too…


Joseph, Tam, b.1947; School Report

School report 1983 Tam Joseph


School report, as simple trio of drawings of the same features, different hair-do. In red, white and blue. is a strong comment against stereotyping happening at an early age in school. Defining what anyone is going to be like from how they are at school is ridiculously shortsighted at the best of times, Josephs comment that it is happening because of skin colour is a strong message much the same as Fanon’s.

This is people as signs not individuals.

Singh, A(2017)The not so Young British Artists: All 2017 Turner Prize nominees are aged over 40 Telegraph 3rd May available here [accessed 29th April 2017]

Yiadom-Boake(2015)all works [oil on canvas] in British art show 8 place Southampton Gallery & Colin, A Yee, L(2015) British Art Show 8. First edition. London. Hayward publishing

Fanon, F(1967)The fact of blackness In: Visual culture reader, Jessica Evans, Stuart Hall. London. Visual culture reader. pp.417-420

Joseph, T(1983) School report [materials unknown] [online image]Place:[s.l.] available here




Pt 4 Project Women artists

Select and annotate at least four works by contemporary women artists, including Sarah Lucas. How do these works relate to some of the theories and ‘isms’ that you’ve explored so far?


Two fired eggs and a kebab (1992) is a wooden table  with a kebab filled with meat near the edge of the short side of the table and two fried eggs placed further up the table approx a foot apart. At the other end of the table is a photo propped up, showing the contents of the table top in their current positions.

Lucas’s assembling and repurposing of objects here leaves little doubt that she is referencing the female human form. Not only that, she isn’t being pretty about it, the kebab as a representation of female genitalia open to view and the fried eggs as a flat image of breasts, on a table in this formation seems to me as a body laying ready for sex, or at the least, open to view.

This image plays with our knowledge of the body beautiful, we understand what it represents even thought the items are not of the body. The questions are;-

Does this refer to all women now? or is it an historical image? Does Sarah feel that art historically has portrayed women cheaply like two fried eggs and a kebab?

Is this inferring how we see ourselves? As women are we still brought up to believe that we are to be seen and that we should be as open to view as the table?

Is this how Sarah sees herself? In an earlier photo Vine posed with two fried eggs on her t-shirt, so perhaps this is a self portrait.

Is she discussing us as the viewer over a comment about the woman as the table? We are looking at a representation of a woman, it is graphic, its not going to offer scopophilic outcomes so is it to draw attention to how we view over what?


Louise Bourgeois Untitled work from 2002

A female torso with no limbs, made in patchwork with what looks like pale blue/white ticking, the body is stuffed and at the base of where the neck is a whisk has been inserted upright.

There is a suggestion of swelling at the belly.

this piece looks at the role of a woman ant gender roles generally. The domesticity and purpose. made out of utility fabrics with the stitches showing. There is a suggestion of pregnancy, whether this is the link to the whisk or the whisk became embedded before is not clear.

This person is not privileged, there is a sense of doing what has to be done over want.

Is this a question of how she got in this situation?

As a work of art, its not a comfortable question, am I observing something that throughout history is the accepted norm or is it unque to this one woman?


Elizabeth Murray Who Wants, 2003 This multimedia piece on papers represented as a decoupage, is an abstract collection of shapes that suggest a small building and an open doorway with 1 being looking into the space inside. on the triangular roof is a chimney spewing forth a stream of blue that curls around the right hand area of the image and underneath. Inside there is an obvious box room  and rectangular forms that appear to be suggesting furniture. The image is bright and colourful.

Is the being supposed to be looking in the room? they haven’t entered yet, do they have the right? are they surveilling?

Is the being liking what it sees? is this scopophilic?

Is the title in reference to an invitation by the being? Is the furniture a chair? or a bed? are we being invited inside?


Nancy Spero, Take No Prisoners II (2008)

A Maypole buried into the floor in the centre of a room, from its top are strung many multicoloured threads of ribbon. Each ends in an image, all appear to be simple enlarged drawings of people mouth opened in pain. Hair is represented as dishevelled and red is present on some of the heads.

This is a juxtapose between a maypole and pain, although I don’t know the link from an old English annual celebration. Its an odd mix, but the title Take no Prisoners, offers images of death, again, in contrast to the maypoles symbolism of the fresh growing season it represents.

We are asked to look at the celebration and see someones pain, many peoples pain in a reference to a battle.

Is Spero asking us not to forget the suffering as we enjoy ourselves?

Are we complicit in the pain?

Most battles are waged by men and the maypole represents fertility which is a female angle. This piece is not aimed at a male gaze, if it is, only as a criticism of the battle.


Lucas, S(1992) Two fried eggs and a kebab [wood, eggs, kebab, photograph] Place: [s.l]Available here: [accessed 29th April 2017]

Bourgeois, L(2002)Untitled, patchwork stitched stuffed pregnant torso with mechanical whisk in the position of the head [tapestry, aluminium] Place: [s.l.] available here [accessed29th April 2017]

Murray, E(2003)Who wants [lithograph, screenprint, paint] place [s.l.] Available here: [accessed 29th April 2017]

Spero, N(2008)Take no Prisoners [photocopies on board, ribbon, pole] Place: [s.l.] Available here [accessed 29th April 2017]


Pt4 Project 5 Images of Women

We are asked to look at Ways of seeing by John Berger, the first essay is a picture essay relating through a mix of fine art in history to modern photos and advertisements, how the sexualised female form has come to be viewed.

The control in the pictures is with the creator, not the undressed form within it, from the artist or patron requesting the painting to the modern day advertising where the product is displayed to its best advantage, these women likened to still life paintings are adorned in products they are sexualising.

Chapter 3 is an essay that sits alongside chapter 2 in verbalising the point. Women are seen as a prop to create a vibe while men are seen to represent an action or a strength. Women go through life next to what they represent.

“Men act, women appear”

Adam and eve, ashamed of their naked-ness, women blamed and told they must be subservient to man who is to be the emblem of God, this tale whittles down to the image of Adam and Eve hiding their modesty with fig leaves and hands, hiding the naked.

Mirrors to show the vanity of women, however, we are looking at the form therefore we are hypocritical.

Nell Gwyn painted for the king, she is supplicated to His desire to see her, and is present because of his request?

This then shows her submission when the painting is shown to others and they covet/admire her form.

In other world desire depiction, its much more usual to see 2 people engaged in a sex act, European art is unique in its portrayal of women in the way it does.

“A naked body has to be seen as an object to be nude”

Prominent protagonist is male in European nude paintings.

We feel relief when we see a naked picture, ‘they are like us’ This demystifies them.

Rembrandt’s second wife, painted out of love? genitals hidden looking at the artist.

The way we have viewed the female form in this culture has not changed nor has our view of ourselves.

• Using only newspapers and magazines as your source, construct a visual essay illustrating the visualisation of women today. There should be at least 12 images in your essay. Then do the same again but taking an opposite position.

First images, sex sells. and if you don’t fit the form, you will be vilified.


Strong women being lauded for what they do, selling products by just being healthy, or showing clothing that doesn’t accentuate the form.


• Make a collection of images of nakedness and the nude, annotating them to indicate which they represent, how and why.

Ken-Adams-Nude-Photography-00I put nude photo into Google as a search and this trio is one of the images that came up. Grouped as three undressed women gracefully lit. Two of the women do not look at the camera, they seem to be posed in a way as to be seen in a moment of their lives that they are unaware of being photo’d in. Our role in these is as a voyer they are in believeable home background settings and have been created by a man for socophilia. In the central photo, the model looks at the veiwer and has a confidence about her as she kneels knees apart, draping a feather boa above and around her. She is still inviting us to look so this photo has the same purpose as the other two.

These are nude photos where the naked has been objectified and now has a purpose to excite.


Covered from above one nipple up lying on the self same twisted sheet, all we can see, from the height of the bed is the view from spread thighs up over a woman’s genitals, pubic hair, stomach to the half uncovered breast. This is an oil painting in the style of the old masters.

This is a conundrum to me. It can come under the heading of naked or nude depending upon the context. The original commission was for someone who collected paintings that showed off the beauty of the female form and as a headless nameless closed in image it is the prime example of the nude. However, its so impersonal its nearly coldly anatomic, the only thing that gives credence to it being us seeing something we shouldn’t see is the use of a sheet that suggests a bedroom moment.


This photo was taken for Instagram, the image shows a woman chest up with one hand pressing her breasts to hide them. she has full make-up on and styled messy hair. the photo is in black and white.

This photo shows someone hiding their naked form, but posing while they do it, this photo is to tease at what you get as a follower of her account as if this is naturally her life. It is self advertising which makes it nude.


Orlando Bloom paddling naked on a paddle board with a cap and sunglasses on. This is someone doing something naked, as a reader of a newspaper (this image came from the Daily Mail website) I am turning it into nude by looking at it, as did the person who took the photo.


This photo is of people cycling with no clothes on, they are naked, there is nothing sexual about the photo, they are chatting and wearing sun hats. They have not been picked for the photo because of there obvious good looks, they are normal people not posing or professionally lit it is merely recording the event and they have no clothes on, thats why its being recorded.


This photo is of a multitude of unclothed people lying down head to toe, I would say hundreds. These people are naked, they are making a point for an art installation, however, they are not all models and there is no sexual connotation to the image. We are invited to see their bodies, because they are aware the photo is being taken and as much as I’m sure someone will be looking voyeristicly, the majority will be looking with curiosity again, with the permission of the people.

Bergers definition of naked/nude may not be the same as Lord Clarkes (naked is without clothes and nude is within art) and that would certainly change the naked nude view of the pictures above, however, after reading Mulvey and Berger, I would say that our culture has a squewed view of the human form anyway.


Clark, K(1956)The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form In: Kenneth Clark on Naked, Nude, and Ideal Form. George P Landow. Available from: [accessed 28th April 2017]

Greenwood, S(n.d)Crowd of naked bike riders during Naked Bike Ride, Hyde Park.[digital image][online image] Available here: [accessed 28th April 2017]

Tunick, S(2010)Sydney 1 [c-print mounted between plexi][online image] available here [accessed 28th April 2017]

Frezza, R & La Fata, S(2017)Orlando bloom rides a paddle board with Katy Perry [online image] available here: [Accessed 28th April 2017]

Anthony, I(2017)Imogen naked selfie {black and white instagram photo][Online image] Available here: [accessed 28th April 2017]

Courbett, G(1866)The origin of the world [oil on canvas][online image]Place: Musee d’Orsay. Available here [accessed 28th April 2017]

Adams, K(n.d)three posed photos of naked women together to diplay the work of Ken Adams[online image] Available here: [accessed28th April 2017]

The Times(2017)photos from January 28th Saturday edition depicting strong female characters [colour photo]

Vogue(2017)Adverts from March issue to portray female gender stereotyping May 2017 issue[colour photo]

Red(2017)strong female images and images showing female stereotypes [colour photograph]

OK!(2017)Female stereotypes in photographs May 2017 issue[colour photograph]

Daily Star(2017) images of women used as evidence of gender stereotyping April 25th 2017 edition [colour photos]



Derrida Reformed

Written by K Malcolm Richards, Derrida Reformed was a recommendation by my tutor. These are my notes.


Deconstruction from Heideggers original use, Derrida didn’t take it as a destructive term, more as a chance to see something in all its parts, to review to find out if its still fit for purpose.

Felt that speech was being held as more important than writing as it was of an instance and true whereas writing could be copied, changed forged etc.

Ecriture: an expanded notion of writing: one perceiving any physical trace, including a brushstroke, as something that can be thought of in terms of linguistics.

sign, signifier the object signified the meaning.

However, the meaning is only in relation to the context it is used and the culture and language of those it is used with.

The signified is never complete, its meaning has more than one answer and will change over time.

An original can be ‘supplemented’ meaning it may not have as much power? either through essays about it, copies by other artists or other pictures around a theme.

Parasite an organism in its own right and part of its host that enables it to live

Para also nods to unexplained phenomena, which leads to sight

Frames, physical things that separate work from the wall or framing in a museum or gallery ie how its put forward culturally etc.

context, when and where was a work of art made?

Derrida notes that we’ve only ever discussed whats inside or outside the frame, never the frame itself

Derrida makes a claim that the frame embodies properties of the work?

Frame surrounds us.

Labels allow us to understand the work better and act as a framing tool

Aesthetic contemplation is not pure given that we are taught how to do it, so the venue for the art has framed our interpretation because of our mindset on the establishment before we arrive.

Title acts as a point of entry into the work

Williams curation of a museum exhibit allows a link back through the historical objects in a museums archive to make us think about the past in more detail, not obliterating the bit of it we may feel uncomfortable with.

The signature on or in the painting, on the back, how does this fit into Peregon?

Clothing discussed through Kant’s clothing on statues Kenneth Clark, the nude, a figure seen without overt sexuality, add a veil and its not nude, its naked.

Using nude models in unusual spaces while wearing small amounts of designer gear look back through the contents of the image to question the labels and value of the items on a nude model?


Derridas essay on Van Gogh’s shoes. refers to previous essays about ownership of the shoes in the picture and that they aren’t real, don’t know they are a pair and distance ourselves from them the moment we think they are. Touched on holocaust, Heideggers text mirrored some forming Nazi propaganda. Then because we are dealing with the owner of the shoes, ownership in arts (ownership of the objects represented), adds another layer.

Marche, march, touch. The marks on the art.

An artists work is recognisable as a series of repeated marks that represent them. Whilst the artist remains absent.

Heidegger and Schapiro both attach an ownership to the shoes which hints more to their attachment to the narrative they have created.

The shoes represent an inside and outside, they conform to the foot and there are lots of theories on shoes down through history, including Freud and fetish, Derrida then starts on inside and outside of the body as well, including genitalia.


Derrida wrote about De Man, who had been a friend in life. He had to acknowledge his authorship in the text.

Who can judge art? a picture of a cow, looked at by people knowledgeable in the art world, are too involved in aesthetics to give an innocent judgement. The cow is the best informed.

Old tale Zeuxis and Perhassios. Two paintings in a paint-off, one of grapes that a bird then tries to eat and the other is the canvas veiled, so by fooling the artist, the veiled canvas works best?

Innocent eye. Rousseau.


Comic books of 1980’s, using marginal issues like Derrida to pull something apart to analyse. Also they blur good and evil unlike the originals, as well as pushing all situations to there ultimate option thus exposing the flaws.

Pop art, as a way of discussing fine art in a modern world, of asking questions as to how we deal with this new age and the technologies.

The title being used to explain, a marginal method used well like Derrida. Williams.

Uses a marginal idea, explains why its marginal and how it supports the structure of the rest of the piece, whilst destabilising that structure.

Turner nominee cast of the inside of a house, placed in its street which was about to be knocked down. showed us how we live in our intimate spaces.


A ruin is also the decay of the building it once was and the potentially romantic destination it turned into through decay.

Derrida wrote a book around an exhibition he put on, work surrounded by stencilled text, 2 elements working together.

Of sight, blind soothsayers capable of seeing future. a poet verbalising images to the future they have seen. is the visual more important than the word?

Imagine a world with sensory input with no word to describe it.

Derrida links this to a type of purity, Ponty leads to a blindspot, string theory rests on that which we cannot see.

Benjamin’s view of cities, collapsing decaying bourgeoise structures

“Temporal dimension of structures” The fact that how we believe the world was created shapes our values. A structure of identity.

On to self portraits, revealing the Artists soul Rembrandt and van Gogh revealing their individuality.

The self portrait captures a moment that is over, bringing decay “every image we ascribe our identity to becomes a mini tomb”

difference marks these interpretations as transformations. (they are always what we choose to portray, we can destroy the ones we don’t like).

Corinthians woman traces lovers silhouette in candle soot, acts as a ruin when the owner is at war.

Quinn’s frozen blood face, needs freezer to continue and will change/decay over time.

the blind spot gets filled with memory

purity and wholeness of the original, the ruin is already implicit in the initial idea the memory structured in the past.

blinking and mourning: mourning involves taking in a piece of the other intense identification in relation to another. absence.

Holocaust, privileging Auschwitz we forget all the other sites where atrocities took place, other acts of genecide around the world, right to our current time.

Patriarchal society Derrida mocks this while pointing out that male domination has come from male dominated philosophy.

Feminism shouldn’t all be grouped under one heading (true) leads to a stereotype that should be avoided.

Hirschhorn instant memorials, observers relate to the artist, the reason for his work, the objects of his work or create false memories to justify them in their location.


Postcards, the error in relaying messages, only half of Derrida’s texts appear, decay means some portions that do exist have disappeared.

All acts of communication have the opportunity to become public (posthumous release of artefacts). also how true is whats written?

Work of van Gogh has taken on the quasi – relic status of his history and mythologising.

Shit created by machine in the foods available in a city and artist selling his crap at the weight of gold.


Photo essays, mixing mediums to activate deconstruction

appropriation; images from art in the past, redone in photography,

Photographs, how real? staged.

California porn industry run in areas of suburban housing, juxtapose of Dr’s and lawyers houses being used in porn industry and funding upwardly mobile lifestyles of those with solid occupations. the moral dilemma of porn in an upwardly middle subset of America.


online/televisual comes to mean ecriture, our representation over media

“The way we frame the world determines the meanings we construct.”


Richards, K(2008) Derrida reframed. First edition. London. I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd


Pt 4 Project 4 Gendering the gaze


Read the chapter by Laura Mulvey called Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema on pps 381 – 389 of the course reader making notes.

Scopophilia, gain pleasure from looking at, objectifying the looked at and gaining erotic pleasure from.

In the context of cinema, as much as those on screen consent to be viewed, the audience are in the dark, separated from each other and sucked into the performance, playing themselves into the roles on the screen in front of them.

Mirror phase, recognition of human form in front on screen (which looks like a mirror) forgetting the world around the audience (narcissism and construction of the ego)

Thanks to freud we return once again to the castration complex and look at the portrayal of women from this angle.

Active male/passive female roles. good looking women appear on screen for men to drool over. “women looked at and displayed”

Although Mulvey states that this is suspended in song and dance numbers?

Women used to work against narrative in film, looking at the sexy lady everything. What she does (Budd Boetticher) is provoke a reaction in the male lead, either tittilation, caring which makes him act the way he does. Beyond that, she’s superfluous.

Buddy movies remove women as a distraction completely.

Men drive the plot (have the lines) because men (audience) don’t tend to objectify good looking blokes on screen. Also, by looking at the female actress as a sexual object, the male lead is projected into by the audience we watch him gain control of her.

She also represents the act of castration and acts as a threat.

The male lead needs to either “demystify” her and resolve the anxiety that way, (sadism)

or objectify her further the look more important than the reaction to her? Hitchcock.

Hitchcock uses faultless hero’s we can look up to who fall because of their erotic drives, linked to non perfect women who have transgressed in some way.

Rear window:- the female lead is a part of the audience until she is voyeristicly watched by the male lead in an apartment from his window. he then saves her and reawakens his attraction for her.

Vertigo:- male lead choses to be a policeman from career as lawyer, obsessively seeks out female lead with whom he has no intellectual interaction.

(will watch movie later to understand this)


3 looks in film, the audience, the camera and the actor.

The female is an anomaly though as also works in castration element creating one dimensional roles.

• Watch a copy of Vertigo. Make notes on how it stands up to Mulvey’s analysis.

Vertigo starts with a view of a woman’s eye, we are watching that which watches…

Our main female lead is a troubled woman, so from the offset we understand her need to be rescued from herself, this drives our hero’s actions and gives him a reason to observe her from a distance. We initially see her in evening finery and Hitchcock alters the lighting to accentuate this moment of seeing (note; not meeting) we are looking at her at her best and Stewarts character is smitten.

He dutifully follows her saving her from herself and fails to pass on all the information to the employer, her husband. He is becoming lawless in his desire to help this poor stricken woman.

Much in Mulvey’s model, he is demystifying Novak’s character, although we understand when he meets her again that actually its a set-up.

The second half of the plot is about making this girl he has met on the street into the initial dream of a woman he dreamt of saving, the girl who is a much more natural character, is forced to conform into wearing the clothing and finally the hair colour before a final confrontation that ultimately gives the solution and her death.

Hitchcock’s dislike of women comes to the fore here, its not the husband that has justice served, but the girl he paid to pretend to be his wife. And the method Stewart uses to prove his innocence at her expense, in modern terms is abusive.

Mulvey is right, the female lead is there to drive the plot, she gives meaning to Stewarts actions and is not in control right to the point where she is acting as someones wife as they have requested, another man is directing her.

Stewart, in pushing her into his ideal of a beautiful woman because thats what he desires plays into Mulveys roles perfectly. The oddity is his friend who fails to live up to this ideal and shows him his folly which gets her pushed aside and not seen for the rest of the film. Which is a shame as she has an independent role even if its in an industry that as a female she is obviously suited to fill.

Of its genre and the age it is filmed, I think my reaction to it is possibley not how Hitchcock originally intended.

• How does the portrayal of some contemporary black music in video match up to Mulvey’s insights?

In the video for Beyonce’s song sorry, we are presented with Beyonce and a host of other females, wearing skin-tight clothing and acting fierce as the song describes the end of a relationship. The conflict of the negative message in the music against the sexualised images showing presumably what the lost love is supposed to be missing? whilst being viewed by the audience to titivate and garner more plays of the vid. This contradiction between the women doing what they want, but conforming to an image that men desire is about as far from equality as you can get.

• Annotate Manet’s Olympia in terms of the gaze and the various characters, within and without the image.

The painting of Olympia by Edouard Manet is a painting of some size, of a prostitute reclined on a bed, without clothes, being attended by a maid.

The main character, we the viewer are invited to see, in her best pose as we (and the artist presumably) are invited into her boudoir. The maid gazes at her whilst offering a large bunch of flowers presumably from an admirer. The cat at her feet not looking at his mistress.

Her eyes are locked with ours outside the picture, she boldly states this is who I am, or is it holding your eyes so they don’t traverse her body?

However, who commissioned the picture and why was she painted? Manet must have had an idea that either this direct image would provoke and be controversial? Also as the man in control of the picture, is this empowering or denying her control over her form?

We look scopophilicly, whilst wondering at the maid looking on wishing it where us in the room with the artist (camera)?

My issue with that view would be that as the artist and maid it is possible there is no erotic connection there. the woman has consented to her body being viewed, a transaction may have taken place to make this allowable and her defiant look may be more for our benefit as the viewer than the artists as Manet was known as a good painter and the picture was always going to go up in a salon.

This painting is less about eroticism than the right to be who she is and allowing us to look at her.


Mulvey, L(1975) Visual pleasure and narrative cinemaIn: Visual culture reader, Jessica Evans, Stuart Hall. London. Visual culture reader. pp. 381-389

Vertigo[Feature film]Dir. Alfred Hitchcock. Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions. 2hr 8mins

Sorry[Music video]Dir. [anon]. The Beehive Studios, Los Angeles. 4mins 25secs available from [accessed 2nd April 2017]

Manet, E(1863) Olympia [Oil on canvas] [online image] Place: Musee d’Orsay. Available from:  [accessed 2nd April 2017]


Deconstruction as Analytic Philosophy

This book was recommended by my tutor. I am hoping it gets easier than the intro…

  1. Interdeterminancy of French Interpretation

Frege; at any given time, how a term is used is defines its meaning. A sense has a presence that gives it a meaning that can’t be disputed to start with and is so linked that everyone when hearing the word has a mental picture that is similar.

Husserl is more interested in how we give the sense to the sign, the language etc. Husserl and Frege both antireductionists. Both link a prelinguistic ability without the sign, we have heard a term used in that way before so the present speaker is merely reinforcing its use in that context.

‘Presence’ theory “hardheaded and antimetaphysical. Theory of knowledge.

Derrida starts from Sausure. “signs are arbetory” What defines is somethings difference from something else within a system.

Words have a non fixed meaning however senses content and meaning do and they can be identified on their own. Arbitory linguistic signs need supplimentation to be understood.

meaningful? (iterable) ie can have had more than one application, can be repeated. Derrida thinks that the exact expression would need to be used by the same speaker in a different context to have meaning, whereas Davidson says that to ascribe meaning you need to look at what the speaker is saying in total or all the possible things they could say, so you give theory to the speaker. Derrida thought that for something to be meaningful, the conditions under which it was uttered need to have truth conditions, ie used in a context that is acurate. this grass is green. said standing on a lawn.

Tokens are understandable as the type of token they are, thought token, ideas are tokens in the language of thought mental tokens understandable to the thinker.

Repeatable, and used with other tokens of type to group them (this is all about how we put meaning into words) ie tokens to do with animals would be repeatable? similar?

However, a token has a history and a future that is present and unthought of when using the token.

Nothing significant can be totally present, always refering to something non present .

Its a miracle we’ve ever understood anything given this theory. An utterance only has meaning in the context of which it was uttered, and even then its potentially ambiguous given the non fixed nature of the meaning of any given word.

So, it needs extra meaning beyond the words themselves.

Derrida gives some options.

First the present gives meaning. a presence in the company of, which the words are used.

Second the context in which the words are used also gives meaning.

Iterabilty (repeatable for different reasons) destroys the present argument.

Unless you speak in simple terms that are undenyable, the meaning of what is said is not fixed.

A sentence can have more than one meaning, both linguistic and nonlinguistic.

understanding is only reached when the interpreter (listener/reader)’s disposition matches that of the speaker/writer.

So as much as a sentence can have many meanings, its the interpretation of the situation that aids meaning.

If presence is absent, then there is nothing concrete to base the meaning on.

Deferral. signs always lack full meaning .

We must be using a nonverbal form of differentiation in our use of language to place meaning in any given situation or we would never be able to communicate.

Davidson says that you cannot separate scheme and content. language and what language is about is so linked. That we need the history to ground our knowledge of the meaning of words. and that this can alter future meanings.


“writing precedes speech and that all speech is really writing.” (Derrida)

Not true, you have to explain yourself more fully in writing than in speech when through gesture and intonation you can express other elements of your idea.

Speech is brain tokens? or is it inscriptional and therefore more like writing?

Chapter finished pointing out that without a non written form of interpretation, we would have nothing to compare text against.

2.The extension of deconstruction.

Deconstruction theory has been misunderstood, Derrida originally said the “traditional inferential bases are dispensable prejudices”.

Start by showing 2 arguments that include text or docturine that “undermine” itself  by giving an idea that its built upon that negates itself in the text.

“A text that argues for a thesis t uses essentially a premise p that presupposes that not-t. The thesis of the text is undermined by presuppositions of some of the premises used to support it. “Presuppose” in the original form of deconstructive argument is defined truth conditionally. If p presupposes not-t, then if p is true, t must be false.”

There are a given number of things that make something recognisable as itself, these are necessary truths. without them the thing is unrecognisable. However, eliminating things from the object is difficult because you end up giving the object more qualities that it has? and yet more language is needed….

For a statement to be true we have to distinguish between the meaning of the words and the fact they make up in the language, the example used is “frogs are cute” versus “frogs are animals” the second can still be taken 1 of 2 ways. so is there a “social contract” of understanding?

“Objects” then, exist as posits of a theory.

Quinean theory means that if there are necessary truths that are true in meaning, then there must be necessary truths that are not true in meaning.

Signs work as a mix of the past present and future, so are not totally present. They are repeatable, or they cannot be recognisable as signs.

However, as language is a non precise translation of words, we come back to language being used to understand language.

impossibility of separating meaning and fact.

The world is more than words but we cannot get at the more (especially without words given our reliance on language)

Plato- , there is nothing that is just itself and not also mixed with the opposite character.

all analysis is lacking in completeness, mostly because we never get beyond translation through language which is never-ending.

1 fact and value, cognitive and emotion content

if we rely on whats behind to give meaning, we cant reach the underlying connotation. can’t separate fact from value.

2 The rhetorical and truth condition

because we cannot isolate whats behind the sentence from language phenomena we cannot distinguish content and form, separate rhetoric from message.

don’t use rhetoric in philosophy. which is part of literature.

3 The metaphorical and the literal

metaphor has to be paired with truth to have meaning. my cats act like grumpy geriatric humans as a metaphor is only correct because in truth that is how they act.

“To interpret an utterance as literal is to make a choice about whether a sentence is true, from a Davidson perspective.”

4 textual essence and accident

by tone of voice or added humour we need to separate what is implied from the pun to find meaning.


Understanding the text misses the meaning behind the words?

3 Truth Conditions, Rhetoric, and Logical form

Plato put words into two categories,

Logical- concepts or thoughts expressed. And rhetorical properties that affect how it can function in discourse.

so, ‘red’ is logical.

Rejection of magical language – rethink of meaning.

For Davidson, the meanig of a word depends on what people say and in what circumstances they say it.

No magic words, no meaning over ordinary words in particular circumstances.

What someone says, their utterance is what is relevant to them at that time and contains truths that are relevant to that utterence in that time. however, in the future, the same utterence may have a different meaning or different truth conditions. so the only way to make sense of the utterence is to work out under what circumstances it could be used again.

However the meaning in what we say can be interpreted differently by how we say it, stress patterns etc. either by accident or for emphasis to change the value of words.

Only Fred loves Susan. The only person who love Susan is Fred, however this can also be read negatively.

Form and force the interdeterminancy of truth conditions

There is no truth condition to the sentence Fred loves Susan so we are reliant on language to decide if its true and its inadequate. so you go from logic to rhetoric.

Derrida takes issue with signs because they rely on language to define them and there is no end to the definition.

4 Davidson, Derrida, and Knapp and Micheals on Intentions in Interpretation

Knapp has a go at deconstruction for supposing a text can mean something other than the author intends.

Davidson agrees in principle however there is the internal meaning the author has. Knapp and Micheals claim utterance is only meaningful if its intended. “A sequence of marks can be meaningful only if it was produced on purpose.” This does not give meaning to the marks or utterance.

Because there is intention, they mean what they mean.

doesn’t work with things like the bible. (multiple authors mixed together not always a coherent join to text)

if an author writes with purpose in mind then it fixes meaning in the text. this informs the language used in the communication and the intention.

internal language first and sometimes unrepeated.

So the intention to speak creates the meaning?

Derrida’s view. the intention and the meaning is not fixed nor the motive of the author. the coms as a result have no definitive meaning regardless of the content.

The thing that gives meaning is the iterability, the repeat. There is no magic language. For a thing to be meaningful it must be meaningful in other circumstances.

Davidson allows that as long as its meant then it has meaning, and it can be understood even when its said in terms that part from conventional use of language. as listener you have to hypothesise there is a point to the words of the speaker as much as they have to have an intention in speaking them.

5 Metaphor According to Davidson and de Man

Metaphor is a balance of truths based on them being true or false and that knowledge is unknowable – Davidson

Davidson and de Man both  have same view that “every level of representation” can be descibed/explained in words, not magical though language “metaphorical as a matter of the force with which a sentence is uttered”.

An account of meaning can be no more than the sum of its parts when they were said, in the order they where said.

As much as the words can -by evidence- linked to other words, this is not their meaning. “in the same way, a scientific theory does not mean the data that confirm the theory”.

So as Davidson does not believe in magic language of thought, how does he understand metaphor? A metaphor does not say anything different from its literal meaning?

Davidson argues that literal and metaphorical differ only in the “force” they are pronounced (on paper)

Metaphorically is how a sentence is meant, not what its meaning is.

However, a metaphor if taken literally is not true. we have to suspend disbelief in its meaning and presuppose some of the truths of the words to understand the meaning of the person uttering.

De Man mixed with Rouseau aims at a sense of the language with a metaphor being created by someone. the verbalising of the metaphor turns it into a literal state.

However, a sentence can have many meanings without knowing the intention or the force with which it is said.

Read through Davidson, once a metaphor is out of the head of its owner, “it loses its privileged tie to a particular rhetorical force. that of a hypothesis,” becoming more factual.

Objects are named and similar objects are grouped by names, this conceptualisation for Rouseau was metaphor, the name of the objects had a previous meaning that became to mean something else. This process can be analysed as a turning of rhetorical force.

De Man does not agree that process will fix the language in place. This phase works because we can see the difference. “Thus Rousseau takes denomination to presuppose conceptualisation.”

By saying its all unreliable, again denying magical language of thought that anchors things.


When understanding metaphor, we use what we already understand of the language and sometimes what the speaker is saying fits with some of that historical knowledge.

A metaphor becomes dead when it is used so much that it becomes a valid term to describe something.

“Our conception of natural things is “contaminated” by the merely linguistic.”

6 True Figures

There is nothing other than tradition that links language to the object it portrays.

“Extensions of terms are fixed by “practices in culture.””

culture works by coercion and repression,

Dogs are called dogs because historically they are called dogs, not because there is an essential doginess to the word that defines dog. no magic language reference.

This is about language changing, which it does lead by innovation and youth use of words.

Culture as an unfixed ideal controlling the language as much as our parents did when they taught it to us and how the under-culture is still a part of it.

saying things to make them true – literal predication.

Without magic language, metaphor is more literal, so the need for force to make sense of the metaphor, ie linking it to humour etc is necessary for Davidson.

The word table is a metaphor, although a dead one. over the centuries, our language evolved the use of the word so that it now has meaning as a flat surface suspended/supported above ground-level upon which I put things.

7 A Rabbinic Philosophy of Language

Reviewing a religious text in the Talmud to assess the truth in language, discusses the relevance of magical language to decide action over a group decision. When is it right to decide the real? who gets to decide.

8 Deconstruction, Cleanth Brooks, and Self-Reference.

John Crowe Ransom and Cleanth Brooks 1940s literary critics who looked at poems et al as art over text, so the way the words fitted together was looked over content.

However, in terms of deconstruction as a way to analyse text, language is less formulaic than numbers so we have to look further.

“Literary theory is not a kind of language but rather a rhetorical take on a text”

First problem, no magic language, terms are not fixed.

So, the structure is most important as that is pretty static..

We have to read the text on different levels to get the meaning fundamental meaning of text.

level beyond literal metaphor figurative

analogical allegorical

with no magical, there are only words to explain, leading to language-like options.

If a contradiction is based only on the part of a text it deals with,  (non-formal language text) its ok. difference between formal theory and belief.

Brooks writing on poetry observes that rendering it into another language destroys the meaning it originally has (wonder if this works for Derrida?) Wheeler uses this argument to show again no magical language or it would make the same sense. So this is a study of the words of poetry, as we cannot get away from the meaning of words to give us the message of the poem.

How the poem is written is part of what it means. Loosening the reference can be about the poem itself as well as the content of its words.

back to deconstruction. a poem has to be assessed sentence by sentence for strength of authority power relations, prestige.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        9 A Deconstruction Wittgenstein

now looking at Derrida and Wittgenstein by Staten. writing meaning doesn’t become apparent because it exists

Some truths have to hold for us to believe a plane will fly.

“Aristotle figured we where the sort of organism that knows, that is naturally disposed to get things right.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Davidson, objective, culture independent truths. ie a rock is a rock if its a rock. as a truth this can’t be broken down any more.

10 Wittgenstein as Conservative Deconstructor  

Maths holds its own set of irrefutable truths.

1expressions. cognitive meaning (knowledge) – Emotive meaning                                                                                                                                                                                                                   dualism out of which an explanatory scheme is built (foundational)

2Value hierarchy, cognitive / other value, if the same, can be used to deconstruct.

3 contrasts, logical v rhetorical, complete v un complete.

deconstruction works when both sides of the argument are coherently describable.

so attack knowledge, with known opinion of knowledge of the time versus the other meaning at that time (rhetoric metaphor etc) Contrast at this point is incoherent.

second phase abandon first phase and shows incoherence

because one side of the argument  must presuppose the other side.

other factors can squew the argument, gender freud etc

“use a text to show how it undermines itself by implicitly denying the division it is explicitly promoting.”

problem with using an argument to resolve an argument is that tboth arguments can be found to be wrong.

remove theory keep argument?

Wittgenstein, notion of meaning being as something behind language.

11 Deconstructed Distinctions are OK

“Deconstruction points out inconsistencies or incoherence in a distinction, text or discourse”

Deconstruction, does not necessarily show that a discourse is defective.

Deconstruction does not necessarily stop a discourse – be it instructions or founding information for culture – from working.

12 Derrida’s Difference and Plato’s different.

difference itself is an entity so whatever is different between a and b is itself an entity.

Because of the differences, things become beings?

“No explanation of B by A is possible if the understanding of A requires that B exists”. (Davidson)


I think I understand Davidson’s view more than Derrida’s  It strikes me as much more common sense and dealing with what exists and how we currently describe it.

Good book, I hope to delve into lots over the years.


Wheeler, S (2000) Deconstruction as an analytic philosophy. First Edition. Stanford. Stanford University Press.


Pt 4 Project 3 Looking, observation or Surveilance

Read chapter 5 of the course reader, Panopticism by Michel Foucault on pps 61 – 71
and make notes.

This starts with an explanation of measures taken when plague arrived in an area.

The cutting off/seclusion, then the registering of all involved with a hierarchy put into place so that as well as each house being its own quarantine, it is checked up on daily and gripes written down and handed on up the chain of command. The fact this was adhered to with records taken regularly from the beginning, noting all involved and their condition till the end of the quarantine and the final role-call.

So as much as the plague showed the depth humans could go, it also brought about a stoic regulation and order -that was followed- to beat it.

So as much as lepers heralded the concept of exclusion, the plague “gave rise to disciplinary projects”. increased division, increased observation. “utopia of the perfectly governed city”. This perfection was used as the model to aim for by rulers.

Different but not incompatible models.

The excluded leper model was used in psychiatric asylums at the beginning of the 19C  labelling the illness, then individualising the segregation and observation then trying to correct the abnormality.

Bentham’s Panopticon, as a tower in the centre of a building of cells stacked around the outside edge, open on the inside (caged) slit of a window to the outside, under constant observation, anonymously from the tower.

As much as its the opposite of the dungeon with its light, the segregation due to the walls between the cells and the distance to the unobservable within the tower is just as debilitating. “Object for information, never a subject in communication”.

an extra level of order created by the lack of communication/infection between inmates/ patients or bad behaviour copying between schoolchildren.

The prisoner knows themselves to be observed, but not by who, Bentham organised the tower so as to hide its occupants. Could just be being watched by the janitor.

the original big brother. also the knowledge that it could be anyone for any purpose watching at that time preying on the mind of the inmate

Bentham believed that the force of this observable power would be enough to hold people in there place without bars because of the observed rules.

“He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power.”

It could be used to study subjects, separate the infected or calculate the aptitude of children (stunt their growth mindset more like).

Used to experiment and collect data on behaviours and medicines

(This is horrifying stuff)

So while the order brought about by the plague was a necessary evil to perpetuate life against an illness that was not understood at the time (kill the rats), the panopticon served as a model that has held sway for 200+years as the ideal show of power and control.

Due to its anonymous nature it can be managed minimally.

In fact, as an independent  “political anatomy”, there is no need for a sovereignty,  discipline would be in charge.

Bentham showed how the principles of the panopticon could be used throughout society in different institutions.

Julius a few years later said of the panopticon idea that it was a “technical solution,  but through it a whole type of society emerges.”

Surveillance over spectacle. “We are much less Greek than we believe”. How true…

Foucault makes us ask of an image – particularly a naturalistic one and even more
particularly in any of the modern media, photography, video etc: Is this the result
of looking, observing or surveillance? Are we looking at, observing or subjecting the
image and/or its subject to surveillance? And does the contemporary desire to be
seen (fashion, the desire for instant celebrity and the associated media exposure),
or the seemingly opposite, scopophobic, desire for privacy from the camera, have its
explanation in Foucault?

Rabid paranoia brought on by the fear of Big Brother? It exists, however its a toss up as to it being an over-reaction to modern surveillance and introversion versus the surveillance being sold to us as for our own good…
• Many video artists today use themselves as their subject (eg Lindsay Seers).
Think about this in relation to panopticism.

Lindsay Seers uses her family history to create installations, like “Nowhere less now” (2012) This centres around an old sepia photograph of her Great great uncle George who sailed on the HMS Kingfisher, which was charged with helping stamp out the slave trade on the waters. George (a married man) drowned. and one of his children disappears from history somewhere along the line after this.

Thats the factual, the physical is half an upended boat sunk into the floor of a tin church with two domes suspended from a radio mast within. one convex one concave upon which photos are projected.

Using the panopticon theory, we are being asked to observe aspects of Linsay’s life, her history and search for understanding, as much as Lindsay is aware of our observation, we cannot direct the search in any way, it is a past event and more of a record than a live action event, its a carefully controlled presentation. The pantopic aspect is in our view of what she is presenting to us, we are observing part of her life from the tower unseen by her and reacting in our own way to what is visible.
• Find six images in any medium: two that are the result of looking, two of
observing and two of surveillance and explain your choices.

Looking; my glance happens to alight on something and I note its existence record it and move on.

So I’ve linked to two compilations of cats doing funny things. They neither come from a place of much thought and go to a reaction not dissimilar, which I think sums up looking quite well. I also think most holiday snaps come into this category, we are recording events and with the advent of larger memory cards, the volume of photos taken is phenominal. The content is more as a record and only becomes panatopic when we post the lot on facebook, where we are showing our good fortune to the rest of our friends for their approval.

Cats are so funny you will die laughing – Funny cat compilation

You should have a CAT – Funniest cat videos ever! Tiger Funnies

Observing; I see something and study it to learn from or just to see what it does next, I have permission from the object of my observation, or it isn’t going to upset it.

I feel that the work of Lucien Freud was created from observation, almost an experiment to delve into someones psyche and lay it bear and I am expected to view it from surveillance in this open state. I know, two bird one stone, however the open raw nature of his work seems voyeristic as the person looking.

two men in a studio oil on canvas (1987-89)

Reflection (self portrait) Oil on canvas 1985

Surveillance; I am watching with a view to the subject sticking to rules or doing something outside my expectations that may interest me. I may not have permission to do this.

This is the area of Newspaper photographers and gawpers with mobile phones, its big brother overseeing everything and showing everyone else because either the subject is in the social eye and we’re interested or something bad happened which we recorded for potential monetary gain or curious happenstance and as viewers we can watch and be entertained by. My two photos are from todays Mail on Sunday (hey its free to view).

Daughter of mother and brother killed and father seriously ill in hospital

Kate and William going to visit family


Foucault, M(1977) Panopticism In: Visual culture reader, Jessica Evans, Stuart Hall. London. Visual culture reader. pp. 61-71.

Seers, L(2012) Nowhere less now [Wood, cardboard, scaffolding poles, polystyrene, dexion, HD video projection, headphones] [online image] Available from: [accessed 2nd April 2017]

Cats are so funny you will die laughing – Funny cat compilation[User generated content compilation] Tiger productions, nd, 24th December 2016. 10 mins 05 seconds. [accessed 2nd April 2017]

You should have a CAT – Funniest cat videos ever![User generated content compilation] Tiger productions, nd, 27th November 2016. 10 mins 47 seconds. [accessed 2nd April 2017

Freud, L(1987-89) Two men in a studio [oil on canvas] [online image] place: [s.l.] available from [accessed 2nd April 2017]

Freud, L(1985) Reflection (self portrait) [oil on canvas][online image] place: [s.l.] available from [accesses on 2nd April 2017]

Daily Mail(2017)Heartbroken: Lydia Wilkinson laid tributes near her home today [digital photo][online image]  Available from [accessed 2nd April 207]

Daily Mail(2017)Kate and william go to visit Kates sister Pippa[digital photos] [online images] Available from [accessed 2nd April 2017]