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November 1994, Week 4


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Nicole Matthews <[log in to unmask]>
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Nicole Matthews <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 28 Nov 1994 13:37:18 CST
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
Borrowing and juxtaposing images can certainly be a creative process, and I
personally found EBN's fast-paced parody entertaining (at least
for a while) and to some extent politically gratifying.
However, I am unsure about the assumption that highlighting the conditions
of production of mass cultural images is automatically subversive.
It's interesting to note the differential uptake of the kind of viewing
that is valorised by this argument that reflexive viewing is politically
radical.  Pierre Bourdieu in "Distinction" points out that a
distanced, ironic viewing position, which focusses on the formal
qualities of an art work or medium, is most often taken up by those with
privilege (both on the basis of class/education and on gender).  Patrice
Petro and Tania Modleski have also pointed out that this emphasis on "critical
distance" has meant that women have frequently been described as passive
and conservative consumers of mass culture.
While it's certainly possible that works like EBN can be dangerous to
"hegemony", I wonder how this might happen, given that the very kind of
viewing which they encourage is associated with privilege.
Nicole Matthews, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia