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Representation

January 26, 2010

I’ve been reading on the idea of representation for my class in Visual Culture.  What we often see is not “reality” but merely a representation made up of words and/or images that are combined in a way to portray a particular meaning.  The picture of Erykah Badu on my background is not actually Erykah but a representation of her through photograph that depicts the photographers thoughts and motives (all shaped by a particular Rashomon perspective).

There is a painting by Magritte that challenges these conventions of representation.  The painting, called “The Treachery of Images”, is of a pipe which the french phrase “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” or “This is not a pipe.”  Magritte did numerous other works that went along with this theme and his theme has since been parodied and mimicked.  If anything, his works sparked a constant debate of whether we create the world through its representations or if representations reflect the world we live in.

It all goes back to the argument of what is real?
Are our views of the world dictated by its representations?
Do we created representations to make sense of the world?

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