Studio 1: Archaeologists of now - Understanding contemporary image, text & sound

Studio Outline

Contemporary culture is defined by ‘information overload’ – as we are sold films, TV programmes, products, music and lifestyles through every possible media outlet. As ‘archaeologists of now’, this studio invites dissertation proposals which take any such piece(s) of communication and attempt to analyse what they say about our culture and their intended audience.

For example, Saga Cruise holidays for ‘the mature person’ used a TV ad which used Iggy Pop’s song Lust For Life – a song which extols the virtue of ‘liquor and drug-fuelled hedonism’ on its soundtrack – creating what Peter Woolen called ‘a conceptual mismatch’ with the ad’s images of the cruise ship and senior citizens.

If you took this as a starting point you would have a rich field – advertising to ‘the old’;  conceptual mismatches, TV advertising semiotics, the use of pop songs in advertising, ‘the grey pound’ and leisure time, how the elderly are portrayed in the media (if at all), Iggy Pop’s image as used in advertising; medication and the elderly etc.

First seven weeks of study

  • Week 1: Introduction seminar and talk  + discussion of proposals
  • Week 2: Paragraphology/The Line 1 – talk + practical session on working with text
  • Week 3: De-coding image/text & sound 1 – talk + practical session
  • Week 4: Relevant trip/visit/ activity
  • Week 5: Paragraphology/The Line 2 – talk + practical session on working with text
  • Week 6: De-coding image /text and sound 2 talk + practical session
  • Week 7: Deconstructing image/text/sound-presentations by students

Contact Tutor Matthew Hobson

Reading List

  • 1. Michel Chion, Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen (Columbia University Press, 1994)
  • 2. The Spoken Image: photography and language, ed. by Clive Scott (Reaktion Books, 1999)
  • 3. Roland Barthes, The Eiffel Tower and other mythologies (University of California Press, 1997)
  • 4. Pop Fiction: The Song In Cinema, ed. Matthew Caley and Steve Lannin (Intellect Press, 2005)
  • 5. Judith Williamson, Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising (Marion Boyars, 2010)