Category Archives: UVC1 Part 4

Basic notes for Assignment 4 (nothing to see here, move along)…

Alan Jones (1937- ) Overview of work, from furniture through Kate moss photo to current sculptural and print work with fauvist themes and view of people as stylised ideal forms, who just happen to fall into a standard acceptable European category of acceptable looking.

How are we viewing the furniture?

are we being invited to surveil something that perhaps we feel we shouldn’t or observe an absurdity?

These are an ultimate show of women as objects, Is this Jones stating his view of women? as sex toys and furniture, in which case which is first? using Judith Williamsons view of Toteism, are we being invited by Jones to be the idealised women? or view ourselves using the furniture?

As much as Mulvey was discussing the moving image, I think her comment “In a world ordered by sexual imbalance, pleasure in looking has been split between active/male and passive/female. The determining male gaze projects its fantasy onto the female figure, which is styled accordingly.

(Re-read Freud) Castration anxiety, dominatrix, although the furniture is submissive which means we the viewer are in charge? is this about the artists love of his mother? Counter with mirror phase Lacan, are we projecting ourselves into the images? Are we the object or the person, woman or furniture.


Next, is Jones trying to elicit a response based on the absurdity of the positions? is he making it ok by making the women obviously plastic and unreal? Although turning this around, wouldn’t it look more absurd if the figures had been male? Why do they have to be female? Why white? why fetish clothing? Does it make them more sexual? does Jones think we will react more?



Work with Kate moss p63 Berger ways of seeing “in the art form of the European nude the painters and spectator-owners were usually men and the persons treated as objects, usually women. this unequal relationship is so deeply embedded in our culture that it still structures the consciousness of many women. They do to themselves what men do to them. They survey, like men, their own femininity.” Kate is complicit, is it because her wealth is attached to her looks? was it a good business deal?

Current work still based on good looking people, not natural forms, stylised.



Allen Jones images on Artnet (accessed 6th May 2017)

Alan Jones furniture photo (Accessed 7th May 2017)

Williamson, J(1978)Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising. First edition. Glasgow. Robert MacLehose and Company Limited

(2013)Visual Culture : a reader

Berger J() Ways of seeing

Pt 4 Project 6 White

Read the chapter White by Richard Dyer on pps 457 – 467 of the course reader making notes. Watch the films Simba, Jezebel and Night of the Living Dead or at least Simba. Find The Battle of Algiers (Italian: La battaglia di Algeri), a 1966 black-and-white film by Gillo Pontecorvo based on events during the 1954-1962 Algerian War against French rule. xxxiii This late neo-realist film is in stark contrast to Simba and the comparison is worth the effort.

Most of this first section is my notes on the essay, its not comment, its short hand to simplify the original writing.

White people think of their place before colour, British, Welsh, etc. followed by white.

Problem comes when you scrutinise a group of people, you inadvertently create an issue and make the group feel more different than normal.

However, we are now looking at the fact that ‘normal’ is a construct.

White and black have acquired subtitles white is good, light Black is dark bad.

“White domination is reproduced by the way that white people colonise the definition of normal.”

Cites Paul Gilroy “whiteness both disappears and is subsumed into other identities.” Questions as a nation how we use words like “we” and “our”, who do we mean by them?

It is difficult to “see” whiteness more difficult to analyse. Black people are labelled as black instead of just as people.Brief encounter is about English middle-class people, Godfather Italian Americans the colour purple is about black people before poor Southern Americans.

Being white interviewees had difficulty saying they where white over the part of England they hail from before comfortably discussing stereotypes of black people

To study white we need to look at that which is not white to find it. (thats deeply ingrained)

Jezabel; big budget attempt to outdo gone with the wind. Does not know whether to condemn or adore black. its understood as its history that slavery was about to disappear.

Simba; black people can learn white values but the fear is that white people will be engulfed by black values (blackness). White rule was on its way out and a lack of understanding as to why black people would not deal with white rule was inherent.

Night of the living dead White people turn into zombies alone? (I’ve got this to watch this week).

All three show white as ordered and rational and black as the opposite also use black to see the whiteness of white.

All three (although loosely in Simba) show whites in power but materially dependant on blacks which “throws legitimacy of white domination into question”.


Simba Pleasure with a tale of growth. Manchicheism (mixed Christian/pagan/gnostic Persian religion based on light and dark),  delirium (Fanon) White stands for modernity and black for backwards. Observed in meeting scenes, whites meet in daylight and debate coherantly, black meets in dark and is ritualised.

Racist but not at a physical level, at evolutionary. One black character, the son of a local chief, has trained in England as a Dr but is held at arms length till the end of the film, when he dies from wounds sustained from a black mob.

Hero of the film ends without avenging his brothers death, or saving the farm. Just gets the girl and an understanding that this is the end of white colonial rule. From the beginning, the role of black people in this film is to unsettle and create distrust.

Simba is much investigated by Dyer in his essay, However I will add that I wasn’t expecting the level of talking down that I observed in the film. White characters spoke about black people as the general rather than the rule, whilst in the same room. The condescension is noticeable as is the overall attitude of talking to and about the natives like recalcitrant children. The fact that they should be grateful because they have jobs and food but are treated the way they are. The ‘normalising’ in film of the white way of life as the better way reiterating Dyers essay. The dependance on black labour to run the farms as cheap labour and surprise that this wouldn’t be accepted.

The Battle for Algiers is different whilst not dissimilar to Simba. There is a recognition from the start that this is about two comparable views. The reading out of the manifesto for the National Liberation group of Algiers sets the standard for equality. Seeing Ali tripped by the young french man then seeing his rap sheet, whilst music plays softly in the background, with a close up of his face not looking at the camera, signs of a bloody nose insights feelings of sympathy. The contrast From Simba’s glossing over of the culture that the white people where calling backward is immense.

The film continues to show the trapping of the much needed and relied upon workforce in the Casbah, the control points seeing the workers in and out, whilst showing the struggle from the natives side. one scene where an innocent road sweeper is hounded down and arrested for his looks showing the class of labour that the Algerians filled.

the outcome of the movie is the same as Simba.


Jezabel. This film shows the reliance on the black slaves, but seems to show it all as one big happy family, Davis’s character hands down her fine evening gowns, only worn once to her maid. Theres a point where another actor reminisces with the houseman and offers to drink with him then theres the great sing-a-long on the porch with the happy workers and their children. This film is the contradiction to the other two as it isn’t showing dissent of the black workers, shows them as happy to be there. It also as a film, uses the black parts for comedic value over content.

• Note how Dyer uses some of the theories alluded to earlier in the course (hegemony and Sartre’s ideas of the self) to analyse the films and construct his argument.

Dyer is highlighting, in his study of Simba, that the only black character trusted is the one taught in white ways and the Mau Mau where heathen. I think this eludes to Sartres noting that the indiginous cultures  whites ruled over were different and that plays into Dyers use of differences to find out about white (also a tool of deconstruction, finding the differences to work back into a subject)

This also leads back to Gamsci and the dominant fundimental group using its norms to set the tone of its rule. I don’t believe we can take Marxist or Bergeres theory into account for Dyer as in the instance of Simba, the Mau Mau are failing to be ruled by/ conform to the ruling/men classes.


• Over the period of a week, see how racial identity and identities are dealt with in the visual media: film, newspapers, the web, any exhibitions you might visit, advertising images and, particularly, the television. Make notes, illustrated where possible, of your analysis, taking Dyer as your model.

Renaming of Colston Hall in Bristol as its named after a slave trader. This is about people not being reminded of slave trade, from the perspective of the slaves descendants. the argument in terms of Dyer could be part of white normalisation making it ok as on the other side of being a slave trader, Colston was a philanthropist using his money for the benefit of poor white people in his local area. Which cultural history does the name invoke? Does the fact that his philanthropy was propped up by the sale of black people belittle the honour of naming the building after him?

Turner prize nominees Himid and Anderson

The nominations for the Turner prize have been announced. The headlines were about the age of the Turner prize being raised, and Himid is over 60, however, articles have covered some of her work which has themes raising awareness of black culture and recognition. I saw her Guardian pages reworked at Oxfords museum of modern art, the bright colourful patterning is eye-catching and given she has chosen a supposedly liberal paper to decorate in the first place, her point about glossing over black culture is clear. Andersons work links back to his parents jamaican backgrounds however, the Turner script in most of the papers doesn’t seem to be commenting on content over the age.

Is the Turner prize the bigger story than the message in the artwork? previous years I would argue that hasn’t been the case, Tracy Emin’s unmade bed springs to mind.


Dyer, R(1988)White In: Visual culture reader, Jessica Evans, Stuart Hall. London. Visual culture reader. pp.457-467

The battle of Algiers[feature film on DVD]Igor film, Casbah film. Italy, 1967, 121mins

Jezabel[feature film on DVD]Warner Bros. America, 1938, 1hr, 44mins

Simba[feature film on DVD]J Arthur Rank organisation. UK, 1955, 99mins

Saner, E(2017)Renamed and shamed: taking on Britain’s slave-trade past, from Colston Hall to Penny Lane,The Guardian, 29th April 2017. Available here: Renamed and shamed: taking on Britain’s slave-trade past, from Colston Hall to Penny Lane[Accessed 6th May2017]

Singh, A(2017)The not so Young British Artists: All 2017 Turner Prize nominees are aged over 40, The Telegraph, 3rd May 2017. Available here: [accessed 6th May21017]


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]



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.