1. Desires of the power elite: Us under the phallocentric order
2. Dominance and seduction, five looks, one accessory
3. What makes a classic, what makes a movie?
Introduction: Nevertheless the impossible mission one must make an effort and tackle the copy-paste culture where there seems to be unbreakable circle of tradition in how gender, talent, abilities and possibilities are seen and dealt with. To see opposing, questioning and anger justified not apologised for, one’s own art and body of work worthwhile, necessary and valuable and because someone has to lead the way and do it what few dare to do. This is an article trying to understand what is the feminine in movies for especially in Hollywood. Role of women in movies, in art and place of ours is to go against, not play along but question. I know you will be called difficult. Be difficult in demolishing and constructive way. To be difficult and demanding is to build something new. Becoming movie critics, producers and directors, active makers in the business ruled by white men is of vital importance. Importance is also there who evaluate the films made and how, what issues are emphasised when talked about making movies and distributing them to the audiences. What is the sellable item? How pushing the envelope even though it is difficult makes a difference no matter how small and powerless you feel. This means women should write and put in action new rules how we are to be viewed, displayed, portrait and talked about. Our roles are to be active not playing according to the old comfortable ones. One problem being lack of finance, demand and support is one women face which is telling women should support each other.
1.Desires of the power elite: Us under the phallocentric order
Movie is a continuation to something experienced in real life. It is an interpretation of how we can experience and see, but it is up to the viewer to grasp what to make of the seen movie. How movie can explain an experience and tell what to look at or for, what there is to see and experience further. Truth of a movie is truth of the movie maker, an illusion, make-believe, coloured tale or fact-based illustration, a portrait and depiction. Whatever movie is to fulfil it is also image of the makers. We like to think reality is fixed, there is normal and the weird, to go weird doesn’t take that much of effort. To break this illusion of normalcy movies function beautifully partly it is why movies get made, to imagine again for us in a new way. Some movies are made to strengthen our fixations and feel powerful via them which patriotic movies tend to accomplish forcefully, they often don’t offer any kind of new perspectives but repeat the same story with some extra boosting and hyper-hyper. The experience needed to break down the normal wire and comprehension of what is and what movies can be marginal plays an important role. Mainstream moviemakers are given the glorified position of telling large-scale fables and larger than life stories. How these stamped ideas can be altered is a matter of art and courage. How much about the reality movie tells is up to the makers and what we think is reality, story worth telling. What have been the stories told for those who make films and what remains untold. What have been discovered before and during the making of a film, and after movie was released, to make a movie is to unearth and research. Interesting is towards what kind of issues moviemakers have their curiosity focused. What can be told via the medium, there probably isn’t much which cannot be depicted via film. Moving pictures are hypnotizing, whether holding a camera or sitting in front of a screen.
What lies hidden but is told via clues, what is not shown but is still there in the expression and how that invisible can be the most interesting part of films, the most realistic and humane part and forces us to imagine beyond the seen. What is the perspective there, decisions made how to tell, whose points of view are we looking at, whose truth or lie, what a movie is telling us, is it about the viewer as we choose what we watch, do we have to know about the makers as in excess we are curious about the stars as they are the heroes, they are those with means and visions, capabilities to make their ideas happen there where it is almost impossible to get. Movie continues in mind as it is at best a full body experience depending where and how movies are watched, how personal the story is, how relatable and what is universal in human experience. What kind of interests the viewers have in seeing films. Why do we watch movies is the easiness of just watching, the forgetting and sinking in to a world, and some of us watch very many movies of all kinds. This easiness is thought often not having much value, just sitting and watching. Movies feed the mind but in what way is the question we should be asking. Is it just less thinking needed, is there blame and guilt be felt for this indulgence.
Interesting is how we experience a movie, even a movie poster is an experience. What is the liking, time span, being influenced by and thinking about a movie, its messages, images, stories, artistic decisions and perspectives. Images and scenes of a movie stay there in our heads. The more curious the more puzzling. Too weird, surrealistic does not make a blockbuster but it can make a classic. We need familiarity which also can be totally unrealistic and adventurous. Films making euphoric and thrilling or otherwise felt sensations, cultural, artistic and political statements need a fruitful and fertile ground to live in. There is candy for thought and candy for the aesthetics which must be taken and somehow had, felt. At best movie has a mystery in realistic way which leaves space for thinking and puzzlement of not knowing. Feeling of learning about important events watched from a safe place as a spectator may be enough for some. Do we know more via films, definitely. Is movie experience comparable to life experiences? What raises our curiosity, is it the personal and something new? What makes a movie brilliant? How to define a movie, how is it defined? Technically it is how many pictures per second flashes before one’s eyes and make a moving scene, the running horse, a dancing woman, bullet from a gun. Films have different durations, different qualities, scales of evaluation, films have position in society which today play a big part. Movies are places of extravaganza and a huge part of entertainment industry, a way of life such as TV, it is everywhere. Definitions and genres for films are maybe already irrelevant. Films that are and have been made are endless in the amount and technic. Tiny piece of what is being made make it to the consciousness of the average consumer or anybody via controlled system. Internet makes watching and making demographic. When life feels like a film we think we have captured something historic and worth filming and sharing.
Film has a position in advertising and often nowadays mainstream films look like ads, function like ads and ads in turn are like movies. Movies are the most powerful tool to impress, catch the eye and attention, make an impact on large amounts of people, to influence and manipulate as something sweet and meaningful, breath of fresh air in a dull moment. Cultural and personal importance of movies is what counts. We like the fun part of films. Moving image is like a car, an object to move with and in which as an object is male dominated vehicle but treated like a lady or named a woman. It has a status to impress, possess, take us from one place to another, seduce. Cinema is above us, a fantasy, untouchable, holding power in size, containing vast amounts of capacity to influence our thinking, vision and appreciations therefore to talk and write about what is shown for us is at critical importance. To write only on surface about the surface is not doing us much good or for film as art.
Films make stars, films are the stars, writing gives at best more depth to what was seen and another perspective than our own. Moving feature is what has a hold on us, energy and lightness of it is felt. Could a movie have any other definitions other than something moving forward and towards us? Is it always the personal taste telling what plays importance in a film or something else, a shock, a strong emotion, a surprise? Society rules much via what is shown, where and how we watch. General opinion, or probably is better to talk about what we are used to seeing, what is convenient, pleasant and interesting to us, is still a guide to what we are having. We reflect our desires in an interesting way through movie culture and the culture is us? Many are attracted to speed and not being bored, to be entertained and to have a feeling of something fantastic being witnessed is to feel alive as we watch living pictures that are more alive than us, size and amount count. To avoid being left out is in focus and one main interest is to give birth to desires and needs. How much of this is not make us think for ourselves, distract us from looking what is behind the glittering luring images and why we must want what is given to us, sold to us? What creates brilliance or circumstances for sensitiveness, a thrive to create beauty and meaning, how this creating is restricted or guided, banned or manipulated? Is it related to what is sexy and desirable in a straightforward manner, where we come from, what we are afraid of, what we know about the world, what we have read and seen already? How does gender dictate what we see as beautiful? I’m interested in which are the ways people get their work on the spotlight, what kind of work is put in the centre of attention, given media focus which focus forcefully is narrow and gendered. What kind of publicity movies and moviemakers get, are there girl movies and boy movies? What kind of voice do moviemakers have, are given, how are they heard, what is asked of them and from what kind of world do they make? What kind of things journalists focus on in interviews and stories about movie scenes? What creates interest in a certain movie nowadays? How brave can and should moviemakers be? Is it still restricted what can be issued and manifested in movies nowadays? Is it limited what kind of people make movies, what kind of people are shown in the movies, act in movies, talk about movies? Is there something to be afraid of other than lack of variety and making an echo chamber for ideological purposes? Are there certain kind of people who seek attention through the movie scene, attention seekers? How all this structure of creating moving pictures dictates and who dictates the structure? Is it basically corporation-based solutions that work in this business? Which are the interests of those corporations, interests of the investors other than winnings and cinematic fame? What kind of role do film festivals play in all this? Or press and media as a whole? I’m asking because they are all linked under a dome and mostly what get mentioned are the galas, trophies, celebrities, faces, bodies, lives of the famed and clothes they carry. Any irregularity is reported and scandalised. Everything moves along the direction of relations, scare of losing and where the money is, how the money is and should it be followed. What does it mean to be an independent movie maker in this picture? Does it mean marginal or original, having voice of one’s own? What is originality in movies, in this context of making, who has a voice? Is there any place or demand for independence, independent thinking and breaking the habit?
It is a question of demand, what is in demand, who has control. What kind of people consume mainstream movies and what revolves around this mainstream ideology of spending and living a habit. It would be interesting to see how strictly audiences are analyzed. Anything that isn’t produced in Hollywood is basically marginal in the west. Hollywood movies or movies imitating Hollywood style get the most public space, attention and funding. Should we be concerned? Yes and concerned of what exactly? Some kind of monotonous Americanized view of the world perhaps, lack of complex views of the world and how things happen, lack of perspectives to difference, lack of imagination, having one-eyed view and one political perspective on good and bad. Consuming being the main focus of films is alarming, consuming being the good, the more as well. The way movies manipulate people to think and act, or not to act and think as the easiness is nice and a relief in complex everyday.
One answer to a couple of my questions come from an internet magazine The Gateway sponsored by Morgan Stanley article written by Matthew Reeves: ”The producer is the money person who buys the scripts, hires the director, actors and crew and organises the making and selling of the film. The producer is usually employed by a production company. Production companies are often referred to as “independent”, but all this really means is that they don’t have a distribution deal with a major studio, that is, Sony, MGM, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Warner and Universal. While studios can buy scripts the usual way, they also have the power and money to decide they need, “a kids’ fantasy movie, with an A-list actor, for release in the summer holidays in 2011”, get a writer to craft it, attach a producer, put up the funds themselves, make the movie (in their own studios), and distribute it themselves.”
”But what if no distributor is interested in your film, which may have been made with nobodies, on a nothing budget and with no room left for marketing. How can you get the word out? The answer is film festivals. Cannes, Venice and Sundance are free marketing Meccas. You can enter Cannes, the most influential film festival in the world, for €50. There’s no guarantee your film will get chosen to feature, but it will get watched. If it does get chosen, thousands will see it, newspapers will review it and many distributors will be circling, looking for a bargain. Paranormal Activity was shown at Slamdance Film Festival, http://www.slamdance.com and a year and a half later it was released across the USA. It’s arguably the best $70 the producer has ever spent.” http://thegatewayonline.com/articles/content/how-does-the-film-industry-work
Continuing with more answers: Structures of Discourse and Structures of Power TEUN A. VAN DIJK University of Amsterdam ”In the news media, this strategic control of knowledge is exercised through restricted topic selection, and more generally by specific reconstructions of social and political realities (Hall et al., 1980; Tuchman, 1978; van Dijk, 1987b, 1987c). This process is itself governed by a system of news values and professional ideologies about news and newsworthiness, which happen to favor attention for and the interests of various elite actors, persons, groups, classes, institutions, nations, or world regions (Galtung & Ruge, 1965). Preferential access and coverage (whether positive or negative) of news actors is one factor in the mass medíated reproduction of social power (Brown, Bybee, Wearden, & Murdock, 1982). The same ís true in education, where the curriculum, textbooks, educational materials, and lessons are also governed by educational objectives, subjects, topics, and learning strategies that mostly happen to be consistent with the values or interests of the various power elite groups (Apple, 1979; Lorimer, 1984; Young, 1971). Therefore, we see that the symbolic elites that control the style and content of media and educational discourse are also those who have partial control of the mode of influence, and hence of ideological reproduction in society. The symbolic elites, we suggested, are not independent of other” https://archive.org/stream/IdeologicalDiscourseAnalysis/Ideological%20discourse%20analysis_djvu.txt
2.Dominance and seduction: five looks, one accessory.
The patriarchal society makes it easier for men to take the lead which is for them compulsory and what manly men are supposed to do: direct, command, lead, have the answers, know. It is compulsive and violent for both sexes, toxic masculinity. It is given and forced on us as natural. Women have to fight for being heard, be taken seriously and a powerful skilled woman is easily a bitch, witch, weirdo, difficult and an outcast. It is a male feature to dominate with physical force and scare, to direct others with threat and it has been easier for men to imagine being a director and to become one, the role falls on them more easily, naturally. To my knowledge women like to dominate and do it maybe in more complex and subtle ways or imitating men, but nonetheless feminine domina play is normal everyday act in patriarchal society, meaning women use their power to destroy as well and to direct, question is why they cannot do it in business and in art. What happens more subtle doesn’t make it less hurtful or less powerful.
A lot did change what comes to equality during 20th century in the Western world but what is the change other than technical and in terms of production? What will the ultimate change and progress within movie industry be in the 21st century? Hopefully more about morals, art and justice of the business than technicalities. It still does not mean things are happening for women to the extent of men or that things change fast. Speed is in the renewing the machinery not human condition or doing away the patriarch. That is why it is very important to show movies from all kinds of makers, sexes, backgrounds etc. in schools, in movie theaters and TV. What comes to equality internet is showing the way, moving images are at the core of our internet experience. At the moment women directors are treated like marginal makers as emphasis is on the gender and it is said out loud male or female. Scripts written by women usually are different from men. Directors are treated like it still is a wonder a woman is a director or a producer, although there are many women in the business and have been for a long time. It is much easier to watch females pose on a red carpet wearing a designer gown asked how they feel expectation being the viewer wants to hear it and see this. Emphasis is on the assumptions what does a photogenic person look like and who can be filmed, who attracts the eye and why.
Movie people seem to live a fabulous life, images give us impressions. Narcissism is questioned in any media strongly but celebrated at the same time. Narcissists are interesting people as they entertain and know what they want, get what they want and make scenes. To want such spotlight life is praised and encouraged, idolised. Photographs of someone entering a gala of something are shown in every magazine that have a gossip column or want to comment the movie world or talk about movies in any manner. Movies nowadays is a very stereotyped world. Everything goes around the money-making machinery and what brings in the dollars. Biggest moneymakers are talked about and again idolised. Imaginary is highly glittered, narrow and thin. Shallowness can be turned interesting when reasons for it are investigated and studied. Such industry is massive and the biggest categorizor of people world-wide, advertising and movies are part of our visuals which we eat and consume. Most people watch movies, see the ads which are creating the world we live in and look at, and films get inspiration from the world we live in. To go outside that box can turn out to be more than just an image.
To make movies requires ability to tell stories, will to succeed in a very male-dominated world and money-oriented atmosphere. Stubborn belief in one’s ideas and abilities is needed and room to make ideas happen, also to make others believe in ideas of yours, to get attention is what we seek, all of us nowadays. What else is there to have? Luck? Moviemakers must be completely passionate about their craft just as any artist, making movies and seeing movies, making that particular film and story which totally extraordinary sounds like a dream. As a woman does one have to be a man to make it in this frame is an interesting question, to make a feature film as a woman but act like a man? Such a woman is easily considered a difficult person. It is much easier to be filmed and look beautiful, do as you are told but be unique. Womanhood posing as a fragile flower, young, polished in ads, in flashlights, photographers calling your name. And why is it important to talk and bring this issue in front, is there a problem?
Needless to say, but I’m saying it, women make different kinds of films than men, they have different points of views and interests. When women play roles that have been played by men there is totally new level to it, something lived by men is lived by women too, story gets vastly layered context and understanding of gendered experience, it is power which resonates within the powerless. Women see the world differently than men, experience it differently, do differently, walk and talk differently, are treated differently. Women should be given equal chance to bring their knowledge on to the screen, be active and create as they create, thinking instead of being looked at and they should understand it themselves too. Do men get their clothes examined on the red carpet? Aki Kaurismäki was drunk and danced at Cannes 2002 which was making appalled headlines in Finland. Men can and must disturb the scene in a moving way as well as business requires certain behaviour. Scene is asking to be cut open and questioned. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vcs3sottHm4
This is of course my observation and a bothering issue, horrifying actually when you look at the picture at hand. What a world. What are male points of views then? Is it so that men do different kind of movies than women as I claim. I already dislike the topic at hand, I dislike that I even have to mention it, sex and gender and what they mean. What does gender got to do with anything what and how people make professionally? In making movies or making art? Unfortunately quite much. Everything revolves around it. Comes back to our bodies. Why is it so? What is sexy here? What is sex other than a toy? Why is it sold? Because it is the easy way and an obvious want, obvious defined and dominator. An act, the difference, organs, emotions, chemistry, molecules, desires, reproduction, repetition, perspective of the wanted and the ones who want. It is the power-issue ruling our behaviour which is in the visuals. It is regulated by religion, politics, traditions, rules made to give us frame to act upon and know where the limits go. Major topics in film, in anything and the leading couple kiss is the anti-climax in an action film but it has to be there. Image of movie industry, of its people, how it works and what for, it all goes back to sex, human sexuality and how to profit from it, use it, it using us.
Feminist film theory has opened up reasons behind film industry, given a voice and chance for women to analyze film as an art, our point of view and why it should be there on film. How women are on film, used, abused, cut open. ”Feminism is a social movement which has had an enormous impact on film theory and criticism. Cinema is taken by feminists to be a cultural practice representing myths about women and femininity, as well as about men and masculinity. Issues of representation and spectatorship are central to feminist film theory and criticism. Early feminist criticism was directed at stereotypes of women, mostly in Hollywood films (Haskell 1973/1987, Rosen 1973). Such fixed and endlessly repeated images of women were and are considered objectionable distortions which have a negative impact on the female spectator as well as on males.” Claire Johnston (1940-1987) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claire_Johnston was among the first feminist critics to offer a sustained critique of stereotypes from a semiotic point of view (1973/1991). She puts forward how classical cinema constructs the ideological image of woman. Drawing on Roland Barthes’ notion of ‘myth’, Johnston investigated the myth of ‘Woman’ in classical cinema. The sign ‘woman’ can be analyzed as a structure, a code and convention. It represents the ideological meaning that ‘woman’ has for men. In relation to herself she means no-thing (1991: 25): women are negatively represented as ‘not-man’. The ‘woman-as woman’ is absent from the text of the film (26).”
http://www.film-philosophy.com/vol8-2004/n17sloan Is it problematic for cinema as a whole to talk about women’s cinema? “This concept of minor cinema is quite fruitful for the purpose of concluding the debate on the strong political ground that most interests Butler. Since a ‘minor’ cinema is one that politicizes everything, women’s cinema well qualifies, generally finding struggle in all aspects of life, and value in confronting it. Further, a minor literature is written by marginalized authors, and so focuses on the challenges of belonging to an out-group.”
The important theoretical shift happening was and is that women started taking up as voices and act out from places of power, from an understanding of cinema reflecting realities of variety of women, realities of many instead of one. Having a view to cinema as a constructing method, ideological and politically engaging on individual level. Classical cinema was not to show its means of production, or was it? It should be defined what we mean by classical cinema and why classical cinema is what we think it is. Characterised by veiling over its ideological construction and under restrictions rather than free expression? Thus, classical film as we think the classical presents the constructed images of ‘woman’ as naturally desirables, unrealistic and attractive for the male. This is the illusionism of classical cinema. www.feministezine.com
It feels like a concrete wall, the notion that a woman in film is not the man, not as able as the man and is always in need of assistance. She lacks something. She is there to be looked at, in relation to herself to her being no-thing. To continue the misogynist tale Budd Boetticher (Hollywood film director during 1942-85) has put it: “What counts is what the heroine provokes, or rather what she represents. She is the one, or rather the love or fear she inspires in the hero, or else the concern he feels for her, who makes him act the way he does. In herself the woman has not the slightest importance.”
3.Desire of the power elite; Us under the phallocentric order.
Do women objectify themselves by putting their bodies into a certain light where their body and sexuality is openly under gaze and played with, in a certain repetitious positions to gain profit and be seen as that is the way still to get seen? Of course, and I would say, it is not passive. It is a very active role to play and toy with, the game where women win in one way only and are therefore used for a certain time, as long as their looks grant it. Women are slaves as much as they must put themselves in that position to be looked at, in a way it is slavery, yes. There must be something more to it as it is voluntarily done. Victim is a spectator of her fate. She still must imagine what happens to her when she chooses to act in a certain way and like it. Film industry is an abusive machine which abandons those who are no longer useful which is seen tragic. This must be seen beforehand, calculated and be known, understood and accepted. Industry obeys only capital and how to get it. It gives models of how to be, become, what to be, where to be, what to wear, what is talked about and how etc. Seduction is deliberate, unforgiving and cruel, to seduce the audience, a mass has its psychology and logic. Movie industry is a brainwash operator where meat is power and murder. Movies are made to seduce the consumer. Movies to give goals in life. Movies to give dreams. How audience is seduced? Or are we really that stupid? What is seduction? From Wikipedia: ”In colloquial language and fictional literature, seduction is the process of deliberately enticing a person, to lead astray, as from duty, rectitude, or the like; to corrupt, to persuade or induce to engage in sexual behaviour.” The Internet has lately given rise to more open discussion on seduction and how to master it: The Rules for women and The Game for men.
MUCH ABOUT JENNIFER LOPEZ:
”Actress, entertainer, music artist, film & TV producer, fashion designer, entrepreneur and humanitarian Jennifer Lopez has been called one of the most powerful and celebrated celebrities in entertainment. Forbes Magazine named her the #1 Most Powerful Celebrity in the World of 2012. Known for her beauty and fashion sense Lopez has been the face of many advertising campaigns— L’Oreal, Louis Vuitton, Ford, Fiat, Subaru, Lux, Brahma Beer, Gillette, Kohl’s and Pepsi just to name a few. In 2012, Forbes ranked Lopez number one on their list of “100 Most Powerful and Influential Celebrities in the World” “and she has appeared many times on The Hollywood Report’s list of best paid actresses. Also known as a fashion icon, her appearance at the red carpet events always garners considerable media attention.” www.jenniferlopez.com
”While Hitchcock goes into the investigative side of voyeurism, Sternberg produces the ultimate fetish, taking it to the point where the powerful look of the male protagonist (characteristic of traditional narrative film) is broken in favour of the image in direct erotic rapport with the spectator. The beauty of the woman as object and the screen space coalesce; she is no longer the bearer of guilt but a perfect product, whose body, stylised and fragmented by close-ups, is the content of the film and the direct recipient of the spectator’s look.” www.feministezine.com
Watching her going in to an exiting event wearing Versace smiling and looking happy. The most beautiful woman on Earth, hugely wealthy and desired, influencer on the beauty market. She has her hands leaning her waist. She is a business woman, it is said she is in control of her image, meaning what exactly? She is strong and independent, her own boss and ruler of her art. Poses telling so and the interviews strengthening our perception. But she isn’t saying much concerning entertainment business or how it could be something other than it is and should it be different as it has served her so well? What other could it be and what else is there. Industry serves her as she serves it. I wonder the machinery behind creating the phenomenon like JLo. Is it pure and simple as I think in businesslike? This is awesome. I love you and your arse, your body is part of your art. The publicity is moving around the globe. Beautiful women sell enormously well, so conducting from that there is incredible power in women which remains on image level as it is not completely let go, released. Wildness is ok up to a point. Too much rock and roll is too much the devil.
How it functions building an image for one person around her or his sex symbolism, luxurious life, incredible life story of being discovered and how the story continues, relationships, children, houses, clothes, movies, making music and money, going around the world dancing, having pictures taken, videos being made being followed. The amount and quality of imagery is about style + beauty, body+mind says also her website, a place for worship and to know her a bit better: Lopez’s dedication to assisting children in need and to the empowerment of others is far-reaching. The Girls & Boys Club of America has named her their national spokeswoman. Gucci is featuring Lopez in a national advertising campaign along with her twins Emme and Max launching its children collection. The campaign will benefit UNICEF. Lopez set the branding standard for celebrity fragrance, apparel and accessories. Her latest fragrance, Love and Glamour, marked 17 successful launches, taking in over $2 billion combined. A new fragrance, Glowing, was launch in 2012. In 2006, Lopez was awarded with the prestigious ACE Fashion Icon of the Year for her contribution to accessories and the fashion industry. www.jenniferlopez.com
It’s good publicity to be a humanitarian. Cynically put, but mentioning one’s humanitarian work after all business and entertainment deals and PR is as cynical as business can get and only in couple of sentences her humanism is clear, she is clean and good. I would like to know more about the results of her humanitarianism. What is being made exactly? What is done? What comes to being powerful and influential? She is hypnotizing and playing on many arenas, sure. She attracts men and women that is called power, she makes people wild and dancing, that could be called freeing. The queen bee, a person as a classic beauty to imitate, movie personality with looks to kill, movie star who gathers people to watch her perform, a role model. There are many out there who play this particular part and use their gained position to make a difference as well. She has acted in several Hollywood movies which gives her a platform where she is listened to. Still such story is not the most important issue in a Hollywood feature film, in Hollywood, to be humanitarian it is a side trail, something rich people feel compelled of doing. What kind of sexual vibes arise from the making it. It is a Hollywood cult of icons, stories behind and what actually makes difference in the world. The industry is like a religion with angels and demons, money as the only God. Is philanthropy a distraction, a cleanse? What are movies then? Tools to become rich and famous?
” The paradox of phallocentrism in aIl its manifestations is that it depends on the image of the castrated woman to give order and meaning to its world. An idea of woman stands as lynch pin to the system: it is her lack that produces the phallus as symbolic presence, it is her desire to make good the lack that the phallus signifies.” Laura Mulvey Visual Pleasure NarrativeCinema http://imlportfolio.usc.edu/ctcs505/mulveyVisualPleasureNarrativeCinema.pdf
Hollywood film is a monolith, what I have seen, watched and as I see, it is leaving much out and sticking to the very narrow tones of humanity and sexuality, posing sexual stereotypes, showing a look-a-like magic tricks with a lot of bling and bang. The thing I don’t understand is why is it doing so when it could be doing so much more? With a lot of noise to get so little is strange. Hollywood as a factory would have an enormous potential to do better quality, interesting, experimental, progressive cinema offering the masses variety and actual change. To me their way is more and more commercial humbug offering ecstatic experiences which other art forms also try to achieve, mass appeal and instant ecstasy. Musical sounds are the same, people look the same, has every fucking thing become a clone, an ass and pair of tits? And the world has become an image of the movies. We are coping what is being copied, becoming copies of each other. Copy that.
Series of photos taken on film in June 2001 on a conference trip to the US, so couple of months before 9/11. Maybe proper name is 2001, Age of innocence, joy of travelling and photographing the journey. Element of Americana is in the photos of course, artist as a tourist, intimate portraits of performance artists. They resonate today in an interesting way.
What kind of pictures do we take nowadays in comparison to the time before the digital cameras and camera phones? I got my first digital camera 2008 but digital started to boom after 2001. How has our focus changed as a photo is instantly seen and quickly manufactured, spread and shared. What makes a good photograph and a good photographer as we all practice photographing and have cameras in our pockets? Have we managed to achieve skill and eye for perfect photos and how we perceive perfection in a photo and what we choose to publish? Is it the lighting, complicated technicalities, background and flawlessness that is almost artificial which is paid attention to? Maybe issue is the sense of authenticity in a photo, finding something rare, what is a valuable moment and target to film and be made into an object to look at, does it not require skill to manufacture meaning, feeling, ideas of one’s own via photography and what is the one’s own made visible with a method which is mass production. Photography is a method for all to use, it is exploration in a same way as travelling, to know about and master but what does image tell us and what kind of images do we pay attention to, what is the interest today, of today? What are the clichés in picturing and do we recognise clichés we fall for? What are the most photographed places and people? Are they things we like, are amazed by and which qualities have a mass appeal, cuteness, sexiness and size? Repetition is telling. Interest in and imitation of something which doesn’t lose its fun, value or something we want to be, be part of and what we look for in life? Interests of modern people remain curiously unchanged. Important question is how cameras and social media have changed the way we travel and take pictures? How much do we do the going away from everyday and the immortalising of extraordinary or ordinary out of impulses we get via social media, what is the seen there that raises interest and what is value there? How tourists look the same with their luggage, sunglasses, shorts, cameras, they sound the same, do the same very predictable things; tastes and desires don’t obviously vary that much and secure choices have a lure of easiness in them.
Publishing of travel photographs is banal, an everyday thing but it does not lose its charm as doesn’t shopping or partying. Here I am, look where I am and have been to. The further the trip goes the better, but how far are we willing step, what is the ultimate purpose of tourism is the obvious fulfilment and pleasure, intimacy and revealing of self. Is there something extraordinary in this ordinary practice other than the thought of it being special, being free to go, the opportunity and chance. The trip that was one of a kind exploration whatever the destination, relaxed or stressed out, found out something new or something that was expected. Travel photo is an interesting category where beauty of the seen view is emphasised, the experienced weather, location and what we were supposed to experience, surprises, disappointments, troubles or effortlessness of making the trip. Witnessing distant far away beauty and locations is the expectation, people, sights, wonders and happenings. Being part of something distant, new, maybe untouchable and rare but nonetheless not quite unknown. Are the stereotypes of travelling the same as stereotypes of living as we know what we want and want to show the best in us, be the best kind, be in control, having the best light, the fun moments to remember, displaying our interests which are normal and proper, but still we go search something else? To beautify for a photo is something we like doing, tidy up and look your best, pose with others or alone, in front of something. Controlling our image is important, what we show of ourselves. The unescapable banality of posing, looking, looking like the modern lifestyle we own. Travelling today is a sport, a cliché as a whole, how we do it, why we do it, what we make of travelling. As an industry and as leisure activity it amplifies and enhances our personas and lives bringing quality and debt via what it is worth and what can be learned via travelling. It is extraordinary and ordinary at the same time, grand and small, luxurious on one hand, poverty in action and thought: how could something so rich and giving be so poor and lacking?
The things we want of a photo and of a trip is interesting. There is something similar to them which is about fantasy and realising dreams, becoming and reaching out. The word cliché can mean the whole of human existence which we want to picture as it repeats the similar desires over and over again and we like to do it in a mass movement. What does this cliché of ours make of us as we repeat it, hold on to it, like it, share it, think it as something worth while, that something unchanged is safe and good. How does originality come to show in contrast to mass tourism and mass of photos?
How do we measure growth and what is the goal? To grow for us or in the eyes of others? Growth is measured via having gained more, growing bigger, understanding, learning, having, owning, expanding. We like to think there is no end to our growth, there is no end to our needs either. Travelling is a big part of modern life, it signifies the good life, enjoying ourselves, expanding horizons and paradoxically personal growth. To having been there where it is different than where we usually live, having found something exotic and new, something to tell about and compare. What are the things to expand from and how big is enough when nothing is enough? Personal growth we perceive and examine via where we come from and what is the essence of us that is to be cultivated. Travelling is a place of change but what changes? What is the starting point and what are the possibilities, individual potential and interests, how we perceive our own individual growth as human beings, how necessary it is, what is it and how we appreciate it. What is the needed change there? What is personal growth worth to us and which qualities we like to see grow in us and us growing towards the world?
What happens when we move and take up going? A relief, a release, sense of self letting go, achieving and going through a process. It is a process to which we usually must prepare for, a state of mind which is chosen. We think about going, we get ready mentally and take care of official matters that must be in order for travelling to be possible and we will not be turned away, be without money, accommodation and information about our destination. Plans must be there ready so we know where we are going and what to do when we get there. We don’t want anything drastic to happen but we are prepared, aren’t we. To get lost in a strange place is scary. Interesting is how we either can just go but rather choose not to, fear is keeping experimentation at its minimum. Preparation for safety is a ritual where one takes care of oneself before, during and after the trip. Also place where one is based must be in good order to come back to. We don’t want to go back to problems, mess and stress, unpaid bills, uncleaned home, messy relationships. That is an ideal place to get going.
It can be embarrassing to be stared at. Usually it is uncomfortable, because it feels threatening and something is wrong. Depending on who does the staring at you and from where the looking at comes, do we notice? Yes. But what are the things we notice and why? Mostly surface plays an important role for humans. We think with our eyes, which is rather problematic. To dig deeper and not jump to hasty conclusions is more than advised.
I do not look at people when I walk. Why would I when a look has so many meanings it is intolerable and an infuriating difficult dilemma to solve by any other way than with refusal to look like having blinds, keeping it to myself, showing no interest at all. To smile at people is an invitation and possibility is there to be hurt. To look at people in my case has a serious meaning, danger, or to look at anything for a long period of time is just seen weird. Would sunglasses solve this problem? Why would anybody just stare? What is the point other than there is nothing better to do? It is perhaps sign of idleness, craziness, unbalance, problematical that is somehow negative, not open, unspoken but loud still a very open wide gesture and message, animal-like and stupid. Don’t animals stare before they attack? What does it say to a woman or to a girl when she is stared at on a street, in a cafe or bar: someone wants something of you or your clothes are strange, your hair is odd, you are out of the ordinary. Terrible are looks out from tables outside of a bar as are the noisy comments.
When I look intensely at someone or something I am interested in that person, thing or object I pay attention to, but how am I interested in the one I’m looking at? Do I want something? Yes, I think what kind of drawing would I make, a photograph or what is the context of something being in that particular place etc. What does a woman want when she takes a long gaze? Gaze is to me a sexual word. Gazes are not similar. There are so many ways to gaze and as many reasons. They mark desire firstly. People who are always wanting something. It is something funny as it is repetitious, disturbing, uncomfortable, rude and invasion of privacy, invasion of space and cause for anger. Some looks one can feel on one’s back send emotions and thoughts. Attention that can be sensed on one’s skin or one is so used to being looked at that stares are everywhere they begin to scare and make the world view rather peculiar.
But still we need to be looked at in a certain way, noticed, given compliments and greeted. With kind and civil interest and respect for the person. Some people enjoy the harassment kind of look, some find it horrible intrusion of ripping clothes off with the help of one’s stare. Muslims have solved the problem of being looked at with desire by veiling and hiding behind screens. Problem solved? What we cannot see, we can start guessing. Lustful gazes which cannot be self-regulated because those who stare do what they are supposed to do. This is the logic, I gather. There is not much prohibition for those who have eye for female beauty and will to take what they want. It is a question of honor of the woman and her family, her husband, honor of man as woman is to be looked at by her husband only. Muslim women are not allowed to look at other people while walking outside. It would not be good manners. http://productivemuslim.com/6-tips-to-help-lower-your-gaze/ They look to the ground or their eyes are completely covered by a burka minding their business. This is what I have myself learned to do as well. It is to protect my privacy and what I want is a secret. My look is under evaluation, my eye, meaningful, and it is mostly in negative way with meaning how a woman eyes on others. Linking to wanting something, lacking and being weak. http://www.islam-laws.com/articles/gaze.htm “except you, I have never seen a man lower his gaze in front of a woman. In my life you are the first person who lowers his gaze when seeing a woman. I come, and you close your eyes.” Modesty a true virtue.
What does it mean when an artist looks at something as I do all the time see the roads, sides of roads, backyards etc? Can it by the way be told that one is an artist by appearance? I am looking at and looking for, looking and looking. Are you looking for the same reasons as I? Something is there to be found, all things are to be looked at and wondered. Why is there still the feminine weakness in the assumptions on why I look at, look back, do not look, turn my head away? Puzzle of a look. Female stereotypical characteristics are to be envious, hateful, bitter, suspicious and scared. Woman is here to be wanted, changed and be taken, taught, kept in leash, told not to but she wants it because she is weak, looking for someone to hold on to and step over or to be stepped over as she is dangerous in her negative emotions, she might? When women are seen in such negative light, stereotypical and one-sided, which is like a stain on a gender, how on earth such stigma got made? Do you think it’s true?
http://fusion.net/story/148054/theres-a-reason-some-people-hate-making-eye-contact/?cmpid=143222&hootPostID=04b0d7746b49051d4146c55b0ada6bd5“The results don’t necessarily move us closer to figuring out how people uncomfortable with eye contact can train themselves to feel better about holding someone’s gaze. Hiatenan points to some efforts to train people with autism to make eye contact as an imperfect solution.”
The question is what is seen as heavy, unbearable, intolerable. The weight of revolution is obviously blind violence and inequality, which follow many political revolutions. The same that happened repeatedly to people in mass scale happens to those who had power – the joy of making the oppressor fall down bad. Those who made the effort and decision to rise up have also responsibility to do otherwise. Isn’t it revenge what makes revolt. So it is a difficult case of multiple desires, choosing rights and wrongs. It is justified to rise up and rebel, the question is how to do that. The heavy baggage is the pay back, unwillingness and inability to actually change something and ignorance, inability to see other than bitterness, hurt, rage and hate that have piled up, inability to answer in other way than what was given before by those in power. Heavy is the powerlessness and the absolute need to gain overwhelming power over others. See what I can do, me, who in your eyes am nothing. How to grow above revenge and be just? It is an enjoyable situation to be able to be actually seen as a whole person and not a slave and nothing. To accomplish and gain worthiness. Sad thing is it has to be accomplished, value as a human being. Some see revolution as an opportunity to gain power. That is what revolution is about, but it is not enough to want power, one has to be able to use it constructively. One thing more is how does one empower oneself to be better, how does one become wise?
What is good to do in terms of changing society?