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John Berger’s Way of Seeing Episode#1

Discussion Questions #2

Question 1: When Berger says that seeing is not natural, but shaped by habit and convention, he was talking about perspective.  Perspective comes from the viewpoint from an individual  not just seeing the object or image itself, but our mindset on the image or object we are looking at. Our viewpoints are influenced by our environment, upbringing, age, gender, etc. The reason I write, it is because our perspective comes from many forms of standards created by society’s opinion on what is a social norm. Which is significant to how we see a work of art differently from everyone else. “Perspective centers everything on the eye of the beholder” ~ John Berger

Question 2:   Berger explains that  the camera has changed our sense of perspective by allowing the viewer another chance to see something in different ways. The device has changed our engagement with works of art by allowing it to be manipulated and made available in any size for any purpose. Berger further divulges into what the experience of being in the presence of an authentic artwork at a museum is in the terms of stillness and silence. When he says this he means that this experience goes beyond just what people teach about art. By seeing an artwork in a museum you are able to see the actual artwork in its purest form rather than seeing it on a screen or book where the image is manipulated to fit on a piece of paper to carry around or to see in the context of our own life.

Question 3: When Berger describes reproductions of paintings becoming a form of information he is saying that they can be used to convey, or narrate an idea to its viewer. Berger then mentions that talking with reproductions can manipulate an image into a different perspective by what comes before being handed the reproduction. These purposes include selling something, promoting an idea, or educating other individuals.

way of seeing/ways of hearing

Q1. In most cases, each painting will bring a different meaning to the audience. In fact, it is a process from outside to inside. What we see from the outside is the surface of things. However, this superficial phenomenon often makes people have some inner thoughts. However, in our real life, people tend to evaluate on the surface, people only see what they want to see. Art works not only give people visual impact and enjoyment, and more importantly, they enable people’s inner and spiritual communication and interaction. In addition I think sometimes “nature” is without people’s opinion. It  just like mothers love children or animal hibernation. This is natural. However, people like to evaluate from their own perspective and experience, such as the “ Mona Lisa”, why people think this painting is mysterious because people will appreciate it and feel differently in different situations and moods. It is affected by external factors, such as education level, living environment, age, personal experience.

Q2. The invention of the camera is the beginning, it is a true record of the complete image, and painting is to use certain techniques to express emotions. Therefore, the photos can be more realistic, and we can get some information from the photos. “In the Power to Look” is a perfect example of how technology affects people’s lives. Gustave Caillebotte’s “Paris Street Rainy Day” uses different techniques to build the pavilion or provide some information. Cindy Sherman’s “Untitled 92” uses photography techniques to create something new. These tools use photos to create artwork variables instead of painting. At the same time, people should be careful about technology. Improper use of these technologies will have many negative effects. Some synthetic photos give people wrong information. When a painting is completed, time is stillness. Time will never stop. Painting keeps time at that moment. Any activity will no longer be related to this painting. painting does not speak, but it will use  silence to describe what it has experienced. we have to feel them and try to communicate with them.

Q3. The original artwork is very different from the copies and small pictures seen on the computer, because they cannot display the original appearance. When people see pictures or certain reproductions, the information is not just appreciation, such as when, where, why…. No one can restore the original painting. The picture is displayed on the screen of the computer/mobile phone. When the device is remade, the screen will automatically adjust the brightness of the ripping device. the reproductions and small pictures displayed on the computer cannot show the original appearance. However, even if people know the problem between the original and the copy, they will still make copies because of business. reproductions are everywhere, and it will bring business opportunities. People collect precious art, and precious art creates wealth for people. Constant copying and ubiquity make people profit from it. I don’t think this will be what the creators wanted at the time, nor the original intention of the time.

Discussion #2

1.  John Berger mentions that what we see is conditioned by habits and conventions in the beginning of the video. When people appreciate a painting in the gallery, different people will have different views at the same painting. There is an old saying goes “There are a thousand  Hamlets in a thousand people’s eyes” said by Shakespeare. This well-known saying indicates us that the same artwork might be totally different in different viewers’ eyes. Habits, conventions, cultural backgrounds, experience, personalities, even your mood will change the way you appreciate the artwork. Take “Mona Lisa” as an typical example, what children will think is that she is a beautiful women with curly hair. For adults, most of them will consider the meaning of her mysterious smile. In the eyes of those in bad mood, they might think that Mona Lisa diguises her sadness with fake smile. So it is significant for viewers to appreciate the artwork in different ways.

2. Thanks to the invention of camera which makes those valuable and meaningful artwork accessible to almost everyone. With the help of this useful device, we can see so many antique artwork in our daily life, especially for those people who have no chance to go to the museum in order to appreciate the artwork closely. Although we take lots of advantages of camera, this little device has its own defects. Because of the silence and stillness of the artwork, we should make our eyeballs move. The common way we appreciate them at first is from the whole then is the details. But the camera could control our eyes. If you see a painting on a screen, you must follow the shot of camera. You can’t see the part of that painting out of the camera. And the arrangement of the camera shooting will change the view you look at it into the way the video producer want you to look at it. Those silent and still artwork becomes the story the video producers tell us rather than the original meanings what the authors intended to convey.

3. The artwork can only be in one place at a time, so it’s impossible for all the people to appreciate it personally. The most convenient and easiest way for us is to look at the reproductions. As I mentioned before, the reproductions like videos are a kind of recreation of the original artwork which contain the strong emotions of the authors as well as reproducers. The authors created these excellent artwork to show their own thoughts, and the reproducers combine their own ideas with the original meanings. So when we appreciate an reproduction of an artwork, we should consider both of their notions to get deeper understanding of that artwork.

Discussion 2- ways of seeing Episode 1

In the “ways of seeing Episode 1” by John Berger, the author argues that what we see is conditioned by habits and conventions. As many people believe that seeing arts or something else is innate and impulsive; in the video Berger think that before or when seeing something, we arrange in our mind how we want this thing to be. That mean we don’t see art how it is, but we see it how we want it to be in in our reflection. When we see many arts or have some experiences in the artistic world, it can let us to arrange our imagination of seeing arts. Berger’s observation is very significant because we realize that for the same art, viewers can have different opinions or interpretations to the art. It depends what every viewer have arranged in his mind for that art.

According to Berger, camera has changed the way we see arts. Before the 1900 the event of camera, art can only see in one place at one time, they can be only in one room or in the museum or in a specific place. After the invention of the camera, we can use it to duplicate arts images or record any situation. The camera has also changed our engagement with works of art, some people think why spending hours to draw something if we can do it by simple click with the camera. Furthermore, we see that with the camera we can duplicate thousands of images as we want and we can be anywhere to see arts, it can be in our room, in our car etc. and at any time. But there is something unique that we can not find with the camera. Many people travel from their home to the museum to see the original art, they believe that camera cannot replace the authentic art (stillness and silence). In the screen, we see what it was arranged. That arrangement could be excessive or miss some important details of the art. To illustrate this fact, at the end of the video, Berger said that he hopes we will consider what he has arranged.

Reproduction of painting is a form of information because we can change or manipulate the meaning of the art. For example, in the video with the painting by Caravaggio; if we use Italian opera or religious choral, the meaning of the painting change. He said in the episode 1 that pictures can be uses as words and we can talk with them.

John Berger’s ways of seeing episode 1

Discusion 1 :

Berger said  that seeing is not natural and it is shaped by habits and conventions because what we see is not just the object or image itself  but our view or mindset of image or object we are looking at .our view or mindset is influenced by environment, society in which we lived , age ,gender, mentality and the way everybody  is supposed to view and perceive things .That mean people will view and have different  opinion or interpretation of a same piece  of Art differently .

Discusion 2 :

According to Berger , the Camera has changed our senses of perception because not only it transferred any artwork to be seeing everywhere in the world at the same time but it could  also permit people to see what  they wouldn’t have chance to see and they could interpret it in different ways at the same time.Regarding artwork the camera could reproduce images in any size ,anywhere and for any purpose.When Berger said ,” describes  the experience of being in the presence of an authentic artwork-at a museum, for instance-in term of “silence” of “stillness ” , he meant that artwork  experience goes beyond what people art teaching about it .He even saw the similarity of viewing art as the measurement of the time which is complex . Seeing artwork  in museum is different differ from seeing it on screen pr in book because we can do whatever we want when seeing it on screen or in book such as move it , play with it .  And he said the latter two medium is never still .

Discusion 3:

Saying reproduction of  painting can become a form of information because the image can be used to convey, persuade a certain ideas to the viewer or narrate an information .He said paintings are no longer stable it comes to us . we saw paintings in the contest of our own life as mention Berger .Paintings  surrendered  with different sounds ,objects , colours in our places .

Discussion question #2

Question 1:

Berger says that what we see is related to a person’s customs and traditions. Likewise, the personal experiences of individuals and what he sees play a major role in their vision of things. Berger has made an experiment displaying a painting in which a person attacking some soldiers appears and then displays a commercial. Then he returned again to the painting, then showed a video of scenes of torture for some people, then again for the painting. And every time the concept of the painting was changing. He also added a comment on the place and time in which we see the paintings, such as drawing on the walls of churches.

Question 2:

The camera transferred any artwork  to be seen around the world. Not just where it is displayed in museums and the official exhibition spaces visible, but we can see them as pictures on any TV screen, book, or newspaper. And Berger added that seeing the painting in place and narrating the original version and you know that it is what people are copying is another kind of experience. And also mediating the image and giving it a close look with silence makes us realize the meaning of the painting in another way. Also, we can see accurate details inside a painting that cannot be seen from any photos.

Question 3:

With the transfer of pictures of artworks taken from one place to another, their meaning is modified without intention. It is used in more than one content and in more than one place at the same time, so it loses its first meaning board, and this is what Berger said. A specific painting can be imagined and given more than one sound perception. And that is what Berger has also tried.

Discussion #2

Part 1. By saying that seeing is not natural and that it is shaped by habit and conventions Berger means that what we see is not just the object or image itself but rather our view or mindset of the image or object we are looking at.  Our view or mindset is influenced by many things some of which are our environment, our upbringing, our societal status, our age, our gender, our mental state and society’s opinion on how we are supposed to view and perceive something.  The list can go on and on and it is basically the sum total of our experiences in life and society’s norms which influence how we view or see things.  And because of this, different people will view the same piece of art differently.

Part 2.  According to Berger the camera has changed our senses of perception because now we could not only see things that we could never see before, but we could also see them in different ways.  Regarding artwork the camera could reproduce images in any size, anywhere and for any purpose.  As for the “stillness” and “silence”, which he attributes to viewing art in a museum, what he means is that this experience goes beyond just what people teach about art.  In fact he goes on to say that it seems that viewing art in this manner connects the moment in time the painting represents with the moment in time in which you are viewing it.  He then adds that this experience almost makes one question how we measure time itself.  He also says the reason why this type of viewing is different from seeing art in a book or on screen is because the latter two mediums are never still, and always moving.

Part 3. By saying reproductions of paintings can become a form of information Berger is saying that the images can be used to convey a certain idea or narrative.  This information could be further manipulated by what comes before, along side or after the images.  He then goes on to say that this type of manipulation can be seen as talking.  The images and how they’re presented could be seen as words in a dialogue used for many different purposes.  Some of these purposes may include selling something, promoting an idea or movement, or educating people.

John Berger’s Ways of Seeing Discussion Questions

One of the first points John Berger makes is that the act of seeing something is not as objective as we might at first think. Instead, he argues that what we see is conditioned by habits and conventions. What does Berger mean when he says that the process of seeing is not “natural,” that it is shaped by habits and conventions? What kinds of habits and conventions shape the ways we see and how do they do this?

John Berger states that the act of seeing is not as objective as we think. He makes this argument by explaining we are conditioned to see the world in a different perspective than people over one hundred years ago because of photography and technology. Our habits and conventions, according to John, go beyond just what the eye sees at the moment. Because now our eyes can see things that are miles away with the use of cameras, our entire perspective of the world has changed as human beings. He claims that before the invention of cameras, people could only perceive what was in front of them and their personal experience. He explains that because now we can view art outside of it’s intended environment, as part of a building or church, or museum, we do not get its original purpose because we are conditioned to see things in terms of modern perspective.

How does Berger describe the term “perspective”? How does the concept of artistic perspective make “the eye the center of the visible world” and why is this significant when we think about what artworks like paintings mean for viewers?

Berger describes the term perspective as the opposite of a lighthouse with the light condensing into to the eye instead of branching out. He explains that perspective is the focus of what the eyes see, which then forms our reality.  We carry this perspective with us everywhere we go because our eye travels with us. As humans, our perspective differs for each of us and our reality differ as well.  Berger describes this from a strictly visual sense but it remains just as relevant for all of our senses of the world. The significance of this perspective in terms of painting is that our visual perspective of a painting defines our reality of the meaning behind the  artwork.

According to Berger, how has the camera changed our sense of perception? How has this device brought paintings and other images into the context of our lives? How does this differ from attitudes toward art that existed before the camera was invented?

The invention of the camera completely changed our sense of perspective because now we can see things in places our eyes have never traveled to. It has changed the context with which we view art because we can now see a painting or piece of art in a different setting from the artist intended setting, thus giving us a different perspective of the art.  Before the camera was invented you could only see a piece of art in 1 place. The invention of the camera allows us to remove the art and see it in our normal life settings.  Berger is stressing an importance of the surrounding settings of art which now in the age of photography can differ from its original setting.

Berger describes the experience of being in the presence of an authentic artwork–at a museum, for instance–in terms of “stillness” and “silence.” What does he mean by this? According to Berger, why is seeing an artwork in a museum different from seeing it on a screen or in a book?

Berger explains the stillness and silence of an authentic artwork as a pureness. He believe this silence and stillness are the most important thing about these paintings. He sees it as a way of seeing the picture that transcends time. The action in the painting are all simultaneous. We can see it in its unadulterated form. He explains this is only possible once it’s “false mystery and false religiosity” created by its monetary value. He blames this on the camera making them reproducible. Seeing a painting in a book or on screen allows the reproducer of the art to maniupulate the images and meanings of the picture and eliminate the silence and stillness of the art.

What does Berger mean when he describes reproductions of paintings becoming a “form of information?” Paraphrase what he means by his idea of “talking with reproductions.” What is the significance of this?

Berger talks about how paintings can become a “form of information”.  This is because they are placed in context and in competition with other information and media alongside it. Its meaning is transformed based on its surroundings. It can become ambiguous.  He explains that people can talk using reproductions. People can intentionally change the meaning of the reproductions and use them as their own artist language. By placing them alongside their own art or other reprints they can use them to create the meaning they are looking to purvey. It is significant because it shows a positive aspect of this ambiguity created by reprroducing the paingting. By creating a new meaning. One can take a piece of art and manipulate it as they feel fit to create their own new original work of art which can illicit new feelings.

Write one analytical question you have about this episode of Ways of Seeing.

How can we make art accessible to the everyone without losing its silence and stillness and without manipulation?

Discussion question #2

Question #1

The origin of the reason for seeing some art pieces, that we can see in galleries nowadays, were related to the habits and conventions of back then society. I liked the example Berger used, concerning the art pieces as an integral part of an architectural structure. In particular, the renaissance church and its icon. The atmosphere and surroundings were closely corresponding with the artwork. Thereby the viewer could perceive the overlap of perception in addition. Nowadays, people are rather appreciating the beauty, craft, or the enormous historic and preservational value of the art. I perceived the video as the motivation that we should think about the meaning of things in general. To learn to analyze and be able to recognize the real meaning of everything around us to avoid preoccupation and bias.

Question #2

Before the invention of the camera, we had to travel to see a certain art piece to a specific place. The camera switched this necessity and so today, we can see any art piece at any time and any place in the world. We can reproduce any paintings and bring them to society thru screens or magazines. But to see the paintings on a monitor or in a book is influenced by the context of our lives and the other objects placed around. Seeing the artwork in stillness and silence can help us to feel the present moment and appreciate the artwork. It helps us to feel the importance and meaning of art by a minimally interrupted sense of personal perception.

Question #3

The uniqueness of paintings in the context of space and meaning were relegated to secondary status. Paintings became transmittable and gained rather informational and financial importance. If I would paraphrase idea: “talking with reproduction”, I would say that reproduction of art can be adjusted to fit the desired context without any additional words needed. Context is always crucial in a sense of meaning. The meaning of the paintings can be easily manipulated and that is why we have to be aware of potential danger to not get manipulated as well.

D.Q2 – 3

Reproduction of paintings make them loose their value and authenticity. Art is made with an unique, original meaning but by duplicating this image may get a different meaning for each person or no meaning at all. By zooming a recording image of a painting as Berger explained, we get a whole new painting with a whole different meaning.