The part that seemed to keep coming up in Bordowitz’s piece, “Resolutions: Operative Assumptions,” was the idea of video as a cultural critic (173). He claims that video art made for galleries was too constricted by the “formal limits of the medium,” while others used video as a means of performance art. Organizations like Paper Tiger, on the other hand, were helping video manifest in a new way — using video to make critical statements of the dominant culture.

For a photo class I’m currently in, I met with the professor the other day to talk about my midterm project in which I was hoping to make a criticism of the way “the media” depicts food/eating. During our talk, he pointed out: “You can’t compete with the media. The media will always win.” I believe he was talking about the commercial media and was referring to its ubiquity and overwhelming consuming nature. There was no way, he was saying, that I could produce enough images to combat what the media has already produced. I think what he brought up is an important distinction to make in this class: competing with commercial media versus criticizing it. I think to criticize something is to let it exist as is, while bringing one’s attention to aspects that may have gone unnoticed. It isn’t about creating enough material to offset its grandiose direction, but just a few potent pieces that shine a new light on it.

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3 responses »

  1. jivikar says:

    I agree that it’s not possible for one person to compete with and therefore change the media, but that does not mean that it isn’t our right to challenge it. When more and more people call attention to the flawed messages being disseminated, the people in control of the commercial media will have no choice but to acknowledge and hopefully incorporate some elements of the counterculture into their work. It takes a drop to make an ocean!

  2. jonesa0913 says:

    I agree with your observation; however, I do not think the goal of the class is to ever compete with mass media but to create impactful counter-narratives. I think a more pointed question is: How do we encourage audiences to not only challenge but actively and effectively dismantle the hegemony behind commercial media?

  3. alexanderlandau says:

    I agree with all your observations. I think another important question is how do we effectively educate people on deconstructing media. Commercial media invades our lives all the time through phones, computers, radios, billboards, magazines…the list goes on. This causes us to see one perspective on topics in the media. This class has introduced me to the idea of deconstructing media and given me the tools to take apart and analyze commercial media. In such a media driven world it’s important that we find ways to teach these deconstructing tools to others.

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