Thursday, March 26, 2009


Here's my thesaurus - sorry for posting it so late.

the material is canvas fabric and the words are with marker.  i asked the person who knows me best, my twin sister, to do a word web of me. with some of my additions, here is what we came up with.

[the top two photos are enlargements]

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More Male Gaze

I don’t know where to start. I think I’ll just talk. In list form? Here goes.

1. I read the article that Jill noted, the essay by Laura Mulvey. As Jill mentioned, part of the essay claims that “as viewers, we are almost always forced to identify with the "male gaze"--the hero.” This is how Mulvey puts it. I find it interesting:

According to the principles of the ruling ideology and the psychical structures that back it up, the male figure cannot bear the burden of sexual objectification. Man is reluctant to gaze at his exhibitionist like. Hence the split between spectacle and narrative supports the man's role as the active one of forwarding the story, making things happen. The man controls the film phantasy and also emerges as the representative of power in a further sense: as the bearer of the look of the spectator, transferring it behind the screen to neutralise the extra-diegetic tendencies represented by woman as spectacle. This is made possible through the processes set in motion by structuring the film around a main controlling figure with whom the spectator can identify. As the spectator identifies with the main male protagonist, he projects his look on to that of his like, his screen surrogate, so that the power of the male protagonist as he controls events coincides with the active power of the erotic look, both giving a satisfying sense of omnipotence.

Hm. Interesting that “man is reluctant to gaze at his exhibitionist like,” but females don’t seem to have issue with it. But this is psychoanalysis, so we accordingly learn to do so. ? Also in the essay is the statement, “There are circumstances in which looking itself is a source of pleasure, just as, in the reverse formation, there is pleasure in being looked at.” How very true this is. Perhaps the pleasure of being looked at is what started the whole ordeal. Our society is male dominant and has been from the beginning of time (original sin, woman at fault for the fall) but could this fault be seen as a power? Sure, the power of physicality, sexuality, but is it a bad thing?

2. As Jill brings up at the end of her thoughts, Buber and Levinas “both suggest that as human beings, we are capable of seeing ourselves seeing one another. And that would be a good kind of gazing.” Last year at the new Center for Interdisciplinary Arts there was a displayed project where we walked into a dark, curtained off room/space where a film showing different body parts moving, dancing almost, was projected on a screen. At the front of the room was a camera unseen by the viewers, and outside of the room/space was another screen displaying the room as seen by the camera. So the project was set up to watch people watching people. It was pretty interesting. I spent 15 or so minutes in the room watching the projected film, not knowing that others were watching me. When I left the room I realized the real intent of the project. I watched the viewers for a while, noticing dominantly the blank stare that most of the viewers had. Sometimes the film would expose a body part or movement that made two friends joke with each other, made someone tilt their head a little, or made people smile. Being watched unaware kept their reactions, their gaze, perhaps, very unguarded. Hm..

3. As Colin, the male photographer I originally posted, said, “Who is on top? The one who looks or the one being looked upon?” This makes me think about my own eye contact. When I meet eyes with a male, I usually look away somewhat quickly, feeling odd. If the guy was cute I’ll look at him again, sometimes to be met with a second glance from his direction. And we all know (or know of) the intense TrIpLe TaKe?!? By looking at someone for the second or third time, I am giving him permission to look at me, right? It’s only fair? I’m encouraging the mutual lookage, if you will. By not looking back a second time (or at least not being caught doing so) I don’t give that permission. Am I on top? Do I give him power or take it away by returning a gaze? I think so. In advertising, I suppose the model/photographed woman gives permission to be shot and published, but isn’t she usually representing a group of women? Is the model giving the viewer permission to look upon all women the way he/she is looking at that advertisement?

4. Does talking about this male gaze encourage/feed it? Women might project the male gaze on innocent passersby and feel objectified by simple eye contact. But men might become more aware of it and try to be less a part of it? Jordan might argue that to not talk about it is just another way of denying its presence and that we will never work through it if we ignore it. I personally do not think about the male gaze very often as I go about my daily routine. I don’t assume that passing males are objectifying me. They might be looking at me, but I look at them. I’m just curious. And looking at people is fun. If they Are objectifying me but I assume they are not, does it matter that they are? I know I know, individual denial of the gaze is no way to get rid of it, but I really do feel that we feed the fire by discussing it. Does that opinion make the length of this comment ironic? Yes.

5. Kara Walker was 13 years old when her father moved his family from California to Georgia. “The girl who had tripped through life without any thought of racism now encountered a community carved into black and white. Experiences of racism, both pointed and casual, caused her to begin questioning her identity.” (Thanks Marcia, for turning me onto this article on Kara.) I suppose this resolves my question above. Just because a person isn’t exposed to/aware of the male gaze doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and/or we can’t kill it by ignoring it.

6. So what? Can we expose it for what it is brutally and explicitly as Kara Walker did with racism and slavery? What would that be? Pornography? Pornography is too successful, too widely viewed, to be used as an eye opener. Unless we threw it in somewhere jaw-dropping?

7. Male dominance is built into our society, even our language. “Mankind,” “fireman,” “mailman,” the dominant use of “he” over “she,” and further, words like “master” and “mistress.” He is the dog’s master, she the dog’s …mistress? Hm. Male dominance will not be removed unless we destroy ourselves and start over with a new language and perhaps a female god :)

8. Finally, a small comment on Jill’s statement, “perhaps the real struggle is a psychic one.” Definitely. I don’t regularly think about the male gaze. Then again, I don’t watch television, I don’t read magazines, and I don’t know a thing about Hollywood. I feel that I rightfully demand the respect of men and women alike simply by dressing myself reasonably and by having confidence in the way I carry myself. I don’t walk around flaunting the female form as eye candy, but I certainly don’t walk around with a scowl, threatening all eyes that glance my way. And yes, this is probably a global issue more than anything, but in application to my personal life I simply choose not to assume the worst. Maybe I do so mistakenly, but I generally feel comfortable and safe by doing so.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Information about 2nd half of semester

The assignments with the due dates and weekly assignment schedule.

And the schedule of classes. (well except for the class on video art????)

Peter Stempel -- this thursday

Peter will talk about the work he does in Southern Utah, his work as a sculptor and video artist and what creativity means to him.

Two sites with Peter info: -- his architectural firm -- one of his sculptures

Davey's Visual Thesaurus

Simple, but I like it. It's based out of a graduation speech I submitted.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Visual Thesaurus - AJ

Here is my visual thesaurus.....
It's a little hard to navigate but you can look through it by going to the the upper right hand corner and clicking the arrows through the pictures....


So about the visual thesaurus.....
how exactly are we presenting it?
Are we showing them all in class or just handing them in?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Venessa Beecroft VB65

Thursday, March 12, 2009


We've talked a little about video art in class, and hopefully we get to finish, but in the meantime I found this little gem by a man named Reza Dolatabadi . It's a movie made up of 6000 individual paintings. The final piece took over two years to create, and I've gotta say it was time well spent.

Khoda from Reza Dolatabadi on Vimeo.

here is some music?

Mirror/Dash (I thought of how this becomes music because of John Cage and ..... )

Mirror/Dash plays Dan Graham: Beyond from MOCA on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

looking forward -- after tomorrow

Just a little information -- which is subject to change (ah time??!!! we just need more -- so much out there that is so wonderful and you would love....)

thoughts on the gaze...

hello to all,

i'm new to this blog. professor watson invited me to join. so let me introduce myself. my name is jill dawsey and i'm the curator of modern and contemporary art at the UMFA on campus.

i have to say that's it's been some time since i've encountered such an engaged and intelligent discussion on this issue of the gaze. jessica, i think that BOTH of your friends are right.

maybe this has already been discussed in class, but i think it's important to have an understanding of where this term "male gaze" comes from. "gaze," as your friend suggests, is a historical term, and quite different from "spectatorship" or "beholding," for example. gaze implies that someone in particular is being gazed at.

but the issue of the "male gaze" (and do forgive me if you know this already) gained popularity in the late 1970s, in the wake of film theorist Laura Mulvey's important (canonical, even) essay entitled "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema." you can wiki it, but the upshot is that (keep in mind she is talking about classic hollywood cinema) as viewers, we are almost always forced to identify with the "male gaze"--the hero (think john wayne, think harrison ford, even) who moves the narrative forward--and the images are all shot from his viewpoint, and the women in the picture serve as moments for pausing, for beauty, for...objectification. their bodies are fragmented by the editing, and what's worse, for Mulvey, is that it's a matter of either being a good mother or a femme fetale. don't be put off by her psychoanalytical approach: it was the 70s, and Freud was useful for feminists even if he wasn't one himself. what he suggested is that we *learn* how to be sexual creatures, so there is a readymade critique of essentialism or biological determinism.

since 1975, there have been HEATED debates about the so-called "male gaze." what about gay men?, as your male friend, jessica, rightly points out. don't viewers identify with images and characters in their own eccentric, idiosyncratic ways? why else would judy garland be so popular (actually, she is amazing, regardlesss of one's sexual orientation.) what about lesbians? there is agood article on the lesbian gaze, but i will have to look it up. let me know if you are interested in further reading.

and yet, the problem persists. as far as i am concerned, if you are born white and male in this society, you can be the nicest, most empathetic person in the world, but you automatically have more power than everyone else. unless, maybe, you are really poor. things may be changing (we'll see...). but white men still have "the phallus" (which is a Lacanian term, and not at all the same as having a penis. it means having power.)

jessica, your female friend suggests that women participate in their own objectification. indeed we do (straight women, but maybe gay women too). we are cultural creatures. over the holidays i was watching television with my mother (i don't get cable; she does) and this show on the E channel or something comes on: "The Girls Next Door." the playboy girls who live with Hugh Hefner (talk about patriarchy!). and my mother, despite being the religious lady that she is, had already seen the show, and exclaimed to me: "one of them has a master's degree in psychology! why is she doing this?" and i said: "mom, you think women get rewarded and affirmed more in our society for doing psychology or for having big boobs? it's the latter."

women have to fight a double-consciousness. laws have been changed, and certain advances have been made, but perhaps the real struggle is a psychic one.

this is not to say that women are the only ones who struggle with objectification. the great psychoanalist and colonial theorist Franz Fanon (DO wiki him) once described "the crushing objecthood" that he experienced when a white child in a market called out something to the effect of, look mother! a negro! if that's isn't objectification, i don't know what is.

but there are other ways in which we are all turned into objects. we sell ourselves, we sell our labor. artists, if they are lucky, have a more creative relationship to their lives and to other people. but most of us show up, we clock in, we put in our time, and it all seems natural. Marx, for one, would have it otherwise.

but to return to the gaze. i like the ideas of Martin Buber and Emmanuel Levinas, who both suggest that as human beings, we are capable of seeing ourselves seeing one another. and that would be a good kind of gazing.

thanks for listening to my thoughts.

very best,

Male Gaze, Objectification

In the Art department as of late, specifically in the photography side of town, there has been a debate, pretty heated at times (so I've heard) about advertising, the objectification of women, and the "male gaze." [five commas in one sentence. Beat that.] Anna and Doug touched on the whole idea briefly between presentations last week, but the subject was hardly delved into. Doug wanted to talk about the word objectification and how it is used. He said to me yesterday that he feels the word is used incorrectly too often. If you read this, Doug, would you expound on that?

I have a two friends, both in photography, with differing opinions on the matter. The first bit is written by the female photographer, the second my the male. The photos are (or are similar to) a couple advertisements mentioned in the first piece.
I don't know what I think of the matter yet. Thoughts? Opinions? Reactions? Anything?

"While reading “Ways of Seeing” I was able to relate to the section on tackling they way men and women see one another and themselves. Berger implies men are the surveyors and women are the surveyed, and in turn women must survey themselves are men survey them. In my mind I was saying, “yes, yes, yes” to the small text and obvious script of what I had always known to be true, only this time it was worded so well right in front of me. I had constant flashes of advertisements, movies, magazines, television, and personal history going through my head, validating Berger’s words.

I purchased three magazines for this assignment and had expectations from each to further convince me of what I knew to be true, which they did; however, I was discovered other things in addition. Sure enough there were advertisements of scantily clad women, with the booties puckered, backs arched and waiting for the male gaze to ravish their bodies. It was apparent the sex appeal of this beautiful women was selling the product, pushing men to the outskirts of their imagination, and then it hit me, this was a magazine is directed toward women. This woman suddenly had her back arched and legs slightly apart for me, demonstrating the sex appeal I could have if I was dressed as she was dressed, or carried the purse displayed in foreground. I unexpectedly felt as accountable as the male viewer I had been resenting for endorsing this behavior. This woman is beautiful; however, she is no longer a woman, but a commodity to both males and females.

Advertisers know their audience, and they try to build a lifestyle their audience would accept. Women want to be desired, but this does not mean they want to give up their identity in the process. The previous advertisement discussed demonstrates a woman as a sexual object through the male gaze, but in turn women have to view this woman as an object as well because we have to observe not only ourselves through their eyes but other woman as well. Being aware of this forces women to make a choice, to be viewed as a merely a sexual object or insist that men see more. One add by Banana Republic shows a beautiful female playing the piano, giving the viewer more information than just a beautiful face, giving us a glimpse of her soul, and it is difficult to immediately defile someone when you are aware they are a person.

The thing that surprised me, was the objectification of men as well, they are put on the same pages as woman and are there as a visual stimulant, providing sex appeal for the product once again. Men are displayed for feminine desire as well; however, we do not need to see a man with his shirt off to know he is attractive. A little scruff, and hands tucked nonchalantly in his pockets is enough for the female viewer. The male’s magazine also had more text and political references then than the female magazines did."

"This Male Gaze has been quite the topic as of late. But never in my life has it been such an annoying topic. I agree that there is a method in advertising and media that objectifies women, but does it not also objectify men? The term Male Gaze is a feminist term but the Gaze is a historical term. We are talking about interactive voyeurism. If someone is looking at you isn’t it your reaction to see if they are sexually, mentally, physically, or any other way compatible with you, or you with them. Who is on top? The one who looks or the one being looked upon?

If you are being looked at as an object and not as subject you are being objectified. But if you are in power you are capable to objectify everything, this is not a one sided ordeal, but it is if only looking through a feminist lens. In modern times, which I consider a women’s world, I am objectified when the term male gaze is used, because I am being stripped of my human being and being told that because I am male, I am objectifying women, because it applies to heterosexual males and not to homosexual men gazing men or homosexual women's gaze on other women.

This term is not very objective, not in the least bit. Why should I have to take on the history of men just because I was born a man? Do I objectify women from just being male, or being attracted to women? It is of great value to know that the Gaze exists but to claim that the male gaze is the only gaze in existence, or only the one topic worthy gaze, seems strange and negates the whole purpose of making men, women and all kinds of people equals.

I am a man who was raised by a single mother, not knowing my father until the age of eleven, my stepfather never seemed to know or understand men, or himself (he was the only son of an abusive father with four sisters), I have surrounded myself by women, not because of my sexual prowess or need for nurturing, but because I am more compatible with them than I am with any other man. I do not understand MEN or masculinity. I do not understand myself. I do not know what MALE is, other than it means I have a dick and balls.
We shouldn’t be talking about the outward gaze but the inner gaze. Look inside yourself. Look inside of others. Is there a way to objectify the person inside the body?"

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Monday, March 9, 2009


Sorry I haven't put this up sooner.

Here is the order for tomorrow, Tuesday. We will have a tech person there (in 109, the auditorium in the new Humanities building -- or Carol Tanner Irish Humanities Bldg.) Evidently this is not a mac auditorium but I will bring my computer. Also if you can bring flash drives and dvds, that will help.

Oh -- it's going to be great!!!! I can't wait to see what is coming...

1) Anna 2) AJ 3) Anisa 4) Hannah 5) Jessica

Then on Thursday, back our classroom:

1) Mercedes 2) Heidi 3) Maggie 4) Jeffrey 5) Anisa

And I needn't remind you of what to read for tomorrow, right?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Preview of the Project

So I'm in the cutting room right now editing for the movie and I figured that I would post some pictures from the project...

Hannah's paper

drip drip Jackson Pollock.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


First of all Kudos to all of you who have presented so far!!! You have all shown your "honorable" talents, your keen and awakened creative powers, your remarkable intelligence and great ability for fun! I look forward to the rest of the presentations....which gets me rapidly to the next point. Timing isn't everything. It is so exciting to see everyone so interested and engaged in conversation around the different presentations. I hate to dampen this enthusiasm and curiosity in any way...but now we must keep to a schedule so that no one need worry about their presentation when spring break arrives (soon!). I promise I will take notes so that we can talk about each presentation -- without any time pressures -- when we return. For now, I ask that each of you who have not yet presented give me a realistic estimate of your presentation time.

I want to especially apologize to Mercedes for not getting to her presentation today.
Mercedes -- Do you want to present in the auditorium or would you rather present in the classroom? It is up to you. Anna is fine presenting either place.

On Tuesday the presentation order will be: Anisa, Hannah, Jessica and AJ'. And either Anna or Mercedes will also present. That is up to you Mercedes.
I will try to get a technician to help us on Tuesday but if you are presenting that day, you should check out the equipment or be prepared with presentation alternatives.

On Thursday, either Anna or Mercedes will present first followed by Heidi, Maggie and Jeffrey.

Thanks for staying longer today to all (and especially to Jeffrey). You are all terrific.

I forgot to give you an article I have on Robin Rhodes. Remind me on Tuesday. And same for you Doug -- I brought a book for you. Jeffery -- If I can help with the puppets, please let me know. I love making them -- partially because they are difficult.

Heidi's paper is here. (Thanks to Jeremiah's assistance.) Hannah -- my e-mail is

Converting Heidi's paper.


I was able to convert your paper and I emailed a copy to Anne, you may want to get with her to verify that it is all there.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Anna and Nan Goldin

My scanner is broken. I will copy the paper and bring it to class tomorrow. Ah technology.

Calley's paper

Sorry I didn't get it here sooner. The New Weird.


Make sure you take time to read the papers written by Calley, Jeremiah, Mercedes, and Anna. And if you haven't read those by Davey, Kelle, Marcia and Ernest, do that too. Also take 10 minutes and write about the presentations we saw yesterday...thinking about the object in/as art...or whatever crosses your mind that is brilliant and (to use words from AJ) dazzling, or whatever!!!!!

I will get Anna's paper on Nan Goldin up later tonight. Sorry I can't get it to you sooner.

What is art?

I heard an awesome quote on what art is, I know we were having this conversation and I thought that this was pretty good.
"Art is something that exists only for itself, it has no other useful purpose"

Now I'm not saying that art isn't useful but I think this quote makes a lot of sense. Art is made just to be art; to entertain, dazzle, whatever but not necessarily a practical reason.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009