Approach of contributing to good work and Social Change

Approach of contributing to good work and to social change. Rather than disengaged scholars have nothing to do with the practice.

The role of the critic; because they can/position to evaluate?


The Alienation (or Distancing) Effect (political/communist) (Brecht)

Bertold Brecht – Intervenes in Social Development at the time (rise of Fascism)

Talks about advertisement, mass media, plays, concerts. Something really passivefying. Escape and entertain. Remove from everyday life (view on culture) Wants to do is the opposite.

Provoke the spectator ,engages to form a critical view, not just entertained but addressed in a critical way.

This is important, people are too gullible and don’t engage critically.


Uses theoretical methods to create the distancing effect. Moments where the actors turn and address the audience/ask a question. Jolts and draws in the audience. Exaggerated lighting (fake and constructed) Emphasising the constructive story rather than a narrative we are just carried away with. Encourages to talk to people next to us.

“If art bore political consequences….as Brecht”

Desire to produce work with a progressive result. Didn’t believe in telling the audience what to think (propaganda) wanted to create a more complex questioning situation where audience decides for theselves. Present it for the audience to create their own judgements and solution.

Relates to graphic design with the idea of propaganda of ‘what’s wrong’ rather than presenting the idea and a response from the audience.

Wants the audience to have the agency to change; something to be consumed and respond and form opinions and make them want to do something about it. Leave the idea of audience might be able to do something and not just the way we are.

“Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it”

Showing whats wrong with the world, be more of a tool. Realist portrayals (I john Blake) of social abyss. Poor working class man dealing with real life.

Peter Kennard – Attached to social movement.

Explores Brechts idea of engaging an audience. Result is a dialogic effect tat appeals to spectators…”

Piece doesn’t tel us what to think, but images to children and paper of the stock market. Correlation between financial speculation and poverty. Doesn’t create a fixed story, but more a dialogue to make connections between them and our own opinion on the situation of the 2.

Peter Kennard – Boardroom (2016) IWM


Peter Kennard – Imperial War Museum: Unofficial War Artist 2015

Uses techniques of jolting and confusing audience of war. Draws you in (not too familiar imagery) Wants the audience not to be absorbed. Abstract and concrete literal images of war. Juxtaposed imagery. Showing the power structures behind war. Kennard wants to present a more complicated picture about thinking of what war is about; with reading and interest evolved in war.

Another designer relates to Brecht; Rick Poyner, Jan Van Tooyn – Asked to produce a calender.

Looked at current affairs at the time(magazines, adverts from popular culture) To engage the viewer, question how the audience feels about what they see. Creating the idea of personal dialogue; unexpected but familiar images. Shocks the audience in reminding them about the world we live in and politics. Every page posts questions. Can photographs be trusted to represent reality? The purpose? The agenda?

Vaan Tooyn wants to draw attention to images. Relateable imagery. Visual challenges and occasional shocks. Doesn’t provide answers but provokes.

Martha Rosler, Bring the war back home again (1972)

Vietnam War, first televised war. Confronted by images of war. Images of war isn’t enough to engage the audience, and to form judgement. Juxtaposed images of home decor and war.

What did she want the spectators to think about the war? Shocked. So far away from the war it may not seem real to them. Emphasise the fact they are normal people. Idea of humanity/relatable? Peace and security at home. Femininity? Women at home whilst men are at war. Propaganda possibly? The use of photomontage to give shocking effect to the audience. Social and political problems?

The emancipated Spectator – Should be active and engaged from iewing and to be more informed.

“The image of the dead child was supposed to tear….” (Rancire Jacques (2009)

Would it change peoples opinions? Relevant to current affairs. Only work in the immediate context?

Not going to convince someone who already has an opinion of the subject matter.

“Should we pre suppose an uncomplicated transit between modes of artistic production (collage, photomontage) and the determination to act polically?

Detournement (Hijack, deflection, distort) 1957 – 1972- A technique championed by the French avant garde group.

Context – The group’s critique f modern capitalist society as ‘society of the spectade’ where indivduals are reduced to consumers and spectators rather than actively interventing and experiencing life. People are stuck in the life of working and living a normal life. Rest of the time asked to consume. Really exploiting and reduced human existance. Human beings are to be creative and changing the world but unable to do this due to societal structures.


“Although the SI’s analysis was not just a response to the increasing role…”

We need to move beyong the spectacle against what we expect and crave in our real lives. Most things cost and take you as far as your money will take you. More money can experience more. The notion alienates individuals.

S, Plant

Opposition – Radicaly getting rid of society and abolishes every venture. Ephasises people live standard lives rather than being creative. Society gets rid of every advernture.

Art has a role to play in the transformation, procreation of existing images to create new work with a different message. All these images telling us to desire, use them to alter meaning and present back for a jolting/shocking effect/humourous. Hijacking of pop cuture and re inserting.

People trapped in unfilling lives. Visual technique they cultivated

Situation Slogans (1968) Student Activism. People stuck in lives not to be fuffling and wanting to change. Mass strike across countries. Slogans started to appear in Paris. ‘Return to normal’

Culture Jamming/sub advertising (ad busters) Anti-consumerist. Using popular images and using them to create humourous challenging messages.

Ester Hernandez Sun Maid (1982) – Farm workers union. Comment of use of pesticide in agriculture; health damage. “Sun Maid” Skeleton woman, use of culture jamming.

The Yes Men – Live turnmoil. Embody/Hi jacking. Prankster. Mimmicks the lanaguage of certain corportations. Invite to speaking events/ speak on news. Pews ‘Dow Chemical Corporation’ Identity theft; uses identity to create something new. BBC News; Yes Men used the media to put out a spoof message, people didn’t know it was real. Effected stocks and society.

Viral videos/Guerilla advertising, cultural referencing.

Creating Symbols / Memes

The floating signifier. Symbol for peace. Concept of new symbols/memes useful to think of them as signifiers. Lose enough to mean many things to different people. General meaning of peace, but up to the desiigner to how they create. Empty signifier is useful to use as a powerful tool as a catalyst. Peace sign is world wide recongised. Open/wide enough to be read.

‘Occupy wall street’ Fist. Less recognised. Appeals and recognises the 99%. Rally in power. Taken and re used.

‘Hope’ Obama Compaign. Shepard Fairey

Universal word of ‘Hope’ to try capture the vote. Seen as a Hopeful figure. No polivies, uses the vague slogan. Using political imagery strategically.

Gran Fury for ACT UP – Kissing doesn’t kill: Greed and indifferences do (1989)

Crisis, people dying of AIDS. Soft subject. LGBQT stigmatised. Needed to counter stereotypes behind it. Started a collective, used images to blend into visual landscape of every day life. Effectve.

Barbara Krugar – Skills to create socially conscious images. Mimics visual language. Hi-Jacking advertising strategies.

“Beautiful Trouble.og” Large online toolbox designers bring together experiences.

“This ain’t the Sistine Chapel”

Interrogate strategies, reality isn’t much time to get message across. There is an urgency to displaying a message.

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