My PDF file for submission.
In my artefact, POWER & CONTROL, I undertook a piece on the lines between power and control and tried to convey a type of power relation and the reasoning of how that power relation was in place. I wanted the piece to be a take on abuse in relationships and how believing somebody’s excuses for their inexcusable behaviour is giving them power over you and allowing them to control you.
One incident of domestic violence is reported to the police every minute and on average, 2 women a week are killed by a current or former male partner. (Womensaid.org.uk, 2015) This is a disgustingly high statistic about disgusting actions by disgusting people. I was inspired to create this artefact through the desired outcome of creating an emotional piece that raised awareness and got a discussion going about domestic abuse.
I developed this idea through research of the topic and developing it, then placing that research into practice. “If you do your research well, you will reduce the risk of making a serious mistake.” (Rea and Irving, 1995). I tried my best to reduce the risk of making a serious mistake by doing diligent research. For example, I got ideas for the female character’s speech through first hand research of speaking to someone who had been abused and through researching domestic abuse websites. So, then when I developed this idea by personifying these words into actions in front of the camera, I had very low risk of creating bad dialogue. However, I could have perhaps improved it by using actual victims/perpetrators of abuse rather than actors. “the cv/direct technology/technique seems to offer an ultimate possibility of show-and-tell– of telling a real story…. rather than sitting back and creating it from remembered experience and imagination… cv/direct is closer to life than art. That it can seem unselected, formless, dull – a mere record” (Ellis and McLane, 2005). From this, we can see that it would have improved the piece if we told the real story from the real people rather than just recalling it through vessels in the form of actos for our research and imagination.
First hand, I spoke to a friend who had been a victim of domestic abuse. She spoke about how she tolerated his behaviour and constantly came up with excuses for his actions because of the low self esteem he had created within her by acting this way towards her. I tried to convey this as accurately as possible within the media product by giving the female character traits which showed she wasn’t very confident such as looking away and taking pauses in speech. Also, the dialogue I decided to use is all very similar to answers she gave to the questions I asked. (Aidan Reilly YEAR 3, 2015). I tried to place all the dialogue into situations in which they would be applicable. However, I perhaps should have spoke to her in more depth to understand the specific situations she faced in order to more accurately represent an abusive relationship.
I went on a few websites that specialised in domestic abuse. Specifically, I looked for what excuses and reasonings abusers, and people who were being abused, generally give and how abusers act. I visited verbalabusejournals.com (verbalabusejournals.com, 2015) and loveisrespect.org (loveisrespect.com, 2015). All the information on the websites was collated from the victims of abuse. This second hand information was very important and helpful in creating dialogue. This is because we can know that these words have legitimately been spoken in the situation I was creating. Therefore, I could develop the situations I was creating to be more accurate and powerful.
I would consider this media piece to fall under an unique avant-garde genre. “avant-garde wants to bring art down to the banal level of everyday life and popular culture.” (Graf and Scheunemann, 2007) I can see that my artefact sits in this genre as it brings the art of film and the love in relationships down to the banal level of everyday life through the grim subject matter and the use of the dark, evil, red lighting. However, I could have perhaps done this even better by deconstructing the film framework and having actual confrontation on screen midway through, breaking out of the interview structure and into “real life”.
My artefact has the form of representing reality. “Representing reality deals with meaning meanings and values, interpretations and purposes, not simply with signs and systems“. (Nichols, 1991) So, I had to think about the implications of what I was creating and how everyone would interpret what I was producing. I had to ensure that it was very black and white and have all the signs and systems pointing towards the same end goal. However, I could have perhaps represented reality better by adding in a slight bit of neorealism. “Neorealism not only provides a repertoire of techniques for giving the formal effect of representing a reality that evades the control of the filmmaker… it also lapses back toward the very conventions at an overall level that it avoids at a local one” (Nichols, 1991). By leaning towards neorealism, it could ground the film more towards the real world, thus becoming more of a believable piece that could greater elicit emotion in the audience.
I learnt a lot from the primary research of speaking to a person who had suffered domestic abuse. When talking to somebody who has experienced what you are trying to convey, it greatly helps in embodying that successfully on screen. I could speak to her in depth about her personal actions/experiences and put those directly into the character/story on screen. This helped in creating a more accurate and moving artefact, more so than I have been able to before without such hands-on research.
Aidan Reilly YEAR 3, (2015). Artefact 3 – Primary Research. [online] Available at: https://aidanreillyyr3.wordpress.com/2015/11/05/artefact-3-primary-research/ [Accessed 18 Nov. 2015].
Ellis, J. and McLane, B. (2005). A new history of documentary film. New York: Continuum. p.224.
Graf, A. and Scheunemann, D. (2007). Avant-garde film. Amsterdam: Rodopi. p.267.
Nichols, B. (1991). Representing reality. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. p.13. p169.
Rea, P. and Irving, D. (1995). Producing and directing the short film and video. Boston: Focal Press. p.106.
Verbal Abuse Journals: Domestic Violence & Abuse Exposed, (2015). Things Abusers Say And Do. [online] Available at: http://verbalabusejournals.com/about-abuse/things-abusers-say-do/ [Accessed 5 Nov. 2015].
Womensaid.org.uk, (2015). Statistics. [online] Available at: http://www.womensaid.org.uk/domestic_violence_topic.asp?section=0001000100220036 [Accessed 19 Nov. 2015].
http://www.loveisrespect.org, (2015). Apologies and Excuses –http://www.loveisrespect.org. [online] Available at:http://www.loveisrespect.org/content/apologies-and-excuses/ [Accessed 4 Nov. 2015].
Where did you find inspiration to progress yourself? –
Robert Wise once said: “My three Ps: passion, patience, perseverance. You have to do this if you’ve got to be a filmmaker“. (BrainyQuote, 2015) This quote is perhaps the most helpful piece of advice you could give to aspiring filmmakers as everything else comes second. As long as you have passion for your subject, patience to wait for success and perseverance for when success isn’t thrust upon you and you have to thrust yourself into success, you can make it. I have tried my utmost to apply this drive and work ethic in my life ever since I was inspired by this quote and it has definitely improved my progression as a media producer.
What skill or knowledge have you developed? –
Over the course of this module, I have found myself expanding my horizon by further indulging myself in more accurate and thorough research and development of my ideas. “If you do your research well, you will reduce the risk of making a serious mistake.” (Rea and Irving, 1995) By applying this idea I have found that when I produced a media product I had a more clear and concise idea of the subject I was conveying, how to produce a piece in the selected genre and how to effectively create emotion in the audience. This can be seen through the comedy in artefact 1 and the sadness in artefact 3.
How did you challenge yourself? –
Within the artefacts we have produced, I attempted to challenge myself by tackling new genres and trying my best to create emotion in the audience that would be watching them, whether that be empathy, sadness or laughter. For example, in artefact 3, I tried my hardest to engage my audience through empathy. “If we then empathize with that character, this activates the emotional experiences that correspond to the cognitive script”. (Smith, 2003) I created empathy by creating two binary opposites in the one who controls and the one being controlled. I tried to make this distinction as obvious and painstaking as possible to ensure the audience can follow the cognitive script.
What would you do better? –
First element I would improve in my work is greater preparation for shooting. For example, I would conduct more thorough locations scouting to ensure that I have the best location possible and that all the environment in the location has been accounted for, so that on the day of production, it all goes very smoothly. “The goal is to find places that represent the words on the page. You must find a balance between your aesthetic concerns and your physical limitations.” (Rea and Irving, 1995) For example, when shooting for artefact 1, whilst we wanted it to be shot in a house, we perhaps could have used a better suited house in terms of space for camera equipment. Or, we could have scouted the location more thoroughly and used more suited equipment.
How can you develop your work further? –
I would try and market my work to a wider audience. This could be done through more thorough research into viral marketing. “Marketing means promoting what is best about your work, giving buyers a reason to want to own it or rent it.” (Rea and Irving, 1995) For example, for artefact 3, I could have perhaps contacted domestic abuse websites/organisations to see if they wanted to display my work to help further show the signs and excuses of domestic abuse. Also, I could have perhaps further researched into how to engage an audience and what makes an item sharable and applied it to my work.
BrainyQuote, (2015). Robert Wise Quotes at BrainyQuote.com. [online] Available at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/robertwise187099.html [Accessed 14 Nov. 2015].
Rea, P. and Irving, D. (1995). Producing and directing the short film and video. Boston: Focal Press. p106, p141, p361,
Smith, G. (2003). Film structure and the emotion system. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p76.
Essay question: Choose a current issue/debate/controversy and analyze how it is informed and determined by power, spectacle and memory within contemporary mediated culture. (3,000-3,500 words)
Date of event:
3 May 2007 (Date of disappearance) – Investigation still ongoing.
- disappeared on the evening of 3 May 2007 from her bed in a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, a resort in the Algarve region of Portugal, sparking what one newspaper called “the most heavily reported missing-person case in modern history.”(Telegraph.co.uk, 2008)
- January 29, 2009, it is reported that nearly £2 million was raised for the official fund to find Madeleine in the first 10 months after she went missing, Companies House accounts show. (ITV News, 2014)
- May 12 – Mrs McCann publishes a book about her daughter’s disappearance on Madeleine’s eighth birthday. Scotland Yard launches a review of the case after a request from Home Secretary Theresa May supported by Prime Minister David Cameron. (ITV News, 2014)
The Spectacle and the carnival
“It is material , it degrades the abstract and the ideal and celebrates the body and the life of the people” – Bakhtin on the carnival
A spectacle is something you watch, not something you take part in.
We are going to apply these ideas to the Madeleine Mccann case.
A spectacle is something big and impressive. Spectacle impresses us. In sporting events we are emotionally invested in them. This is applicable to the Madeline Mccann case as due to the media coverage a lot of us are emotionally invested in it.
Sometimes the spectacle is something we know to be false. We know the match is fixed but we still engage.- Roland Barthes
“The spectacle is not a collection of images it is a social relation between people that is mediated by images” – Guy Debord
This will be applied to the Madeleine Mccann case by discussing whether the media representations and the relations they have formed with the audience are the whole truth.
Spectacle lodges in the memory
It is distinctive, it is out of the ordinary, it is different from everyday life. This is specifically applicable to the Mccann case, hence the attention brought to it. I will further explore how this spectacle lodges in the memory.
Spectacle and Theatre
Theatre engages the mind then the emotion, spectacle engages emotion and overrides the mind.
I will be looking at the Mccann case in terms of Aristotle’s poetics: Tragedy, pity and fear, catharsis, purging/discharge of negative emotion
The power relations amongst these following elements will be explored in how they make sense, knowledge and truth: Meanings and metaphors, representations, social practices, material circumstances, forms of subjectivities
We will see how these discourses shape, determine, and produce reality.
Discourse allows and limits topics to be constructed in a certain fashion.
“Who says what to whom, when, how, why and to what effect?” – Stuart Hall
The introduction will introduce the issue in the news I will be discussing as well as a brief introduction into what the rest of the essay will be about.
- Introduce the story which I will be discussing briefly.
- Outline the narrative of events
- Speak about the facts of the disappearance.
- How was the story presented to the public and why.
- Speak about the reactions to the story
Introduce the meanings of Power, Spectacle and memory.
- Speak of how power, the spectacle and memory works in compliance with the modern media’s coverage on this issue.
- Perform a critical evaluation
- Draw a conclusion on the issue due to the information presented.
ITV News, (2014). 2007-2014 timeline of events in search for Madeleine McCann. [online] Available at: http://www.itv.com/news/central/2014-05-08/2007-2014-timeline-of-events-in-search-for-madeleine-mccann/ [Accessed 13 Nov. 2015].
Telegraph.co.uk, (2008). Master of media circus for Madeleine McCann. [online] Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/1902515/Master-of-media-circus-for-Madeleine-McCann.html [Accessed 13 Nov. 2015].
Michel Foucault – The Subject and Power
Michel Foucault – Sara Mills
Owen Jones – Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class
Here are the full list of phrases which the male will have to say and the females excuses in turn. These will hopefully effectively convey how the power/control is given and taken in this relationship/relationships with abuse in them.
Male: She’s a stupid bitch that needs to know her place.
Female: He only says these things because he grew up in a violent home, he doesn’t know any better.
Male: She needs to get the fuck out of my house and my life if she doesn’t change her ways
Female: He doesn’t mean it, he’s only saying it because he is drunk. He says this stuff all the time when he is drunk or using.
Male: She needs to sort her life out and stop sponging off me, she’s a good for nothing with no job who’s lucky to have me.
Female: He only says these things because he cares about me and wants me to do well in life.
Male: She should just do what her whore mother did by leaving her father and leave me already. You can tell she wants to.
Female: He said sorry. It’s fine. He said he won’t ever do it again.
Male: She should just stuff her stupid feelings up inside and not let them ruin everything all the fucking time.
Female: It’s okay. He has depression. I’m helping him. I need to accept who he is.
Male: Maybe if she learns her place I wouldn’t need to show it to her.
Female: I made him angry. It’s my fault. I shouldn’t make him angry.
In artifact 3, we are going to be doing a piece about power/control and that has been interpreted into using it to show abuse in relationships. The video is going to show powerful images of people speaking about general actions that entail abuse and then excuses. This will be overlayed with powerful and simple imagery of them speaking, to not draw away from the main message.
I did some research into what abusers generally say/excuses they generally give after giving said abuse.
“I’m sorry. I won’t ever do that again…”
“I was drunk/I was using drugs.”
“I act this way because I care about you.”
“You made me mad/provoked me, and I had no other choice. I can’t control it.”
“I have a mental illness or a personality disorder — ex. I’m bipolar, I have PTSD.”
“I grew up in a violent home where I experienced or witnessed abuse.”
We are going to flip this around and have the abusee giving these excuses to highlight the power that they are giving the abuser by accepting what they are saying.
For example, a line we are giving is “I made him angry, it was my fault. I should know my place. I gave him no other choice. He can’t control what he does if I make him angry.”
I then did some further research into what generally an abuser would say categorically:
- Idiot, Stupid Cunt, Go sit in the corner where you belong (dunce)
- Crazy Bitch, Psycho
- “It is none of your fucking business.”
- “Why don’t you fucking leave?” or “Get the fuck out of my house.”
Tells You What You’re Doing (But Is Incorrect)
- “Yes, why don’t you stuff your feelings inside.”
- “You’ve got your priorities screwed up.”
Plays Word Games
- Interrupts you when you’re talking.
- Repeats “your exact words” but takes them out of context or makes up something that you did not say or mean.
Tries to Appear Better Than You
- “You have no money; without me you’d be lost.”
- “At least I have a job.”.
Insults People And Pets You Love
- “Why don’t you leave, have your geriatric dog leave too and I hope he falls dead.”
- “Your mother left your dad to chase cock and you’re going to do the same to me!”
Sexual Insults And Injuries
- Makes you wear revealing clothing that makes you feel uncomfortable.
- “You were just a good fuck.”
Insults Your Ideas and Dreams
- The churches, restaurants, movies, etc. that you choose are not good enough.
- Your career interests are “fluffy” or not real jobs.
Threatens Or Intimidates You
- “Maybe I should just do pot, porn and date other woman and then maybe you will leave me.”
- “I should run you through the wood chipper out there!”
(Verbal Abuse Journals: Domestic Violence & Abuse Exposed, 2015)
We are going to have the antagonist say something similar to these phrases they have given as examples mixed with the responses given in the primary research. Then have the protagonist give an excuse for their actions, showing the power and subsequent control they are giving the abuser. For example:
Antagonist: “She’d be fucking nothing without me, she doesn’t have a job, she’s a waste of fucking space.”
Protagonist: “He was just saying it because he cares about me. He wants me to do well.
Verbal Abuse Journals: Domestic Violence & Abuse Exposed, (2015). Things Abusers Say And Do. [online] Available at: http://verbalabusejournals.com/about-abuse/things-abusers-say-do/ [Accessed 5 Nov. 2015].
http://www.loveisrespect.org, (2015). Apologies and Excuses – http://www.loveisrespect.org. [online] Available at: http://www.loveisrespect.org/content/apologies-and-excuses/ [Accessed 4 Nov. 2015].
What defines the line between them? –
Power is earned on a daily basis. Control is taken. Power is freely given by those who believe in you. Control is needed only when they do not. (Nationmultimedia.com, 2007). This implies that people who exercise control are exercising their power as the other involved party do not believe it them. As the other party does not believe in them enough to give them power they must use their own power in the form of control.
When does one become the other? –
Power is the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behaviour of others or the course of events. Whereas, control is the power to influence or direct people’s behaviour or the course of events or to determine the behaviour or supervise the running of. These two things can become each other when they are not being exercised. Zimmerling speaks of Kristjansson and his views on having power and exercising that power as control. He says that “‘having power over’ cannot be the ability on which ‘exercising power over’ is based, for having power over is ‘here’ not a capacity at all” (Zimmerling, 2005). This in turn means that power turns into control when it is exercised over somebody.
Who decides? –
“It is commonly observed that person X dominates Y, while being subservient in relations with Z. Furthermore, these power relations are frequently intransitive!” (Emerson, 1962) So, as we can see, the power relations are decided by the people within them and who wants to be in control/have power over or be subservient to the other. With people and their power relations being intransitive it means it really depends on the individuals and who/what they wish to give power to and who/what they want to take control over.
How are our lives affected by these concepts/how does your cultural, religious, political background influence you and others around you? –
“Generally, it can be said that there are three types of struggles: either against forms of domination (ethnic, social, and religious); against forms of exploitation which separate individuals from what they produce; or against that which ties the individual to himself and submits him to others in this way (struggles against subjection, against forms of subjectivity and submission).” (The Subject and Power, 1982) These are all the forms of power struggles. These are the ways in which power relations can be formed. Depending on your placing in these specific fields, you can have a different standing in your power relations with others. Purnell has said “It has become very much a closed shop… this middle class power grab was the result of a political system that has become closed to the ordinary people” (Jones, 2011) So, this leads us to believe that power, at least politically and religiously, is closed off for the ordinary people and the control is had over them.
Emerson, R. (1962). Power-Dependence Relations. American Sociological Review, 27(1), p.31.
Jones, O. (2011). Chavs. London: Verso. p.105.
Nationmultimedia.com, (2007). Bangkok’s Independent Newspaper. [online] Available at: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2007/11/26/rookie/rookie_30057429.php [Accessed 2 Nov. 2015].
The Subject and Power. (1982). Critical Enquiry, 8(4), p.781.
Zimmerling, R. (2005). Influence and power. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer. p225
To undertake my primary research, I spoke to a friend of mine who was the subject of domestic abuse. Here are the questions I asked her and the responses I received:
Why do you think he abused you?
I think he thought it was a way he could stay with me. He felt if he didn’t have absolute control over me then I would leave him. He was obsessed with the fact I would leave him or be unfaithful.
Why did you put up with it?
I was scared. He threatened me if I left that I would regret it. I wasn’t entirely sure what he meant but the way he said it made sure I knew it’d be bad. He ground down my self esteem and I felt I didn’t deserve any better…
Did he ever apologise for his actions?
Yes. Pretty much every time. He made me feel every time like it was going to be different. That he wouldn’t act that way again.
What were the excuses he gave for his abuse?
He said it was because he came from a broken home and he didn’t know any better. I know his upbringing was tough so I tried to help him through it. He had anger issues and he would take it out on me. I tried to help but I think I just made it worse.
How did he work down your self esteem?
He just constantly found negatives in everything I did. No matter what I did, there was always something wrong. I just didn’t know how to act and what to do.
Beauty, what is it and are there ideals that are accepted universally?
Out of people surveyed, asking for their opinions on beauty and what it is, answers seemed to lean towards beauty being something that is natural and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. It’s intriguing that no one suggested that beauty is constructed or manufactured, everyone suggested things like the grace of an athlete, passion filled music and something that evokes a strong emotion. Nobody mentioned anything about beauty within the media and its portrayal of the perfect body, face or anything stereotypically paraded across the tabloids.
In an investigation into the social media app Instagram, predominantly used for photo and video sharing allowing users to take and edit items it became clear that the app can and has been used to glamorise just about anything, be it nature, food, clothing, depression, violence, eating disorders, make up, travelling animals, you name it and it is probably on there, within reason of course as the app is regulated so graphically explicit images would be taken down by members of staff.
Despite users having the ability of filter options and editing powers on their pictures more recently there appears a big community of instagram users have a new thirst for more genuine content, with the hashtag beauty having more that 84,000,000 posts and nofilter having over 140,000,000 posts. nofilter shows how we want to separate what’s real from what’s artificial. It’s sort of a truth-telling mechanism. The way we’re able to manipulate things now means if something is authentic, it’s more meaningful however it should be stated that more than 7% of images with the nofilter hashtag actually have a filter, this suggests that maybe people do have a common consensus on beauty and that they want their images to appear to be pure, natural and unedited as it would seem to be what people would be more interested in and drawn to.