Visual Digital Culture by Andrew Darley

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Darley in his books talks about the new audio video Digital concepts (video games and animated cinema)  that has emerged and has influenced the esthetic theory of visual culture.  He argues that the computed games comprises of interactivity and immersion and such elements amazes the spectator or the audience and invites the viewer to engage and interact. this interaction and engagement gives the player the sense of ownership and power. He talks about the famous games genre which are shoot-em-up, sports simulation and beat-em-up etc. The best part of the games is that it takes the player to whole new fictional world while being physically present in the real world this experiences of human mind interacting within the game world is called game play. He says that the experience of games is the most pleasurable and is totally different from the experiencing a film. He talks about the doom games where one has to kill the antagonist (bad creatures) of the game, so to talk on that i have choose this above picture which is one of my favorite games. The game gave me a very  feeling of achievement, bliss and ofcourse ownership, all the time when i was playing the game i was happy that i am killing the bad monters out of this world and making decisions which door to open, when to take my life saving injections and when to hide, when to jump. Through the course of time the gaming world has achieved its status and mark through visual esthetics and the extraordinary graphics. In todays world games have now narratives as if the audience is watching a film, yet the game is interactive and the player choses to take the narrative forward and this process is so entertaining that it involves players are so much that they start to call themeselves with the names of the characters e.g i have this boy and in my class Osama and everyone calls him GC  (which is a game character) because he is so much into games and he loves being called GC.

However i wont agree with the andrew on the point where he says the images are taking control over the story/narrative of the games because a game is based on the interaction and immersion and engagement of the audience while experiencing an image is a totally different thing. The games gives the audience a feeling of exhaustion when the energy level falls of the character after being engaged for a long time but u never get exhausted while looking at images.

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Andy Clarks “Natural Born Cyborgs”

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In this essay “Natural Born Cyborgs” Andy Clarks talks about the Current situation of human beings. he has related the cyborgs with humans that how humans are like cyborgs are similar, human evolve with time and how technology has helped man to act on a faster pace. He discuses that due to technology these computerized Man machine hybrids life has just become easy and how they have helped the human race in each and every aspect of life.

Andy argues that these hybrids are although mentally and physically controlled and they act under a certain environment, which they are functioned upon but the whole idea beyond this is to monitor the human bodies under a natural environment. The best example that comes in my mind is how humans are kept in Rehabilitation centres, they are restrained from certain acts but yet they are given a very natural environment.

He further discusses that technology will evolve to the point where organs of human body will be kept well through cyber technology and will be replaced too. And if we take a look in our world today technology has taken over our lives so much that now science has created such machines which can be replaced by our body organs and are working successfully. It looks like that clark was aware of the fact that technology will make our lives worth living.  We cant deny the fact that the technology created by the mankind is surely for his own good.

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The Body In Pain by Elaine Scarry

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Elaine in her first chapter of book “The structure of pain” talks about what a person thinks and feels when he goes through pain while being interrogated or tortured. She says that the pain a person goes through determines that the person being tortured is powerless and the torturer is authoritative and powerful. She further explains that there are three stages of suffering from pain (torture) i.e

1. Person being tortured in different ways that the intensity of pain increases gradually.

2. The person is tortured in a way that the pain emerges out of his body, the body becomes the manifestation of pain.

3. The manifestation of pain on the tortured body is the power of the torturer.

Further more she describes the torture that it can be verbal as well, the tone and questions of the torturer are verbal pain. she says both torture and interrogations depends on two thing, the interrogation depends on verbal pain, while torture depends on physical assaults/ pain. The torturer expects somethings from the person being tortured and when he is not satisfied he tortures his subject.

The image that u see above is the most famous technique used in the world to torture the person in the interrogation period. One can clearly have the idea of what this person will be going through, he is hanged by his hands due to which the pressure of the whole body is on his shoulders and arms, that wasn’t enough for the torturer’s satisfaction that he is now burning the body of the subject through cigarettes and hot irons. This type of techniques are used by the interrogators to get answers/ facts from the person being interrogated, most of the time the subject takes the charge of being guilty (while he is innocent) so that he doesn’t have to go through such pain anymore. Elaine says that without giving such pain the interrogation process is incomplete as they are dependent on each other.

She further describes that we might get the idea of the pain that person is going through but we cant feel the intensity of pain without experiencing it because pain is something which can only be felt and cannot be measures or described. This is the main reason due to which the torturer doesn’t refrain from abusing/ assaulting the body of the person, the only thing they are interested in is the information or answer they require or may be to satisfy their need of anger on the subject in some cases. In the above torturous situations the subject becomes unconscious and at some point they doesn’t feel the pain anymore because they become numb, that why the torturers through out the world give breaks while interrogating subjects.

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Jean Baudrillard Hyperreality and Simulation

In this essay Jean Baudrillard has discussed two things i.e the Hyperreality and the Simulation. If we talk about Hyperreality its is something that doesn’t exist. It may exist in our thoughts/ Films/ Ads etc but we cant expect it to happen in the real world. This is something that we always see in films like Matrix or The Tree of life, Avatar etc. Hyperreality used in our world of advertising to sell products is as follows e.g ;

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In this ad the advertiser promises male (since its a male product) that by using AXE deodorant any nice girl would turn into a naughty girl and would date him. Isn’t it a state of hyperreality where by using just a deodorant the girl would do naughty things with a guy? Such kind of ads are constructing a perfect world in our thoughts and opinions and we are becoming to think that this might be true.

Similarly i have this film called “Never Let Me GO”  set in dystopian world in which human clones are created to donate their organs as young adults.

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The story is about three best friends who are raised in a boarding school for future donors. They exist to grow hearts, kidneys, livers and other useful items, and then, sadly, to die after too much has been cut away. They live within a closed world whose value system takes pride in how often and successfully they have donated. They accept this. It is all they have ever known. After watching this movie it created a whole new thought inside my mind and i started to think that may be somewhere in this world Human clones are generated to donate organs like in the movie and i started to think that thats why may be science has been experimenting too much to create clones. It created a feeling of simulation within me in a way that i began to think that by doing such experiments science would be successful in making human race Immortal.

The other thing that he talks about is Simulation, its a process in which the perception or the reality of things being represented change into something else. Its like a replication/ reincarnation process. This process occurs when there is absence of reality and things are represented in a whole different manner. e.g  The virtual games where your enter into this whole new world and you think of it as a reality and play games as if you’re playing it for real and the simulation is so strong that they believe that there is no world outside .

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5D is also the same experience where the audience/ viewer thinks that they are experiencing same as the characters in the film and everything that is happening in the film is real, they could smell, feel the touch, if its raining they can feel the rain, if there is loud explosion in the film they could feel the vibration through the sound. Image

This whole experience of hyperreality and simulation makes us feel that everything which is being represented in the films, games or ads are real, we try to build a world in our minds that is fictional/fantasy and this is the point where things start to mess up in our lives.

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Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

In this essay Benjamin gives his view points on how the art has been changed due to the up grading technology and how it is affecting art e.g (Photography and Film specifically ruining the art ) and also our perception of what is art. He argues in his essay that how the mechanical reproduction of art has changed its aura. He believes that due to the vast technology any work of art can be reproduced (and for him art is something which cant be reproduced, its original and has authenticity) and hence any work of art reproduced, has no value. According to him a painting is a piece of art while a photograph/ film isn’t because it can been reproduced as a result of mechanical reproduction. I would not agree here with his point of view because we live in an era where any piece of art can be reproduced infinite times and if we consider his theory than art wont exist in this world. In our todays world where we have now 5D and we call it a whole new world where you can almost experience anything thats happening in the film and we call it cinematic experience. He also further argues that the art which in galleries or are on display are made for profit and its a part of capitalism but if we look at the history every artist was commissioned by the state or church and this was its only mode of earning bread.

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This is the poster of the most famous film of 2012 The Avengers released in 3D, grossed $1.51 billion worldwide. The movie is so popular amongst kids as well as adults, combining all the action heroes together the marvel comics did and excellent job and entertained the masses around the world. It is surely a piece of art because its original and the action figures being depicted in the film are fictional and they dont even exist. On this note i would say that films dont lack any aura, they have originality in its own way and have a cinematic charm which attracts the viewer like any art piece.

Similarly he says that actors dont have any aura too and they always mimic or fake things. now on this note i would like to present the legendary actory Mr Heath Ledger who gave up on his life because he was so into the character of the famous Joker from the film The Dark Knight.

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 Never in the history of this universe such strong character was played by any actor, his acting was so tremendous that even he was the agnostic in the film, yet he is remembered more than the protagonist Batman ( against the famous actor Christian Bale). He also got an oscar for this role and i believe this is were the hard work paid off. This is called the aura of the actor how he takes a certain character for the film so seriously that he is remembered for that role even after his death.

So if i sum up my blog i would say that every writer or critic has its own point of view and it is not necessary for the audience/ readers to agree with them. Benjamins may be right according to his era of filming, when the industry was about to bloom and most of the films were propaganda films (not to forget that such films are even made today) but we cant totally agree with him in todays world, where is art is made to entertain the masses and yes off course to make business.

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Scopophilia in Cinema: This movie posters fits under the terms of scopophilia, entertaining the male gaze. The woman half nude, covering the lower part of her body with red silk cloth is usually used in cinema for sex appeal. The women has always been an eye candy for men, whether he is a viewer or the protagonist of the film. The use of word fire in the text refers to the above visual where the red silk cloth is covering the lower part of the woman body creating a sexual tension as well as pleasure and uplifting their sex drives. 

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Similarly if we look at the above posters of the films, they havent shown any nudity but its the gesture which falls under the scopophilia, any men who would look at this poster would want to see the film and would feel seductive. The use of red lip color is same as the red silk cloth covering the female body in the 1st picture. Red color coated lips has always been a symbol of sex and seduction in media. Such images has been used in media to draw out the repressed sexual desires of the audience.

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Psychoanalysis

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This poster is an example of Sigmund Frued’s psychoanalysis. A woman is used by the men for their satisfaction. As soon as a child watches himself on mirror, he starts to recognize his body parts which are a part of his existence. When men grow up, they are enthusiastic to find out how the other gender look like and in what ways they are different physically. They look at women with mystery and wish to unfold the mystery. They are attracted towards the body parts which are different in a female. 

This is what is shown in this poster, where a man is looking a woman with mystery.

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