October 2, 2007


Part of last week's discussion, combined with a few random thoughts about some of what we talk about in the program in general....

We always talk about communication as being authentic vs inauthentic and in a variety of situations it means different things. Most of our discussions when we turn to this term, or paradox if you will, always focus on trying to determine what makes some form of communication an "authentic representation." When it comes to studying visual images, what or who is the key piece on the path to being considered authentic? Is it the creator, do they need to have the appropriate vision/idea that is seamlessly portrayed to the audience? Is it the subject - chosen to represent something/someone or an ideal - what needs to be the authentic piece of the puzzle? Or, is it the audience that needs, interprets, or even creates what is authentic?

I believe a lot of this can go back to the Hall piece and connotation and denotation. (which, I am still having slight confusions on, so please let's discuss!) Is attempting to determine the signifier and signified Hall's labels for unpacking the authenticity of the visual representation? If we come up with the exact answers the creator of the image intended, is it authentic because we agree? Or, does the real authenticity lie in the differences?

In some ways, I feel like a visual image is authentic as long as it resonates with someone, even just one person. So much of what makes visual images so powerful, both positively and negatively, is because just one person taking it as an authentic, or true, representation can cause these material consequences we chat about.

Yet, we are all individuals operating within an ensemble, and collective authenticity is more than likely going to dominate, even if it's wrong. So, does analyzing the authenticity of an image come down ultimately to a power and ideological struggle? Is that what Hall is trying to show?