Between consumption on visual culture and production of ‘desires’
The contemporary theory of visual society shows that visual images (digital and analog forms) are not completely ‘free’ and play a primary role in trade within modern societies. Today, it seems that art is expected to have (thick) financial value to supply the art market. By this logic, visual discourses have a primary role in the functioning of commercial strategies of the ads. Images take a central role in visual commodity society (culture) and its artistic ‘value’ depends on the constant production of goods, on behalf of their ‘function’. Such visuals advertising images are central to the construction of cultural ideas, lifestyle, images of ourself, daily life culture, celebrity, glamor. Marita Sturken and and Lisa Cartwright in Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture (2005) say that marketing is always the constructed image of things that are desirable for life as it should be. Hence, the contemporary discourse of visual displays necessary social values and ideologies of what it means ,,beautiful life’’ which is a fundamental shifted paradigm in order to invite the viewers i.e. consumers to put themselves within the world of advertising and marketing. Especially today, the functioning of the world is conceived and depends on the virtual abstraction, which is potentially an idea for the subject that should not be situated in the present, but in the imagined future. This idea promises consumers that the ads show a future to the subjects they should have, their lifestyle in which they should participate. Advertising/ad project always speaks the language of the future on behalf of the global communication. We are faced with the context of our daily life: in newspapers, magazines, television, movies, billboards, public transportation, clothing, fashion, World Wide Web (www). Advertisements indicate strategies with a wide range of voices. Companies create ads on behalf of designing visual corporation identities, products, services. In today’s complex world of media reality the ads are constantly ‘updated’ in order to increase public attention to customers/consumers. In the coherent world of advertising the images can be presented as science, art, industry, documentation or personal memories.
In fact, the ad is a basic component in consumer society and capitalism, today (in a manner of capitalism as an economic system in which investment and ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange of material goods – are primarily in the hands of individuals and corporations). The ad is one of the primary means for exchanging the goods. Consumerism (consumer society) shows that the subject is constantly confronted by changing the terms of spending with the development of mass production and urban centers (for example, the streets in capitals, internet, facebook, twitter, myspace, electronic commerce, e-bay, window shopping – become wide forums for advertising). The need for visual consumption is an important part of the consumer ideology strategies. In humanities, like many other humanistic practices, ad industry, as mass art, includes dichotomy as: valuable art (beautiful/good) and worthless (ugly/bad) art. Philosophical aspect signifies advertising industry that requires initial identification, and then – comment. The purpose is to indicate something about the nature of comprehension (in opposition to its social properties). I intend to reject the view that the difference between high and mass culture is arbitrary. It is a convention that is articulated in the interest of the views of social and economic power. In this sense, advertisements could be explained in a way which are produced / reproduced and circulates through the mass media. If ads are mass/light art then, the ease way with which it is consumed is not failure but a designed element that is based on the mass function of art as an instrument for addressing ‘mass audiences’.
Senka Anastasova, PhD in Philosophy & Aesthetics