Meninas" --major arguments (from Representation pp. 58-60)
The painting tells us something
about how representation and the subject work.
Representation is not reflection.
Although painting is "visible,"
its meaning is as much constructed around what you can't see as what
A number of substitution or
displacement is at work in this painting. (e.g. The King and the
Our look ...follows the relationships
of looking as represented in the picture. ..So the spectator (who
is also 'subjected' to the discourse of the painting) is doing two kinds
Meaning is therefore constructed
in the dialogue between the painting and the spectator.
Different subject positions
in the paintings
Looking at the painting from
the position outside, in front of, the picture.
looking out of the scene, by
identifying with the looking being done by the figures in the painting.
Projecting ourselves into the subjects of the painting help us as spectators
to see, to 'make sense' of it.
that of the spectator--identifying
with the Sovereign or the infanta or the painter?
of the painter inside the painting
of the King and the Queen inside
the painting and outside
Ways of Seeing
by John Bergr -- Major Arguments in Chap 1:
Major Arguments in Chap 2:
With the technologies of reproduction,
traditional oil paintings are deprived
of their original "sacred" contexts
(e.g. church, museum).
Massive reproduction of art
work can lead to its re-contextualization. Meaning
thus can be transmitted and distorted.
Paintings are open to manipulation
and re-interpretation especially because they are still and silent.
contemporary "aura" of traditional
art work--its authenticity=its market value
paintings, or art work in general,
should be treated as words (or signs), but not holy relics.
nudity is a sign
The nude in traditional oil
paintings either look at "us" (the spectator-owners in the past) or look
at the mirror
The nude shows signs of submissiveness
(e.g. being languid, passive and thus available).
NY: Harvester, 1991.
1: Feminist Critique:
a radical rereading of canonical and popular texts which exposed their
sexism, misogyny and pornography, and frequently laid explicit blame on
their authors/producers. (3)
(e.g. 1. Kate Millet's
Sexual Politics (1969) and
2. John Berger's Ways of Seeing.)
Reading Strategies 2:
The practice of reading texts according to their 'gaps' and 'absences'
for contradictions or the textual unconscious.
(e.g. 1. Pierre Marcherey's
cracked mirror model--"The text...according to Macherey's metaphorical
model is a cracked surface, discontinuous both with the 'outside world'
and with itself; a site of 'contradictory expressions,' of eloquent faps
and silences' (10).)
Reading Strategies 3:
viewers can take pleasure in images that are ostensibly negative ('ideologically
unsound') (p. 16)
(e.g. 2 Griselda
Pollock on Rossetti: love vs. fear and Othering of PR women
"she finds that the paintings
betray a fear and anxiety about women peculiar to the art
of the late nineteenth century: aa castration complex that, in its effort
to control the 'threat', sought to make women increasingly non-specific,
two-dimensional, rhetorical: 'These were not faces, not portraits, but
fantasy'(p. 122). It is significant that in this analysis Pollock
has effectively broken through the rules of production and consumption
..." (14) ... "'[Astarte Syriaca] raises to a visible level the pressures
that motivated and shaped the project of 'Rossetti'--the negotiation of
masculine sexuality in an order in which woman is the sign, not of woman,
but of that Other in whose mirror masculinity must define itself
Why do women take pleasure
in images of themselves? --1. Transvestism (or double identification),
Where women viewers ought to
feel alienated and indignant, they are constantly seduced (18). --the female
spectator being seduced into viewing images of women through men's eyes.
to Simone de Beauvoir's reading of Freud in
The Second Sex, narcissism,
like lesbianism, is a psychic phase that all girls must pass through on
the road to womanhood. [For Beauvoir, narcissism is dangerous and
psychotic if it persists into adulthood.] ...recent feminists have searched
for a more positive and enabling interpretation of narcissism.
e.g. Rosemary Betterton
"How do women look?: The female nude in the work of Suzanne Valadon"
the narcissistic reflex
may be celebrated as a positive sign of female difference; a different
way of looking....
Women need and desire
other women to compensate for what they lack themselves. Women
need and desire images of other women for the same reasons.
between women(Jackie Stacey)--something far more complex than either simple
sexual desire for, or narcissistic identification with, a female other.
"[Fascination] is a desire to see, to know and to become like an idealised
feminine other, in a context where the difference between the two women
is repeatedly re-established." (22)
The position of
female spectator of traditional Hollywood film:
passive/female + active/male, masculinisation,
masochism, marginality and what else?
Laura Mulvey the active/male vs. passive/female
(1975 essay) e
- text (remote)
Men consciously and unconsciously
control the production and reception of film, creating images that satisfy
their needs and unconscious desires. cinema uses the images of woman to
dissipate male castration fears by forms of voyeurism, containing aspects
of sadism and fetishism.
"In their traditional exhibitionist
role women are simultaneously looked at and displayed, with their appearance
coded for strong visual and erotic impact so that they can be said to connote
male viewers in the audience
identify with the male protagonist on the screen, the character who controls
both events and "the look"
1. voyeuristic-scopophilic pleasure
--using another person as
an object of sexual stimulation through sight
2. fetishistic-scopophilic pleasure
the position of the spectator
in the cinema is blatantly one of repression of their exhibitionism and
projection of the repressed desire onto the performer.
Woman as representation signifies
castration, inducing voyeuristic or fetishistic mechanisms to circumvent
Mary Ann Doane, et al.
Mulvey's 1981 revision: --develope
a more mobile position for women (Cf. 394 "Desperately Seeking Difference"
Jackie Stacey from Visual Culture: the Reader)
Women are forced to oscillate
between masculine and feminine identifications
In order to identify with active
desire, the female spectator must assume an (uncomfortably) masculine position:
'the female spactator's phantasy of masculinisation is alwys to some extent
at cross purposes with itself, restless in its transvestite clothes.'
Bellour (as discussed by Stacey)--women
as complete victim, taking a masochistic position.
Spectatorship revolves around questions
of proximity and distance. This is especially problematic for the female
spectator as she is the
image, the object to be viewed. Thus, women are given two options:
Jackie Stacey --
Rich, B. Ruby--She argued
that women's viewing experience under patriarchy is always dialectical,
a process of absorbing and reprocessing (often resisting) what emanates
from the screen.
p. 391 use a detailed
textual analysis to demonstrate that different gendered spectator positions
are produced by the film text, contradicting the unified masculine model
accept a theory of the masculinisation
of the spectator at a textual level, but argue that spectators being different
subjectivities to the film acording to sexual difference, and therefore
respond differently to the visual pleasure offered in the text.
which would allow for multiple identificatory positions, which could occur
either successively or simultaneously.
voyeurism is thematized. audiences punished for their illicit voyeuristic
--not only women are
objects of male voyeuristic gaze, they are also recepients of most of the
punishment. e.g. Marion's sightless eye; Marion's sister confront the corpse,
the focus on the eye sockets of the female corpse, Mother is aware of being
stared at --sexual asymmetry in desire and its punishment
Mary Ann Doane --
1982 women being totally other to patriarchy;
(Stacey 392) . . . the
split between seeing and knowing [women's lack], which enables the boy
to disown the difference which is necessary for fetishism, does not occur
--excess of femininity--
they can masochistically overidentify
with female images on the screen (becoming overly involved--a frequent
female response to melodrama),
or they can narcissistically
become their own image of desire.--in assuming the image in the most radical
Joan Rivere "Womanliness
...could be assumed and worn as a mask, both to hide the possession of
masculinity and to avert the reprisals expected if she was found to possess
it...The masquerade, in flaunting femininity, holds it at a distance."
The fact of this distance in part solves the problem of women's overidentification
and transvestism. The masquerade...enables viewers to critique the socially
constructed role of the feminine. In film, however, the masquerade often
brings itw own punishment--e.g. femme fatale in film noir, or any woman
who attempts to take over the masculine activity of "looking."
Spectatorial desire, in contemporary
film theory, is generally delinated as either voyeurism or fetishism, as
precisely a pleasure in seeing what is prohibited in relation to the female
body. The image ochetrates a gaze, a limit, and its pleasurable transgression.
The woman's beauty, her very desirability, becomes a function of certain
practices of imaging--framing, lighting, camera movement, angle. (43)
...a tendency to view the
female spectator as the site of an oscillation between a feminine position
and a masculine position, invoking the metaphor of the transvestite. Given
the structure of cinematic narrative, the woman who identifies with the
female character must adopt a passive or masochistic position, while identification
with the active hero necessarily entails an acceptance of what Laura Mulvey
refers to as a certain "masculinization" of spectatorship. --masquerade
Masquerade doubles representation;
it is constituted by a hyperbolization of the accoutrements of femininity.
...By destabilizing the image, the masquerade confounds this masculine
structure of the look. It effects a defamiliarization of female iconography.
The effectivity of masquerade
lies precisely in its potential to manufacture a distance from the image,
to generate a problematic within which the image is manipulable, producible,
and readable by the woman.
Female Look -- denied
e.g. Women who wear glasses--e.g.
Betti Davis in Now Voyager
removing her glasses, from
spectator to spectacle
e.g. Un Regard Oblique
"The feminine presence in the
photograph, despite a diegetic centering of the female subject of the gaze,
is taken over by the picture as object. . . .The spectator's pleasure
is thus produced through the framing negation of the female gaze." (Doanne
Film Theory and Criticism 770)
The photograph displays insistently, in microcosm,
the structure of the cinematic inscription of a sexual differentiation
in modes of looking.
the woman's gaze, empty and
framed by shop window.
her gaze is encased by two poles
defining the masculine axis of vision:
the male gaze is centred, in
control--although it is exercised from the margin.
fetishitic representation of
the nude female body -- insures a masculinisation of the spectatorial position.
It's not sure what she is looking
at, herself or the painting.
"On the far left-hand side of
the photograph, behind the wall holding the painting of the nude, is the
barely detectable painting of a woman imaged differently, in darkness--out
of sight for the male, blocked by his fetish." (771)
Doane "Misrecognition and Identity"
three kinds of identification:
merging of the primary and secondary identification
identification with the representation
of a person; --secondary identification, presupposes a disavowel of the
two dimensionality of the image and an investment in the reality-status
of the diegesis.
identification of particular
objects, persons, or actions
primary identification (for
Metz) -- identifying himself as look.
Cindy Sherman's photographs "Untitled Film
(p. 16 Exploration in Film Theories)
Freud "'The ego is first and foremost a bodily ego; it is not merely a
surface entity, but is itself the projection of a surface.' In this
sense, it is not only the protagonist of a film who initiates the mechanisms
of identification, but any represented body on the screen--offering .
. .a recomfirmation of the spectator's own position and identity. "
function as mirror-masks
that reflect back at the viewer his own desire (and teh spectator posited
by this work is inivariably male)--specifically , the masculine desire
is to fix the woman in a stable and stabilizing identiy. But this is precisely
what Sherman's work denies: for while her photagraphs are always self-portraits,
in them the artist never appears to be the same...while Sherman may pose
as a pin-up, she still cannot be pinned down. (Anti-Aesthetics 75)
e.g. Kruger--both the gaze
and the art reify
the gaze--objectifies and