A manifesto for the visual image
A rough guide for supporting activists.
Using post-grad, UCLAN research into the Anthropocene and a project supporting the North Lancashire Green Party, I wanted to produce a aide-memoire: a strong framework for producing quality media outcomes based upon critical realism post Sekula.
Working with anthropolgy and ethnographic techniques, I hope to archive multimedia, visual content for Manchester's People's Museum.
Supporting visual images illustrating will be uploaded later for you to review:
“What is to be done?”
Be active and explicitly engaged in projects that provide positive alternatives to hegemonic neoliberal globalization.
Critical realism may be used to educate, inform and raise awareness with reflective visual media.
A commitment to practical social action enables a better understanding of the world.
Actively move from, ‘this is what’s here,’ to a new position of, ‘this what we should do’: Is to ought.
Show how to move from the present, the here and now, the world as it is, to a vision of a better future.
Embed the work in a cognitive process that helps audiences bring the work to life.
The use of critical realism shows reality existing at a number of different, interactive and evolving systems.
Stop passive viewing and makes demands on audiences.
Agency is achieved through subverting capitalist imagery.
The process of making and the position taken by the artist in regards to the production conventions of the time is the key feature.
Some artists simply use their work to make a political statement.
Through subversion, a viewer has the opportunity to review, question and think of alternatives.
What ever a persons values, the essence is to make an impact whatever their political or intellectual agency.
Artists, audiences and the viewer become part of the discourse.
Critical realism has great potential to provide alternative views to consumerism, simulacra media.
Reject the commodification and visual techniques of neo-liberal market professional art and photography.
Use narrative in film and photography to emphasize experience and involvement. This counters description and spectatorial distance.
Critical realism’s raison d'être influences perceptions on the totality of issues. Existing reality is penetrated and attacked with other options. The mind and imagination is educated with alternatives.
Visual images need to illustrate tensions and oppositions to provoke reflection. To be effective these should be part of a powerful social, economic, political or technological trend.
Use images to exemplify the gap between what is and what may be possible: the existing state compared to the evolved, transformation new human social relations.
Critical realism’s imperative involves exploring the dialectics of the materiality in the image against the materialism of our social existence.
Use the image to suppress:
- The static moment.
- Move this from its dialogical social origins and create a
- Reflective third meaning.
Overcome the ‘stillness’ of images. Avoid artificial montage by demanding audience action to thought and consideration. Ask questions about the limitations of reification by educating about alternatives.
Critical realism moves away from the limitations of aesthetic beauty. Think about creating reflectivity. Consider counter-intuitive techniques to modern art and film theory.
Use literal and metaphoric speech acts, diagrams, captions, essays, multimedia, infographics, social media and hotlinks to audio, photography and video narratives.
There is a pervasive need to powerfully facilitate reflection, review and create new insights in social documentaries.
The filmmaker and photographer, as social actors, may with care, positively use life-world images to convey new insights.
Naturalism inhibits and conflicts with realism.
Overcome the inertia of everyday life. Think and act to overcome and move away from the constraints of the market. Do not be restricted. Can you be a social agent using the visual image to act upon the world for change?
An event or action is part of a totality.
When are words more than just words? When they actually do something! Linguists and philosophers use this term to refer to words that have the force of action -- such as warning, requesting, or challenging -- rather than simply making an observation.
Speech act = act, human activity, human action, deed
Use language to initiate activity, engagement and reflection.
Create links between art, the visual image and politics.
Move away from the structured reified historic constraints of our existing society.
What is our alternative to the totality of advanced neo liberalism’s vice like grip on media?
Militant citizens that capture the zeitgeist of historic social processes have an important role in creating the conditions for transition.
Do not be stifled or limited by the impoverished rhetoric of your historical time and place.
Connect the concrete with the abstract.
Through social agency create a better world.
Take action to move forward to a better future.
Exemplars for consideration?
Green Party Scotland
Ode to Nature