In his book “How to see the World” Mirzoeff proposes that humans and in particular western nations have had a preoccupation with the conquest of nature. The conquest of nature refers to human’s huge impact on the environment, post industrial revolution, that has caused a huge shift in the world we live in. This brave new world brings along new inspiration for artists and designer alike to add their perspective in the form of visual texts. People with different ideologies draw attention to the consequences of our ‘conquest of nature’ in different ways some are documenting it in the form of satellite photographs, romanticizing it in the form of impressionist paintings, while others are bringing attention to the changing world in attempts to reverse it.
Key Idea: The domination over the natural resource water is a good thing.
Water is key to human life, humans are 70% water and have been manipulating water since the beginning of agriculture society 12,000 years ago (The development of agriculture) whether this be in the form of aqueducts or the industrial dams of today. It is a huge aspect to my question and is related to ‘the conquest of nature’
NASA. Aral Sea 1989_2014. 30 September 2014. Photograph. NASA. Earth Observatory NASA. Web. 05 April 2016
Khvay Samnang, ‘Untitled’, 2011, Digital C-Print. Cambodian gallery SA SA BASSAC, Phnom Phen.
NASA. Lake Poopo, April 2013, Jan 2016 Photograph. NASA. Earth Observatory NASA. Web. 24 April 2016
The NASA satellite images of the disappearing water masses show a documentation and very removed, scientific view of the effects of water domination. If used in essay key discussion points would be:
The lack of agenda
Would have to explain that scientists deem this to be the root of human causes, the use of this lake for agricultural purposes. As the visual text does not show direct human impact on water.
Any of these images by really capture the domination of water, showing the power and scale of human impact on the natural world. Could be viewed as a documentation or more of an agenda to insight change as this has gone too far.
Approximately 70% of water under our control is dedicated to agriculture. (Burtynsky 9)
Brown, Andrew. Art & Ecology Now. London: Thames & Hudson, 2014. Print.
This has good arts models and quotes on climate change and water, “The urgancy isn’t being communicated successfully enough to provoke the real change in our societies.” (Brown, 76)
NZ government view on agriculture in the McKenzie Country
5. Main overview of different perspectives:
The domination over the natural resource water has gone too far to such extremes that it is affected the natural world too much.
“In 1900 there was not a single dam in the world higher than fifteen metres. By 1950 there were 5,270. Thirty years later there would be 36,562. Today there are more than 800,000 dams, 40,000 of which are at least 15 metres in height.” (Burtynsky 22)
On the Aral sea: “In the small pockets that remain of the Aral Sea, not one of the twenty-four fish species endemic to the region has managed to survive.” (Burtynsky 22)
“Worldwide more than 1 billion lack access to clean potable water.” (Burtynsky 23)
The domination over the natural resource water is a good thing and benefits humans.
“The dairy herd has doubled in the past three decades, up from 3 million in 1982. In that year, dairy exports of milk powder, butter, cheese, and casein were 19 percent of the total value of merchandise exports.” (Statistic NZ)
Dairy has seen massive increases and rest of the industry has had massive decrease.
Discuss how a visual text can be constructed and read differently considering ‘world view’, ‘ideology’, and ‘the myth of photographic truth’.
Interpretation of a visual text is not static and is different for different people, the main aspect that shapes a person’s interpretation of a visual text is their set of ideologies. Ideologies are a set of beliefs and ideals that a person associates, for example, in the West we have a very individualistic dominant world view, where we view ourselves as a individual, competing against the wider community for success (The Indigenous World View vs. Western World View).
The image below by Burtynsky in his series ‘Water’ has the intention as Burtynsky puts it, “I wanted to find ways to make compelling photographs about the human systems employed on redirect and control water.” Burtynsky is an artist who grew up in Canada where water is being altered by the Western nation, he is critiquing this dominant world view rather than mirroring it in his own work.
This visual text can connote different ideas depending on the viewers’ world view. For example I interpret this image as showing the size and power of the dam contrasting with the small pool of water at the bottom to show the disgusting domination of nature. While with a different world view it could be viewed as the admiration of humans power over the world as the photographer looks up at the might of the dam.”Connotative meanings are informed by the cultural and historical contexts of the image and its viewers” (Sturken and Cartwright 20)
Understanding the producer of a visual text is crucial to understanding the visual text, as reality is shaped through their ideologies to create the visual text.
Visual texts often reaffirm the dominant ideologies of the world as more often that not the producer of the visual text usually hold the dominant ideology at the time, the ideologies present in visual texts are usually the dominant ideologies at the time and are shared by the audience (Schlichtmann 2.) As reality passes through their eyes and world view, they create a visual text based on these world views, most commonly the dominant world view.
In my own visual texts I need to consider not just how I interpret the subject/visual text but how others with different world views many view it differently.
This video made me look at photography in a new light, so to speak. Before viewing this presentation I saw photography as a means of capturing the reality in front of the camera, but it can be altered and distorted by the photographer to show a different perspective. The end product, the final photograph that is produced is several iterations from reality (A photographic truth) and changes, not only through light going through the camera, but also through the photographer and their view of the subject, which differs according to their world view and ideology.
These visual texts can then have different connotative and denotative meanings. The denotative meaning is refers to the literal interpretation of what the image actually is, while the connotative meaning is what the text suggests (Sturken, Marita, and Lisa Cartwright 20). The connotation is what can change from viewer to viewer based on their ideologies and social/historical situation. This is important in the analysis of visual texts as the way one person may interpret a text may be very different from another, and from the artist’s intention for that matter.
This information is all related to the idea of the photographer’s point of view on the subject showing through manipulation of the image. This is something to be careful of when writing my essay, as most photographs and visual texts alike have a point of view and are trying to convey a particular message. In terms of ‘the changing world’ this message could be one that conveys the danger of climate change in the case of Burtynsky’s Water series or could be visual texts that romanticize the changing world, in the case of Monet’s La Gare St Lazare. But this can also be an asset to my essay, looking at different visual texts which convey a different point of view on ‘the changing world’
Sturken, Marita, and Lisa Cartwright. “Images, Power and Politics”. Practices Of Looking : An Introduction To Visual Culture.: New York : Oxford University Press, 2009. 16-22 Print.
The most interesting part of the last few weeks of research has been researching deeper into visual texts such as such as La Gare Saint-Lazare and the NASA space photographs of the Aral Sea. They are both very different visual texts and analyzing them for how they are depict the changing environmental world has been very revealing and rewarding.
I am a little concerned that these two visual texts most likely wont work together in an essay, unless I do a really broad essay so ill likely have to pick one direct or the other to go with.
What hasn’t worked as well is reading some of the course readings that don’t completely apply to my question or the NASA pics of the Aral Sea. Most of the questions from Rose, Gillian, Visual Methodologies only apply to more conceptual artworks.
The main aspect of this paper that I can carry into my own work and my other courses is the picking apart of the visual texts, such as the dissection of Weegee’s photography and the how perspective from where photo was taken can completely alter the composition and meaning.
My preconceived notions of visual texts has defiantly been challenged with this paper, especially in regards of how they shape our ideologies and how those ideologies are present in our everyday life.
Novara Media. “What Is Ideology? – Terms of Engagement.” YouTube. N.p., 29 Nov. 2015. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.
Sturken, Marita, and Lisa Cartwright. “Images, Power and Politics”. Practices Of Looking : An Introduction To Visual Culture.: New York : Oxford University Press, 2009.9-48. Print.
This image is one that was painted early in New Zealand colonization by England and depicts early settlers chopping ‘taming’ the forest. However this image may have been created or circulated in order to enforce/ create new ideologies in England about the concept of what New Zealand would be like for settlers. “Images are an important means through which ideologies are produced and onto which ideologies are projected.” (Sturken, Marita, and Lisa Cartwright 23)