Discussion Quentions #2

1. 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? Why is this significant when we think about what artworks like paintings mean for viewers?
When Berger says that the process of seeing is not “natural,” that it is shaped by habits and conventions, he meant people see incidents and objects through the logic filter. For example, if we put a purple filter in front of a camera, every photo we take with it would be purplish. Likely to this example, the way people see is affected by their emotions and thought at the moment.
2. According to Berger, how has the camera changed our senses of perception? How has this device changed our engagement with works of art? Conversely, 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?
The invention of the camera affected art in both beneficial and harmful ways. Before then, the only way to see those works of art was by visiting the museums and seeing them in real life. But with the cameras, we are able to see and have knowledge about them from all around the world. Although, cameras can not reflect the brush strokes, which show the artist’s emotion while painting, and we can’t get the meaning of the painting as well as in the museum.
3. 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?
Especially with the popularity of social media and usage of photoshop, everything can be a material for memes and advertisements, including art. So, the meanings of artworks become transmittable according to the topic of people using it.

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