Ways of Seeing

  1. The first episode of John Berger’s The Ways of Seeing made me think of how the medium through which we perceive things has so much control over the message we get from it. Especially when an original object is transmitted through another medium, it is now up to the camera, music and the words to determine what we see, hear and understand. The original meaning is lost, and there are new possible meanings to the object now. These messages can be intentional, or they might not be, but nonetheless, we should be wary of the possibility of these new meanings that may be created through the replication.
  2. Reproductions multiply the meaning of originals by transmitting them through different media, thereby adding a second (or third, or fourth, and so forth) ‘touch’ to it. Objects lend themselves to easy manipulation using camera, words and surroundings by being replicated and shown in places that is not its original place. For example, when a painting is replicated in a TV documentary about it, there are narrations and music added to the viewing of the painting that adds more meaning to it. This is something that cannot be stopped as soon as the painting goes through the act of reproduction.
  3. When creating something like an image-text we need to be hyper-aware of the medium we are using (hypermediacy!) and be skeptical of the messages it may depict uncontrollably. We also need to be thinking about the surrounding and the environment of the piece, as location and everything around it ‘confirms and consolidates’ its existence and gives it another layer of meaning.

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