Message behind the Remix

Posted in Uncategorized on April 29, 2010 by ahmedn87

The intended message for my video Remix was to examine issues of Sexism, Racism and Misogyny that existed throughout the 50s up till present date.  The video cross-examines those issues with present day and questions whether much has changed.  In some cases we seem to have regressed in our attitudes towards these problems that existed since the beginning of time.  Clips from the 50’s videos from the Archives are mashed in with clips from various super Bowl ads including 2010 banned ads.  The video opens with a clip from the Trouble with Women (1959). The title was perfect for the message.  It is a reflection of how men at the time felt about women.  However I wanted to further this idea that women today are still viewed as trouble and that they are only good as objects especially sexual objects. I slightly edited the title to include MEN AND the trouble with women, because I wanted the males point of view to be the domineering message.  The video continued to show clips from the trouble with women whilst at the same time current clips from the Ads are injected between the clips to reinforce the words spoken from the man who is having trouble with women.  I wanted to anchor the message to the spoken words and the images to create a cohesive and strong message that the receiver gets. The clips chosen from the ads are sexual in nature and objectify women.  The intended message is that women are good for nothing but sex.  She cannot be viewed as intelligent or an important and productive part of society.  The music I chose to accompany the clips reinforces the message.  Half way through the Remix video, I slowly try to invert the message.  Whilst man feels that women are objects with nothing to offer and that man is an intelligent being and hence productive parts of society, the chosen images contradict that.  We begin to see the man in the clip lament the days when there were only men in the work place and everything was wonderful.  The clips I chose to accompany this idea juxtapose the idea of intelligent productive members of society.  Thus we see men with out pants engaging in stupidity, and in a sense have become objects themselves.

Although the mood of the topic can be serious and upsetting, I wanted to lighten the mood by utilizing images from puppets.  However, the overall message had to be consistent.  So I chose clips that depict man as in control of women and how she is still viewed as an object, ready to be controlled.  The other purpose for utilizing the puppets is to question the kind of messages sent to the children.  I wanted to use an innocent medium to show how that can be skewed to send subliminal messages that can shape the minds of future generations.  I tried to employ Hall’s semiotics concepts in constructing the video.  Everything had to be examined and reexamined to achieve the desired effect.  Towards the end of the video, there is a lot of slapping happening.  Woman slapping man, man slapping man, man slapping woman. These clips are chosen to emphasize through repetition the frustration that exists between man and woman.  There is a definite breakdown of communication and both sides are unwilling to compromise and reach an understanding.  Man fears woman for taking charge of him and emasculating him and woman wants to have control in any way, shape of form, regardless of the consequences.  There is no respect for one another!

Racism was addressed through the image of the African American man who clearly resembled a pimp of some sort, utilizing women to pay for his bills.  He was dressed the part, and the body language indicated that.  So we have layers of issues that seem to have expanded over time.


I Live Here

Posted in Uncategorized on April 27, 2010 by ahmedn87

Like everyone, as soon as I read the collection I was able to understand and connect with all the journal entries.  It is hard not to connect.  I did not know what to concentrate on for my presentation.  It was obvious that the journals employed all the semiotic concepts we learnt thus far.  So I decided to read the journals several times so that I can gain a deeper understanding of what is going on.  I found that by the third time I had to consciously ask myself semiotic questions so that I can purposely look or attempt to examine the entries on a deeper and ore mprofound level.  By doing this I was able to detect certain themes that may have been easy to overlook.  I constantly questioned the author why they chose a certain color and why the depictions of certain names or animals and if there was a significance to the order of the journals and the pages within the journals.  To my pleasure, I found that there was an element of spirituality/Religion which further reinforced the idea of multimodal  semiotics.

You see… the journals are meant to appeal to all our senses and to a diverse group of people.  If you’re a visual person then the author provided that avenue, if you are a text and information personality, then she provided that, if you’re a religious person or maybe need to connect to something deeper than text and image, she provided that avenue.  So basically she is reaching out to all avenues of understanding.  Definitely, this was a very simple but yet complex presentation of what could have been a very bland and dense presentation of the displaced people of the world.

Producing a Remix

Posted in Uncategorized on April 24, 2010 by ahmedn87

This was my first time working on a project of this sort.  At first, I was horrified.  I did not know how to approach a project that was to be broadcasted to the whole world .  It took a lot of patience.  The difficult part was understanding that the work to a certain extent was out of your control.  With writing, all you need is to type the sources which you can easily acquire.  With this medium, you have to go through several steps before you can produce a final copy.  You have to convert files several times before you can create and then post your video.  Of course, your  computer freezes on you several times and the files might be corrupt and you probably have to download several times before you have a succesful copy.  In addition, pacing, cutting the clips and choosing the right place for them was a challenge and definitely time-consuming.

I came to the conclusion that video is truly unlike text.  Video affords the flexibility that text does not and it also allows for special effects.  With video, you can repeat an idea several times to produce a desired effect and that can be very successful.  However, repetition in text does not work.  On the other hand, achieving the desired effect can be very time-consuming.  It is not as easy at it seems, because what you visualize to be the message may not be what the audience receives.  So you have to go back to your work several times to edit and re-edit a single clip for hours.  This clip will probably run for a split minute/second.  You have to really think of all the semiotic concepts before searching for the desired clips for the intended message.  You have to examine the social, cultural attitudes of the intended audience.  Then you tap into the many visual and textual effects that can successfully target the intended audience.

In the end, it was wonderful to see the final project.  It was definitely worth the experience.

Pious or Oppressed?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 12, 2010 by ahmedn87

“I move slowly in the world ,accustomed now to seek no longer for upheaval” (Visual Culture, 1999, p420).

For decades, the Muslim women’s head cover has been a subject of great debate in the West.  Women who wore the veil or the Hijab (head covering) were simply viewed as oppressed, abused and with no mind of her own.  She is in desperate need of someone to save her, someone who will bring freedom to her, someone who will make her equal to man…

This view has recently changed into some thing more. She is now a terrorist hiding something behind the veil.  She is something to be feared, to be watched.  The image below  by Bruce MacKinnon is a reference to Cheryfa MacAulay Jamal, a woman from Nova Scotia whose husband was arrested in 2006 in an anti-terrorism raid. Qayyum Abdul Jamal was released from jail after charges against him were stayed on April 15.  It was published April 18 in the Chronicle Herald newspaper.

Now, although it was her husband who was implicated, she is portrayed as the mastermind behind terrorism.   This cartoon was published after he was released due to lack of evidence, two years after is arrest.

“…they objectively cut away slices of my reality.  I am laid bare” (420).

I am not quiet sure who the “they” are.  It doesn’t really matter.  What really matters is the change that every individual can consciously make to get to know each other as fellow humans.

The struggle continues.  She is now oppressed and a terrorist at the same time.  She wears the veil and it signifies oppression,terror and so on.  So what say you about the image below?

She wears the head covering.  Pious or oppressed?

How about the women below?  Are they Muslim women in the “madrasah” studying how to terrorize or are they pious nuns studying the word of God?

The point is, the media has a way of manipulating the public with certain images to stand in for certain misconceptions.  I would hope, that at some level, we all realize that we are all flesh and blood and that if we were stranded in some island, we will all become one, in hopes that we survive!

Class Discussion: Who is an object?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 12, 2010 by ahmedn87

According to Fanon, “I came into the world imbued with the will to find a meaning in things, my spirit filled with the desire to attain to the source of the world, and then i found that I was an object in the midst of  other objects.” (1999, 421)  Whilst this quote  is regarding the black man as seen through the eyes of the white man, I truly believe that in this day and age, many cultures and ethnicities can claim this quote as a refection of their place in society.

Everyone has been an object of a subject.  IF you are black, you are a criminal, an Arab is a terrorist, a Mexican must be illegal, a White man must be a racist and so on…  We collectively become objects, classified, separated and locked into boxes with titles.

As a society,we have over analysed each other to death.  We have come to the point where we can’t see each other as humans but as an analysed book and according to the book, this is how I should feel.  Although this process has enlightened many, I feel as though it has sort of distorted our perceptions, because before we perceive and come up with our own judgements, we are consciously or unconsciously exposed to misconceptions whether through the media, print or digital.  Therefore, one has to try to sieve through the information and decide what is truly your own perception of things without the manipulation of what we may have heard, read or seen.

What women want?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 5, 2010 by ahmedn87

I googled “what women want”, and almost every image that showed up objectified women in one way or another.  Although the title is supposed to answer the question in a literal way that actually reflects what women truly want, unfortunately everything about the tile suggests otherwise.  Take a look at the magazine cover beneath.

newsweek.jpg newsweek lipstick image by feministing

This is a  September 22, 2008 Issue of Newsweek that  explores the “Palin Effect,” what influences women voters, and why gender will not likely be the only deciding factor in this election.  Although the article itself me suggest helpful information, the way the title was presented sends a message that suggests something possibly sexual.  Look at the font.  It is written in the style of handwriting that suggest an impersonal or possible private letter written to someone.  Then there is the color red.  WOW!  I searched for the color meaning of red. According to the color wheel, red is a very emotionally intense color.  It also says that in advertisements red is used to evoke erotic feelings.  In this instance red is used to bring the title to the foreground.  Hall (2007) suggests that “when you see certain things as being in the foreground, other things tend to form a background, and in this way become unseen or go unnoticed.” (84).  OK.  So we have a title written in a personal way brought to the foreground, but there is something else. It is written with a red lipstick.  Is this a personal invitation to something private of sexual in nature or is this a serious article discussing women and politics?

Here is another political cartoon strip that objectified women in politics.  Although the images are simple but the text is the focus of this particular message.  If we are not objectify her physical image, then it is her character.  Are these written suggestions calling for women to be a little loose, layed back …

Tom Toles Cartoon

She’s a Robot Translates to Loosen up

Calculating Translates to make spur of the moment decisions

Distant Translates to Loosen up

Emotionless Translates to become a drama queen

Or maybe, this is how we want to see women in politics.  Look at the image below.


The man is brought to the forefront by utilizing color.  In one hand he holds a woman who appears to be  a lifeless doll.

Or maybe what women really want  is a man to be the center of her attention.  Below is a photo of Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt.  Whilst his focus is the camera-the public, her focus is definitely him.  And the title cements that need!  I wonder if the bearer of the look is only man, or is this what we truly ask for but do not want to admit?

Class Discussion: Woman as image, man as bearer of the look

Posted in Uncategorized on April 4, 2010 by ahmedn87

The class discussion was divided between work on the Remix project and a discussion that centered around Laura Mulvey’s  ideas on how women’s images have been essentially hijacked by the film industry that has essentially “depended on voyeuristic active/passive mechanisms.” (389).   She goes on to say that in a sexually imbalanced society “pleasure in looking has been split between active/male and passive/female.” (383).  Whilst this is true to a certain extent, I believe that it is the society that dictates how the woman’s image is presented.  Further on, even if we educate the public or create movies that give control to the audience so that they are aware of what they are actually watching and what kind of messages are being sent.

I honestly don’t believe this to be the answer.  Even though we are aware of the subtle messages, some not so subtle, we still continue to make informed decisions that continue to objectify women.  Why do we do that?  I really don’t know, but it is what sells-what is popular.

In some cases, I would even go as far as to say that women objectify each other.   I don’t mean all women, but a good number.  They allow for their daughters to purchase dolls (Barbie) that send an image of how to look sexy and how you should dress or how much you should weigh if you want to be a smart and intelligent woman.  If we stop indulging or engaging in an atmosphere that objectifies women, then the directors, editors, business people etc. whether they are men or women, will be forced to give the consumer (receiver) what they want.  Do we all know this fact?  I am sure we all do, but unfortunately the majority of people will continue to seek for what pushes the button!

I must say my first induction into the making movies world was very enjoyable.  At first I was lost, but continuous work at home proved to be a big help.  One thing for sure, the idea of editing movies to create a remix is more involved that I had originally thought.It is absolutely time-consuming, but the results are worthwhile.