Some points I took away from Matthew Bowman’s Lecture on ‘The Politics of Looking’:
-RABBIT OR DUCK? The duck-rabbit drawing was first used by American psychologist Joseph Jastrow in 1899 to make the point that perception is not only what one sees but also a mental activity. The research was based on how quickly one can see the second animal and how fast participants could change their perception of the drawing to switch between the two animals. The faster you can do this this, the quicker your brain works and the more creative you are, the research suggested.
-THE MIRROR STAGE “We become the object of another gaze”-Jacques Lacan Q: What is Lacan’s “mirror stage” theory? A: The “mirror stage” is, according to Lacan, a stage of psychological development in which a child recognizes himself or herself in the mirror and becomes conscious of selfhood. Lacan maintained that this stage occurs sometime before the child is 18 months old and it is the first time the child recognizes that he or she is separate from others. It begins the process of developing an identity distinct from others and yet, at the same time, dependent on the images of others to determine itself. This stage also marks the end of psychological development; from this point forward, the individual will primarily use language to form identity.
-THE MALE GAZE. ‘Sex sells’. In the poster for Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window, our eyes are drawn to the woman in the bottom window, although she is not the most prominent character in the poster. Alfred Hitchcock experimented in his films with the idea of the ‘male gaze’ in hollywood and the woman in question is unaware she is being watched through binoculars, a kind of voyeurism.
-‘UNTITLED: YOUR GAZE HITS THE SIZE OF MY FACE’-BARBARA KRUGER (1981). Themes of objectification.