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Visual Culture - Essay Example

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Visual culture is a field of study that generally includes some combination of cultural studies, art history, critical theory, philosophy, and anthropology, by focusing on aspects of culture that rely on visual images. With the desire to explain what visual is, many aspects of this culture overlap with the study of science and technology including cognitive science, neurology and image and brain theory…
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Visual Culture
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This text will focus on psychoanalytic theories that evidently apply to visual culture. Designed to explain how this particular science that speaks of sexuality, creativity, repression, fetishism, drives and the like could possibly be applied to visual culture, work of two renowned artists would be discussed.
Andy Warhol's paintings of Marilyn have attracted much commentary from critics attempting to discern any complexity of thought or feeling in Warhol's treatment of the original image. With the fascination and argument it has evoked it serves as a perfect example that could relate psychoanalytic theories with visual arts.
Alexander McQueen, with his continually provocative shows and outrageous designs, has solidified his reputation as the bad boy of fashion. His choice of collections compels potent mix of controversy, creativity, and technical mastery had made him renowned and notable artist. An exploration into his art would greatly substantiate visual cultures relevant to psychoanalysis.
Psychoanalytic theory is a general term for approaches to psychoanalysis which attempt to provide a conceptual framework more-or-less independent of clinical practice rather than based on empirical analysis of clinical case. Its development is described as a primarily unconscious - that is, beyond awareness - and is heavily coloured by emotion. The term often attaches to conceptual uses of analysis in critical theory, literary, film, or other art criticism, broader intersubjective phenomena. For example, those broadly conceived as cultural or social in nature, religion, law, or other non-clinical contexts, sometimes signifying its use as a hermeneutic or interpretative framework. In some respects this can resemble phenomenology insofar as it attempts to account for consciousness and unconsciousness in a more or less eidetic fashion, although there are inherent conflicts between phenomenology as a study of consciousness and the frequent psychoanalytic emphasis on the unconscious or non-coincidence of consciousness with itself(wiki).

Some of the theoretical orientation of psychoanalysis results in part from its separation from psychiatry and institutionalisation closer to departments of philosophy and literature. Its diverse influence have dispersed its implications toward racial and colonial identity, distinct Marxist positions that had attempt to use psychoanalysis in the study of ideology, work in literary studies informed by philosophy, psychology, neurology, Freudian and Lacanian theory. Theory can be so expansive a container as to include the work of Gilles Deleuze and Flix Guattari, who believed psychoanalysis ultimately radically reductionist and strongly opposed the psychiatric institutions of their time. Sometimes it heavily informs gender studies and queer theory. Sigmund Freud, Melanie Klein, and Jacques Lacan are often treated as canonical thinkers by Lacanian psychoanalysts despite the considerable objections to their authority.

Freud's psychoanalytic theory provided a radically new approach to the analysis and treatment of what had been perceived as abnormal adult behaviour. Behaviours were once ignored and were rather substituted with psychological explanation. The novelty of Freud's approach was in recognizing that neurotic behavior is not random or ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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