Gestures Survey

Having researched some of the gestures people make online have given me a basic knowledge in a wider perspective, but I was curious to see what people, especially students, within the area here tend to do.

I’ve made a survey in order to find out about some trends or just the type of gestures students prefer at the campus.  So after reading the book on gestures by Roger E. Axtell, I printed about 15 copies and went around campus asking random students to fill it out. Wasn’t really predicting any gesture to be used more than the other, to be honest. In fact, I was expecting some unique answers, the reality was much simpler than that.

The survey was quite simple, my main goal was to collect as many diverse answers as I could, which is the reason for asking their gender and country of origin. Most importantly, I was able to grasp what exactly is socially trending or what has died out completely.

The answers I have provided were based on the most used gestures that I saw on the internet. Of course, limiting the options only to that would be unfair so an option of other was done in case they can provide some more information as to what gesture they do when taking a photo of themselves.




Photography and critical intro

We’ve touched on some great subjects in this photography and critical intro session, from the camera obscura to the great race to ‘invent’ photography. These topics were something I knew as a result of browsing mildly interesting posts on the internet.

But what I found most intriguing was a talk we had about a French philosopher called Roland Barthes, a greatly written article on him has been written on and it’s more easier to understand than the book he’s written. Barthes states two principles that make your images much better, it’s two Latin words called studium and punctum. A reading handed out to us described it more thoroughly than I ever could, personally I think those two words are quite similar to each other, and upon reading a few articles it’s stated that you can indeed experience both punctum and studium at the same time. It’s defining something you always felt about an image but did not know if there is a word for it.

So let’s start with Studium, according to the reading given to me it has nothing to do with “study”. It’s the taste of someone, it’s rational principle, an element the photographer placed in the image to create an additional visual impact and is therefore part of studium. What draws attention in the image, a feeling caused by a social memory. I’d like to give an example with the burning monk picture I’ve chosen for the first week. The feelings of confusion, sadness, worry is to me what studium is.

Now punctum is the emotional, something beyond our idea to control. It’s something that the photographer did not put in the image intentionally, it’s quite subjective actually. I could try and elaborate a bit more by saying it’s an unexpected detail in certain photographs that affects us on a personal level. A feeling beling to oneself only. Something that just triggers a feeling in someone, very personal and private experience for example in which the photographer did not intend on.

Photographic Philosophies

Резултат с изображение за burning monk

In today’s session we were asked to bring a photography of our choice and discuss it. I’ve decided to choose a picture taken by Malcolm Browne of a burning monk. This image has a very devious and at the same time peaceful vibe to it. The particular monk appears to be meditating and is completely engulfed in flames yet he remains calm and emotionless.

From what I understand it happened during a protest, even for a Buddhist, as peaceful as their ideology may seem, this form of self-immolation is quite shocking to see. I’m not going to go deep into this event as I have to admit that my lack of knowledge can only butcher their motive.

As for the photo I don’t think it could have looked as effective as possible in colour. The flames really do stand out in black and white, you can see his emotionless bad ass face next to the well contrasted waves of flames just flowing in one direction while people stare at him ( mostly monks ).

As always we had to do group work, it was a nice warm up to get into building rapport on photography and get to know some of my peers.

Questions were done in a professional manner, it made us delve deep into the subject. I don’t really have anything negative to say about this honestly. One thing I noticed was that a lot of us had similar answers to most of the questions, it’s hard to actually say how photography makes you feel as that is actually pretty broad, there’s a lot of genres and different styles of photos. Privacy invading photography was also mentioned in a question that I don’t think is as big of an issue in public as people think, within reason of course.

Context & Theories Workshop

In this lecture, we were introduced to the theory of semiotics which I’ll be talking about in this post.

semiotics is a study of signs and symbols and how they are used and interpreted

Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure wrote that the sign is the whole that results from the association of the signifier with the signified. The signifier being the form an image takes place, and the signified as the concept it represents. The process between those two is called signification.

When someone mentions the word “tree” we think of an image of a tree. The same goes as if we were to look at a word that says tree written on a piece of paper. The word and the image will evoke the concept of a tree.

But the word “tree” is not actually a tree. The meaning of a tree can be constructed by any random letter combination, however, in English, the meaning of a tree is carried by the letters t-r-e-e. But for the foreign speaker, the meaning of a tree would be carried by different letters. Yet both random strings of letters represent the same object.

Yet both random strings of letters represent the same object. Furthermore, if we were to think of let’s say a car. Not everyone would imagine the same type of car. Thus meaning, a signifier has no absolute relation to the signify.

Charles sanders pierce’s ideas about semiotics distinguish between three types of signs. Icon, Index, and Symbol. Where the sign belongs in a particular category is dependent upon the nature of its relationship between the sign itself which you call the “referent” and the actual meaning.

An icon is a sign that stands for an object by resembling it. The index refers to their objects by an actual link between the sign and its object, the sign, and the object does not have to be visually the same but rather have something in common.

The symbol refers to their objects by virtue of law, rule of convention. Words, propositions, and text are obvious examples.

Century of the self

This video does a great job in educating and explaining the history of marketing and propaganda within society. The video starts off by mentioning the theory of human nature by Sigmund Freud, which is what the people of power have tried to apply in order to control the crowds. It goes as far as the European war in 1914.

According to Sigmund Freud’s Theory of human nature, many of our human behavior is controlled without our awareness, and that people have deep aggressive and sexual desires deeply hidden within them, feelings they’ve got from the past animal self-contained. These forces have led individuals and societies into chaos and destruction.

This didn’t always come as good news, as Viennese found Freud’s theory repulsive, embarrassing and a threat to one’s absolute control.

Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays who had been working as a press agent in America he had been employed to promote America’s democracy ideology and not to restore the old empires in the press during its involvement in the European war.

Upon arrival back in the US, Bernays had an idea to use propaganda as a marketing method instead as a tool of war. He set out to experiment with his uncle’s theory in mind.

He was the first individual to show American corporations for the first time, how they can make people want things they did not actually need by linking mass produced goods to their unconscious desires. There exists a barrier between our consciousness and the unconscious state which the animal forces are stored deep within us.

Thus by making people happy and satisfied with their selfish desires. They would be more easily controlled and influenced. Bernays was able to turn people to constantly moving happiness machines, he soon became one of the most dominant figures and had the reputation as the man who understood the mind of the crowd.


Modern day obsessions – WOT U :-) ABOUT?

An exhibition review

Through Feb 9th

When I first looked at the Rachel Maclean’s exhibition poster, it was hard for me to really gather a sense of what it actually is.

A bright, colourful exhibition that has a free entry and it looks like a Jim Carrey movie in collaboration with a Katy Perry music video. ‘Should be interesting’ I thought to myself.

Mind you, I’ve never heard or have seen any of Rachel Maclean’s work. But in the brief research that I’ve made the colourful and wacky, modern fairy tale style is common. It also seems that she’s sending a social or a political message through her work, almost as if it isn’t taking itself too seriously.

I’ve been to Tate Modern but not Tate Britain so this was a good opportunity for me to finally take a trip to this establishment. There weren’t any advertisements for this gallery at the entry which I expected because of it’s uncommon and odd nature, this lets me wander around the entry and ask for directions until I found it. I also forgot to mention that I’ve arrived there late, only able to enjoy it for half an hour or so.

The exhibition was quite small with only a few posters displayed. For some reason, I expected to see statues and other exhibits. The room was painted in the same colour scheme, very colourful and vibrant, really matched the work exhibited on the walls.

At the center of the room, there was a bench that matched the interior for people to sit down and enjoy a short movie projected on the wall. Lighting was also centered and the room was well lit, although I wish it would have been dimmed a little bit during the projection of the short clip. There wasn’t much to do after watching the short movie other than understanding the concept and the not-so-cheery aspect of the exhibition.

One way that I would personally explain the meaning of the exhibition is that it’s a parody of what we could label as ‘Internet Fame’. It focuses on other things such as internet addiction, idol obsession, materialistic possessions which many individuals find hard to live without.

Things became more clear to me once the idea was pointed out. Everything illustrated was a humorous interpretation of an internet slang.

The whole idea didn’t affect me that much nor was somewhat unique in telling you that, yes, the Internet is bad and addicting and some people binge on it. Many others have already pointed out the same problem, but the overboard fantasy style of this exhibition was not your ordinary red pill campaign. In fact, its intentions are questionable because of the way it doesn’t take itself that seriously.Is the short clip really pointing out a

Is the short clip really pointing out a problem, to begin with? All it could be doing is making modern pop art concept using today’s mainstream needs and desires, exaggerating and turning them into a hilarious and somewhat worrying alternate reality.


This CTS presentation was interesting. We’ve discussed surveillance throughout time and history, and along with this topic came the questions if it is for the better or worse to be watched all the time.

People have gotten used to being monitored in certain places, and they do not feel the need to disagree with this way of security.


And whether actually being watched all the time by the higher beings of society is true or not people have had those ideas for years. Some went as far as planning and proposing an idea for monitoring certain individuals.


The panopticon is the answer for a more “civilized” prison facility. The way that the guard stationed in the centre has made it possible for him to observe every person within the cages. Sounds quite ingenious if this would be applied for facilities such as office cubicles, or something unrelated to a workplace such as an apartment.

We’ve had a discussion in which we had to ask ourselves, what exactly exercise this level of monitoring in our daily lives. What part of society is going overboard with monitoring our activity, and what’s the gap between doing it for our safety or just plainly collecting our personal information for third-party companies.

I think a lot of students mentioned that university does monitor students. Like the way we need to write our name in when we go inside during weekends. We also need to write the time and our ID.

the technology we use can also be alarming when it comes to tracking someone. The webcam and the microphone of the laptop is a key factor to black mailing someone. If you’re not careful you might end up being a victim.

Of course, most monitoring and tracking actions are always said to be for our safety. But if this information goes into the wrong hands the consequences could be treacherous.