Sunday, 21 March 2010

Lecture Notes - (Art) The Mass Media and Society

(Art) The Mass Media and Society

Marshall Mcluhan - printing media theorist.
"Age of print" 1450
First machine to let us print letters - produce in more mass available to more people - Modern alternative is the e-book.

Computer Media

The way we read has changed because of:
  • Hypernet - hypertext.
  • Hypermedia, media, pics, sounds.
Hypermedia as a term is often used interchangeably with the term multimedia, (meaning many forms) however, it specifically means the practice of interlinking media texts on an online document, which might involve passage to either visual, audio, computer programme or other (written text). The argument goes that hypermedia will encourage a new kinds of literacy. This kind of textual reading is reckoned on being exciting and rewarding. Claims are made that the new kind of electronic reading empowers its readers, who can take a more active role in the practice of reading than formally available from the printed page. The user can select the pace depth with which he/she wishes to approach the electronic text. However, hazards such as 'being lost in hyperspace' and accepting the textual route as 'all encompassing' are apparent.

The Role of Hypermedia - If hypermedia is to be taken as characterising a new form of literacy appropriate to a 'post-print' era then we need to question what manner of transformation in society will it herald, for whose benefit and at what cost.

Mass media - Modern systems of communication and distribution, supplied by relatively small groups of cultural producers, but directed towards large numbers of consumers.


Negative criticism of mass media:
  1. Superficial, uncritical, trivial.
  2. Viewing figures to measure success.
  3. Audience is dispersed.
  4. Audience is disempowered.
  5. Encourages the Status Quo (conservative).
  6. Encourages apathy.
  7. Power held by the few motivated by profit or social control (propaganda).
  8. Bland, escapist and standardised.
  9. Encourages escapism, seen as a drug which anaethetises us.
Positive criticism of the mass media:
  1. Not all mass media is of low quality.
  2. Social problems and injustices are discussed the the media.
  3. Creativity can be a feature of mass media.
  4. Transmission of high art material reaches a broader audience.
  5. Democratic potential.
John A. Walker - Art in the age of the mass media.
"Art can only exist if it is above the society it is produced in".

Richard Hamilton - Just what is it that makes today's homes so different.


Warhol 1962 - Green coca cola bottles


Warhol 1962 - Marilyns - Kitch colours. Production of celebrity glamour masks.

Repetition of images desensitises us


Warhol 1963 - Ambulance Disaster

Art styles claimed to companies or sectors of society - Loreal, Rolling Stones, Franz Ferdinand.

Marcus Harvey 1995 Myra Hinley mass murderer public photograph. Handprints from kids make to the picture relating to murdered children.



  • New media are changing the way we consume and read text and image.
  • Theorists of the mass media have different viewpoints seeing it either as - negative and a threat or positive pleasurable and democratic.

No comments:

Post a Comment