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Our Third week lecture with Colin discusses Performativity. I had no idea what Performativity was so this was a good opportunity to understand and discuss this theme.

Colin first looked at Textual Analysis and Ideology. Textual Analysis is the act of putting everything in a text therefore every reading has a social and political dimension. There is no single reading on any one subject and no real sense of truths and balance. People, for example, could be watching the same film in the same viewer but after later discussion it could be seen very differently from one person to the next.

Ideology is what makes us understand the world and how we formulate the world. It draws up a pattern of how we should live. We can take the example of Therborn’s idea of Ideology to understand this further

1. It defines what exists and what does not exist

2. What is good, just, and appropriate and what is not.

3. What is possible and impossible.

It really comes down to how we perceive and construct the world. The role of the artist is to try and fit in between an ideology and break it apart and overturn it.

Next Colin talks about the Mediated Culture that we find ourselves in today. The majority of us are in a cross mediation in which we are influence highly by sites such as Facebook and Twitter. We feel we have more of a need to copy body language and style to act or come across in a certain way. I feel this could be the cause of the celebrity culture where young people feel they need to dress or act like them.

Another topic of Colin’s discussion started to branch into the area of appearance and identity. He started off by looking at more traditional medias as opposed to those on the internet. We were first shown Time magazine where predominantly faces are the images on the front, these are more than never recognisable. This was contrasted highly by Cosmopolitan magazine where the women and the women bodies are more the centre pieces of the front covers. Although Colin did some research into mens magazines, the mens faces were also the centre of these, just like Time Magazine showing that the body is more related to the female rather than the male.

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Judith Butler, in her quote below, looks at Gender Identity and concludes that it is only through words we constuct gender, its what we as other humans label it. This was highlighted at the beginning of the talk where Colin said Its not about your body its about social conduct. This was then shown later on through a series of videos that Colin has found. The first one looked at Punk and Punk culture and the way men used to wear make up and safely pins during this era. The next video looked at French artist Orian who is breaking barriers to discover what constitutes different, she looks at plastic surgery and ideas of beauty around this theme and finally a video by Ruby Rose who uses performance to explore the notions of gender.

The one that strikes me as the most poignant was that of Ruby Rose as she starts her video as a traditionally seen women and then transforms herself into a more masculine persona cutting her hair, dressing in a certain way and acting in a certain way. It would be hard to not think she is a man if we had not seen the entire video.

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The internet is another way in which we can hide our gender. As the quote below explores, the internet is like a mask enabling us to be who we want to be. This can be explored through the notion of internet role playing games.

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Colin looks finally briefly about Performative speech. He looks at how performative speech can change lives, for example saying a wedding vow can completely reconstruct your world. A performative utterance is one that changes realty (such as the one above) and a descriptive utterance is one that describes reality. Colin uses the example of a man sewing his wild oats as being a way of saying he is sleeping around, the female version of this would be a slag. This is an example of how gender and performative language interact with each other. Simple acts have power over us and artists aim to explore this.

“Through language, gesture and all manner of symbolic social sign” = The Perfomative Act

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