Language & Consumerism

After missing the first of Gerald Deslandes three lectures, I was keen to see the second which was on the subject of Language & Consumerism. I’d touched on a few of these concepts when I studied the Understanding Visual Culture module a few years ago and was keen to see what was added here. There were some good points made, things worth noting but to be honest, 90 minutes and 90 slides meant it was pretty much a whistle stop tour of the subject.

Ferdinand de Saussure was introduced, with his linguistic framework of ‘la langue” and “la parole”, and how words are interpreted and understood within the framework. Michel Foucault was there too, with his theory of how a single image is understood within the context a a wider set of images. Aspects of Modernism were raised, with the example of how the statues “squareness” or “blockiness” reflects the nature of the stone it’s carved from (and hence, representative of Modernism) whilst also being interpreted from within a larger canon of similar sculptures, with the Aztec Chacmool figure.

Aztec/Henry Moore
from Language and Consumerism, by Gerald Deslandes

Douglas Gordon was mentioned, and I highlighted his name for further investigation (which I’ve not done yet). What peaked my interest was his appropriation of film by stretching them out to a 24h duration, the slow motion changes them to something meaningless, defined only by what we take from it. Something perhaps worth exploring with the work I’ve been doing? Yes, certainly someone to take a further look at when the opportunity comes.

Lots of other stuff reinforced what I’d previously covered; Barthes Panzani advert and “Italianicity” and the connotations it brings of freshness, abundance and yes, Italianicity  through the red, white and green colours matching the Italian flag (even though Panzani is a French company).

(from accessed 17/1/15)

There was talk about consumerism (Manet) and availability (Koons), and how Pop Art was very astute about the nature of images, how they become empty of meaning after constant reproduction, or at least they start to take on other meanings and empty of their original meaning. There was mention about how meanings change with the time, or at least how aspirations change, from “get married” to “got a girl”…

All in all, a lot to take in, not a lot of time to take it in in, but interesting nonetheless…

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