The inward animal

Posted on November 26, 2010


We are targeted by the media to see things, do things, to watch things, buy things, on the pretext that these exhortations are being formulated for our own good, in order to make us grab hold of our autonomy, as it were, the very stuff of life, to grasp all our freedoms, so that we will in some sense ‘live’ truly.  It elicits two basic responses, first there is the response to this of the ‘cultural animal’.  A teenage girl sees two images: two ‘stock’ teenage girls sorting their hair out by using some kind of new spray.  The response that she experiences, in her being a cultural animal consists in the concepts of “I want …” “I need …” and so on as attached to the behavioural cues that key the advert’s image sequence. That is to say, the target girl by identifying with the behaviour of the two people shown, identitfies equally with the product associated with them.  But there is also an interpretive aspect to this.  In other words, because the target is not just a target.  This kind of use of the field of the attention of a human being, as he or she moves from home to work, to school etc, as confronted by these images on buses on trains, on phones, screens, in newspapers or magazines or on the radio, also to some degree must raise in us, as such targets, the question of what is behind this, and being done to us, in its name, in this cause, in this so to speak rage of the universal, the all-encompassing.  The Ubiquitous. Because what is Advertising?  Freedom encapsulated?  Everything that we see and everything that we do becomes the object of a scepticism, in this, in that there is a process of judgement, interpretation, distancing. Wondering.  In other words the ‘cultural animal’ finds itself, or her- or himself being prodded in opposite ways by this single force. To be that animal, but also to notice what is being done to it, to be a merely behaving creature, to be merely a being entering into the implied compact of conviviality, this also invites us (from within as it were) to step back from the process and to view it as if from an alien perspective.

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