Stereotypes

According to Oxford dictionary, stereotypes are ‘a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing’. (Oxford University Press, 2016)

They are usually, if not always negative and present a specific view of an individual, group of people, etc.

In order to explain stereotypes I’ve illustrated some which I am aware of.

As a foreigner in UK I’ve experienced discrimination based on negative stereotypes that exist about Eastern Europeans. Generally, after learning where I’m from people would talk to me in a slow and simplified way, ask me how come we learn English in Croatia, am I Russian and so on. This made me extremely self-conscious about my nationality to an extent that I hide it.

The stereotype for some Eastern European countries (such as Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria) are that women are prostitutes and promiscuous, while men are primitive, violent and wear the signature Adidas tracksuit. While some women might go in for prostitution, reasons are much more than promiscuity. Massive inequality gap between Eastern and Western Europe, poor education, rural areas and socialist and communist heritage have a great deal to do with the trade some chose and how men are raised.

‘All Muslims are tourists’ – after doing some research about islamophobia in UK, I came across this amazingly funny typo someone posted on their twitter account. The general stereotype about Muslims is how they are all violent, terrorists and so on. These stereotypes are reinforced by the bigot Western media with harmful ideology of promoting nationalism and hatred. I thought the right way to tackle this is by humour.

Middle-aged women, if not married are considered to have almost lost the purpose of their lives. Marriage is an unexhausted source for chick-flick movie – wedding day is considered as the greatest day of women’s lives. Choosing flowers of the right shade of nude and toppings of a three-floor cake are unavoidable. It almost appears that middle-aged women are gaining purpose by marriage.

Lastly, LGBTQ community carries a weight of a lot of stereotypes. Each representative letter has its own stereotypes, not to mention discrimination that exists within the community.

REFERENCE LIST:

Oxford University Press (2016) Oxford Dictionaries. Available at: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/stereotype (Accessed: 06.05.2016.).

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Punk

Was punk a cultural movement, fighting the political oppression or was it mainly a rebellion against society’s values and norms, which was expressed through fashion and music?

Roger Sabin (2002, p.3), a professor of popular culture explains the cause and emphasis with punk was on class politics. He writes how Britain in 70’s had the full justice for the movement to being (2002, p.3): ‘For example, if we think of punk as an explosion caused by the bringing together of various unstable elements, then the UK’s economic recession during this period can be seen as the catalyst.’ This could very likely be the oppression Margaret Thatcher brought to the working-class.

For instance, a great movie – Pride, retells a story of an LGBT group in London which collected money for the miners in the 70’s. This being just one example of the oppression, it not a wonder that youth felt the urge to resist the political and economic oppression through punk as a platform for this.

On the other hand, Steven Heller (2003, p.200), an art director from New York writes: ‘American Punk was more cultural than political’. American Punk was more a rebellion again hippie music, while British fought the oppression from the government. Either way, it was a mean of rebellion. Heller (2003, p.200) makes a good point explaining zines as a DIY rebellion, where anyone could self-publish one, without censure and transfer ides to the wider audience. Messy layout, sellotape, those were all the things which would define punk zines aesthetically.

Today, punk is seen more as a cultural phenomenon, similar to what Heller described it to be in U.S. in 70’s. It is arguable weather today’s punk can even be considered a movement of rebellion. I believe punk must fight the government’s oppression, and fashion and music can only be a platform for this. It being purely a cultural movement does not imply strong enough of an impact on cultural norms, discrimination, oppression, etc.

Reference list:

Sabin, R. ed. (2002) Punk Rock: So What?: The Cultural Legacy of Punk. London, US: Routledge.

Heller, S. (2003) Merz to Emigre and Beyond: Avant-Garde Magazine Design of the Twentieth Century. London and New York: Phaidon.

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Alice in Wonderland

The British Library has opened its’ doors to visitors to step into the wonderful world of Alice in Wonderland with their highly anticipated exhibition.

Alice as a story has an interesting origin. Lewis Carroll, a mathematician and a scientist with a passion for writing took three of his Oxford university dean’s daughters to a boat trip. The youngest one, Alice, enjoyed stories Carroll told, and he decided to write down one of the stories and give it to Alice as a present.

The story has magical potions, various creatures and places of the Wonderland. It is all so very magical. However, the exhibition itself does not portrait that. The space is crowded, somewhat with the great amount of content displayed in glass shelves which work, in a way as a labyrinth portraying the Wonderland of the story. The space is small, even though it contains re-imagined Alice from various artist and illustrators – ranging from Dali and his beautiful lithographs, Margareth Tarrant’s re-imagined image of Alice wearing a red headband and a white dress, to Ralph Steadman’s political twist to the story. The great amount of work is not served well by the space. To me, the gift shop portraits the story better than the actual exhibition with the amazing ceiling installation and exaggerated pop-up’s of Alice and the Mad hatter.

Coming back to the origin of the story, it might sounds as a quite a romantic and philanthropic thing what Carroll did – gifting a story to his young friend, but Carroll had an unhealthy obsession with Alice, I would say. Could Carroll’s obsession with Alice be something besides paternal care? Even if we take into consideration that in Victorian times age of consent was 12, a photograph of one of Alice’s sisters was found – Laureen. She is naked in that photograph, in her early teenage years. By no means, weather we’re talking about Victorian times or 21st century, no parent would allow this. And so it seemed to the dean of Oxford when he fired Carroll and the relationship with the family changed. This analysis might be a case of imposing mentality of 21st century, but with the evidence of Carroll taking that photograph of Lauren comes the question of ethics.

Alice in Wonderland is a great story, but it wasn’t represented well in the exhibition. It is worth seeing purely because of the different visual interpretations of the wonderland and its’ characters. However, story of Lewis Carroll is yet to be discovered and explored.

CTS, 4.2.

Where is illustration?

We’ve spent the morning session discussing where and what illustration can be, as well as talking about the thinking processes behind illustration, or art in general.
Addressing mind as a variety of mental processes, as well as mentioning terms like neuroesthetics, externalism, etc.
We did an exercise in a pair to explore these thinking processes. Each person was supposed to draw a continuous line. Each time continuing where the other one stopped – all this without talking. In the end, each person wrote a letter, which in some cases resulted in words.

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Presentation skills

Afternoon session we’ve talked about presentation skills. Not only what a power point is (a toll, nonetheless), but in what way does our body language affect the connection with the audience and how proper posture and some simple exercises can positively affect our work.

As a task for our blogs we’ve been give an instruction to make a quick sketch of the CTS session last week.

This is what I remember – Andrew sitting on the floor, surrounded by the tables, talking about power points, posture, casually mentioning stilettos and asking us to say ‘bubbles’. I see no point to write down what would make a good presentation, but saying simply – Andrew’s classes demonstrate that perfectly. He’s manged to achieve a great thing – getting and keeping our attention, connecting with his audience – which is in this case Guava and approaching us on a personal basis, which in any presentation results in audiences’ devoted attention.

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‘Bubbles, everyone say bubbles!’

disclaimer*
I’ve drawn it from my memory, so sorry Andrew if I don’t do you any justice.

CTS, 21.01.

Western lives matter more.

When written down, doesn’t it seem fundamentally racist and ignorant? Well, this is exactly what mainstream media is serving to us. Ideology behind this is dangerous and must be revealed. Flashback to Paris terror attacks – french flags as profile pictures, grief, national monuments of many countries hiving french colors. 12 January 2016, Istanbul’s Sultanahmet district was under attack of a suicide bomber. It was barely covered by mainstream media. 10 people died. 

This week in CTS session we discussed illustration in relation to violence – talking about different types of journalism and role of illustration in reporting, mentioning artists like E.H. Shepard, Edward Bawden, Olivier Kugler, etc. Following the thought of illustration being one of ways of reporting, we watched a virtual reality video about three children affected by war in their home countries – The Displaced. Video sparked emotional reactions from students.

I found it extremely ironical and hypocritical that it took a virtual reality experience to spark a grain of compassion with people from third world countries. Isn’t it brilliantly funny that this video, using children is shown to Westerns in the comfort of their home, when just recently UK decided to bomb Syria? Conveniently enough, Syria is exactly one of home countries of one of the children in the video.

After Paris terror attack it took only saying and mentioning the event and people would feel discomfort. And any other country, whose nationality isn’t a privilege and a virtue – a virtual reality experience and capitalization of children?

Let’s put hypocrisy aside. Where was our compassion when UK decided to bomb Syria? Where is our compassion now when thousands of people in UK are being terrorized with racism because of their religion? Where is our compassion for students affected by the bigot ‘Prevent’ law, causing discomfort for many.

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Making Traces – summary

I like Tate. A lot. Last year I lived really close to it, so I would spend almost every weekend there. The space makes me calm. It’s clean, spacious, there’s a lot of heavy metal constructions and ceilings are unreasonably tall – just as I like them to be.

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Main reasons why I like Tate, besides sterile architecture are as following:

a) Good art
b) Huge bookshop
c) Location (Bankside is so FETCH.)
d) Making fun of pretentious ‘art critics’

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It wouldn’t be art enough if it wasn’t black and white

I love how people stare at simple canvases just for the sake of appearing intellectual, trying to figure out what it is that they’re actually looking at. When I stare at canvases, it’s mainly because I’m trying to find sense in what I see. I can’t say I find much sense in contemporary art. Maybe some rare examples like Marina Abramović ( A) because performance is great and B) you gotta love some politically charged art) and Braco Dimitrijević. I find them amusing. Most contemporary art isn’t. It’s unreachable to viewers. Artists put themselves in positions where they are unreachable, and it’s wrong. Abramović does these amazing performances where she’s vulnerable. And that’s what art should be, at least good art.

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Here’s me looking, this time not in black and white. I prefer colour anyway

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This was my favourite piece in the whole Making Traces exhibition, besides the amazing golden leaf canvas (it was so good, like modern-day Klimt and I like Klimt, a lot)

And here’s the actual review:
https://indd.adobe.com/view/59cc0f6a-4bcd-431b-9592-a2b2e1f0dd5e?ref=ide