Journal 10: Iconography of the U.S.

18 Apr

A. What is the icon?

B. How did it become iconic in the U.S.?
It is the largest chain fast food restaurants in the world and has over 33,000 outlets worldwide. It became so popular because it is cheap and advertises its ‘happiness.’ Cheap food will make anyone happy. They also market very well to children with their Happy Meals. I remember being little and wanting a McDonald’s Happy Meal just so I could get the prize inside. Kids love toys, and parents listen to their kids’ desires more often than they should.

C. How is it employed outside of the U.S.?
To list only a few of the McDonald’s locations worldwide: Japan, France, Puerto Rico, Australia, Netherlands, Spain, Greece, and Iraq.

D. Was the cultural response to this usage positive or negative? Was the U.S. response to this usage positive or negative? Why or why not?
The cultural response to this usage was very positive. America always seemed glamorous to other countries, so to eat their food is almost like you are becoming an American. The U.S. response to this usage was, of course, positive. The more fans we get of our restaurants, the more important we feel.

E. What might have been a more culturally relative icon to use in place of the U.S. icon? Why?
A Japanese fast food place, for example, would have been more relative. But then again, we have Japanese food all over the place in America, and it is usually served pretty quickly. Perhaps the Japanese wanted a taste of another culture, just as anyone else does. The grass is always greener on the other side.


Journal 9: Pastiche

4 Apr

Exercise 1

A. How is this pastiche a reworking of the past?
This art piece by Bansky mimics the silkscreen style of Andy Warhol’s work from the 60s. Bansky uses a photo of Kate Moss to immitate Warhol’s Marylin pieces.

B. Is this pastiche only or pastiche with parody? How?
I don’t think this is pastiche with parody because it does not try to make fun of Warhol’s work, it is merely copying it.

C. How is this work a questioning of the status of the original?
This almost looks as if Andy Warhol could have created it, but upon closer look, it looks done digitally rather than through silkscreening. Warhol’s technique has become so trademarked that his style can be easily achieved in Photoshop.

D. If possible, attach the example to your work or include a citation so that it can be accessed by the instructor.


Exercise 2

A. How is this pastiche (the individual graphs and the whole site) a reworking of the past?
This graph is a pastiche of graphs that are often seen in science or statistics books. Many of the graphs on the web site  use common ways to display information to make a humorous statement.

B. Is this pastiche only or pastiche with parody? How?
This is pastiche with parody, because it is not simply using a pie chart to organize and display information visually, but it is doing so in a humorous way. Upon first glance, this pie chart may look informational, but after reading it one finds the humor.

C. How is this work a questioning of the status of the original?
I’m certain no one will think the makers of these graphs are copying each other in using graphs for humor. Charts are so common in textbooks and statistical studies, that I don’t think anyone would accuse someone of copying at all. Can you really copy a graph or pie chart? I honestly don’t know who was the first to display information in this way, but it has become pretty standard.

Journal 6: Coolness, Anti-Ads, and Culture Jamming

7 Mar

This ad is an attempt to not look like an ad. There is no text-based information other than what is necessary: the brand logo and the name. These features are not dominant. The main focus is on the image, which portrays a culture not only through the clothing, but through the car and the plant. This is a cool, high-class and leisurely culture. The black and white image gives a certain sophistication to the ad, but this couple is definitely not on their way to work.


This ad is an example of culture jamming. An overload of cosmetic brands are represented here. Nothing is organized or structured; the products are cluttered and chaotic, just like the advertising culture. The focus is not on any one particular brand, but on the idea of color. The text at the bottom of the ad says, “Color Changes Everything.” Target is creating a new message with this ad. It is not about the brands, it is about color–but you have to buy the brands in order to get the color. The mirror is strategically placed to face the viewer so that we replace the girl in the mirror with a reflection of ourselves as it would appear with the application of those products. Or maybe it is a reflection of American beauty, which has been shaped by the advertising culture.

Journal 4: How Art Made the World / Self Portraits

9 Feb

How Art Made the World

Art was used as a political tool in ancient times in a variety of ways. The first political logo was used by Darius, in a depiction of him as an archer. This symbol offered peace and cooperation because during that time period a bowman symbolized wisdom, leadership, balance, and control. Another example of art as a political tool is in the case of Alexander the Great, who produced coins with his face on them. Lastly is Octavian Augustus, who altered his “look” to achieve a new type of recognition. In sculptures, Augustus’ hair was flattened and his face was broadened to create a more serious and mature physique. Unfortunately, Augustus didn’t practice all the qualities he portrayed in his images. He used images to manipulate people into believing the opposite of what was true. He wanted people to act a certain way when he, himself, did not act that way.

Today, art is still used in politics to convey a message to the public that isn’t necessarily true. This is done through posters and advertisements, as well as through set design for a major political event. Even the way political figures dress, down to the color of their tie, is carefully planned out so that viewers get a certain sense from what they see. This importance of dress traces all the way back to ancient Rome where clothing was used as an indicator of one’s status. This act of dress is shallow because anyone can put on the clothes, but do they actually do what they say they will? Often times, it is not the case.

Self Portraits:


a. How does your empirical representation (the photo) differs from your rational and/or symbolic representation (the signs)?

Both my representations are actually very similar. The overall theme for both is the ocean, and the color schemes are similar. I don’t know if this is a stretch, but I noticed that even the placement of the white shelves on my bedroom wall is similar to the placement of the white birds in my symbolic representation. I definitely did not do that on purpose, but is a very interesting coincidence. Now that I look at it further, the tall standing stature of my bedpost even matches the stem of the ‘k’ and is in the same location!

b. Are there any areas of intersection?

My self portraits intersect in multiple ways. First of all, the color blue is in both of them. Blue is my favorite color, and while I specifically chose it for my symbolic representation, I did not intentionally wear blue in my self portrait. I reference the ocean in my symbolic portrait, and you can also see a small pirate ship in the upper left corner of my photo portrait. There is even a painting on one of the shelves of an ocean. The picture in front of the painting is of my fiance and I, and we took that picture at the beach. Even the painting on the wall contains a small lake. I like water.

c. Why did you choose the symbols you did?

I chose to represent the beach through a shell and sand because I have always loved the ocean; it relaxes me and I feel like I’m in another world. I used polka dots for clouds because polka dots are my favorite pattern; I have so many polka-dotted things.  I used blue colors because it is my favorite color and I also think it represents my melancholy personality. Birds represent my life-long wish to be able to have wings and fly. The rainbow represents my love for color. Flowers represent my love for flowers and also my middle name, Iris. Lastly, I chose to insert the letter ‘k’ because I decided in Kindergarten that it was my favorite letter. I always wished my name was spelled with a k instead of a c (Erika, instead of Erica). I thought k’s were prettier–c’s just seemed boring.

d. What in your photo describes you symbolically or rationally?

Everything in my photo describes me because it was taken in my bedroom, which I consider my sanctuary. I picked out that specific shade of green for my walls because it felt antique to me and I liked the way it complimented an old gold frame I have hanging on my wall. The ocean is referenced numerous times in my room. I have paintings of it, pictures of it, that small pirate ship that I got from a pirate museum. I also collect shells and display them all over my room. My blue shirt directly correlates with the color of the ocean (but like I said, that was not intentional).

Journal 3: Media Tracking

2 Feb

I began my media tracking on Tuesday at 8 a.m. and finished Thursday at the same time. Here are my trackings:

8 a.m. — email, Facebook,
9:30 a.m. — texting, phone call
12-12:30 p.m. —, Facebook
3:30 — email
4-4.45 p.m. — Netflix
6 p.m. — cell phone call
8-9 p.m. — iTunes while drawing thumbnails for homework, Google for image references for the thumbnails.
9:30 p.m. — cell phone call
10:30 p.m. — email, Moodle, Facebook
10:45-11:45 p.m. — Netflix

7 a.m. — cell phone text
9:30-11 a.m. — email, David’s Bridal, Moodle
4-4:05 — text message conversation
4:15-5 p.m. — email, Gmail chat
5:30 p.m. — phone call
6:30 p.m. — phone call
9 p.m. — email
11 p.m. — phone call

*no media was used for the remainder of the 48 hours.

Media Tracking Results
A. I used my cell phone most often, but the internet took the most time. I would say I used it for roughly 4 hours total in the 48 hour period.
B. I used iTunes the least, for about 1 hour total.
C. Communication with another person over the phone or email spans out to less than an hour.
D. Most of my time spent with media was spent monologically, around 4.5 to 5 hours.
E. While it didn’t surprise me, I was regretful whenever I wrote down “Facebook,” because that is one thing that I check whenever I get online, and I’m not proud of it. I also don’t watch Netflix that often. Tuesday was a stressful day and I needed a release.
F. I may try to check Facebook less often. It shouldn’t be a priority. It’s become so habitual that I sometimes go to facebook when I’m meaning to go to the weather.

Journal 2: Appropriation

26 Jan


a. The original intended meaning of this poster was a movie poster for ‘The Dark Knight’ featuring the Joker with the words, “Why so serious?” and drawing a red painted smile with his finger.

b. The image is appropriated by replacing the Joker with Ronald McDonald. The words now read: “Why so delicious?”, refering to McDonalds food. Ronald paints the McDonalds logo where the Joker’s smile was, and the words “I’m loving it” (McDonalds slogan) replace “The Dark Knight.”

c. The new meaning produced from the appropriation is slightly eerie. Clowns are sometimes considered frightening, and showing Ronald McDonald in this light does not making him an exception. It makes me wonder, Why IS McDonalds so delicious? What do they put in their food?! Suddenly I am creeped out and have lost my appetite.

This is my attempt at appropriation. And, no, I am not saying Apple is evil! And I am most certainly not picking on Steve Jobs. I just thought this would be an interesting idea. Notice the correlation between the fact that the serpent told Eve that the apple (or fruit) would give her wisdom (hence Apple’s slogan, ‘Think Different’), and though it did, it also lead to death (Steve Jobs’ death being an example). However, this poster could also mean that technology in general may be leading to the destruction of the world. Then again, it could mean that Apple is so tempting that man cannot resist. There is a lot to be interpreted from this,  so I am not trying to persuade viewers of anything; I am only presenting them with a thought.

*The painting I used in the poster is called “Temptation” by William Strang

Journal 1: Image Icons

16 Jan


B. The image icon portrayed in this print ad is a polar bear

C. The polar bear is one of the icons used in advertisements for Coca Cola (Santa Claus being another). Because the arctic is the home of the polar bear, using a polar bear as an image icon hints at the refreshing ice-cold experience of a drink of Coke.

D. This year, Coca Cola worked with World Wildlife Fund to create Arctic Home, which raises awareness and funds to restore a “home” to polar bears. Because Coca Cola has such a strong face, this campaign works to capture the attention of a wider audience. The polar bear is the official mascot of Coca Cola–if the polar bear goes extinct, then who will represent the company?

Coca Cola is not even the dominating focus in this ad. The focus is the polar bear, and the ad brands Coca Cola by using its well-known red and white colors. These colors also associate with Christmas, thus the connection to the holiday through the printed words: GIVE NEW MEANING TO ‘HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS.’ The holidays are a time of warmth, love, and happiness. It is a time to come together at home with family. This advertisement seeks to touch on this emotion to create more sympathy for polar bears, as if they, too, long to be ‘home’ for the holidays.

E. This advertisement, simple as it is, does persuade me. It sparked all the emotions it was supposed to. I am a sucker for the warmth and cheerfulness of Christmas, so I feel sad for the polar bears and am invited to visit to find out how I can help. This ad also makes me nervous for Coca Cola. Not that I drink it, but it makes me wonder if Coca Cola will struggle in finding a new identity if it loses its mascot. What will it mean for Coca Cola’s consumers?