ON VISIBILITY AND SHARING SPACE
Images have been around us since we can remember. A lot of what we call memories nowadays consists of snapshots, pictures and images. We like them and share them on our social networks to stay connected. We are happy to engage in our online socializing, as long as we get the chance to respond to it and control it.
Yet a lot of imagery can’t be so easily avoided. We see posters on bus placards, on billboards, when we walk around the city or just go for a drive. We can decide not to watch television anymore (and there’s some of us who actually don’t), listen to the radio, read magazines, or newspapers and look at all the horrible photos and slogans that surround us on our daily bases. Nevertheless, we still live somewhere in between the virtual and public space and we can’t control all of what’s visible to us. We wish we could just forget some of them, because all slogans and images aren’t really communicating to us. They are not forming a dialogue. Sometimes they are so forceful we can’t bare it. We would rather just ignore them. They do on the other hand affect our lifestyle as consumers and as citizens. They are so glamorous and seductive (and pleasing to the eye) they managed to revolutionize the whole human social communication. The mainstream bombards us with subtle messages and makes it clear what is “appropriate” and “inappropriate”. Just by evoking an emotional reaction they influence our opinion. We might not be aware of it, but just because it’s not written down somewhere it doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Eventually all of this shapes what we think and what we believe in. Political correctness of how we are supposed to be impoverished us of our real emotions. By following the rules of “good taste”, we lie to ourselves and to each other and feel a great dissatisfaction throughout. There’s a void this image culture full of promises created, so we try to avoid it and record our presence only in theory. We are dealing with a very specific model of constructed reality, whether we decide to think about it or not. Although this isn’t just something that’s transmitted only from the outside, with passive acceptance and ignorance we confirm it and strengthen it. “There’s not much we can do about it” is a remark we often hear against romantic impulses of resistance. If we say or write something “wrong” we might not get a job we wanted and everything we worked so hard for. But let’s stop for a minute and ask ourselves, how does all of this make us feel? How long can we suppress and accept everything we don’t want to be?
Throughout this accumulation of images that surround us, we forget the real power of visual messages and how big of an impact they can have by not being just another marketing move. (Visual) communication should be a two-step process, a process of sending and receiving information consciously. Some of it is already out there. Let that graffiti on the street, made to provoke and wake us from wandering, remind us, there is plenty of space where we can talk and create a genuine dialogue. Let’s go out there and really share it.