embodied lens & gendered landscape (contextual study)

i have been doing a lot of research reading and writing this weekend for my contextual study. one of the things that came up during my peer review and tutorial was that the scope of my essay might be too large so i have been trying to narrow it down to maybe 2 parts/points relating to the landscape 1) the lens is part of an embodied practice 2) as such it is gendered. another point that came up was my need to include my own work. i guess i had always planned to do that but there is a part of me that already knows how it informs my work so i might not have been illustrating this enough. anyway – i have been reading some interesting material related to the 2 points i want to make and outline them below…

introduction: set out the scope of the essay – what i mean by landscape (a cultural practice), why i am writing this paper (landscape and lens relates to my work) what i intend to discuss – 1) is the lens part of an embodied practice?  2) as such is it gendered?.

part/point 1: the lens is part of an embodied practice, i am reading about phenomenology – the primacy of the body in Merleau Ponty’s writing. am also reading Sobchack’s ‘The Address of the Eye’ (1992) which also discusses subjectivity in phenomenological terms related to film and lens work. i hope to build an argument about how the lens directly relates to the body, is therefore an embodied practice and as such is subjective so carries with it the subject’s cultural values.

part/point 2: if a subjective and embodied practice, the lens is therefore gendered. this is the part i want to explore by including my own work. i have been reading about gender and body in sociology theory. i have also been reading feminist theory related to the body and gender in film theory – Barker’s ‘The Tactile Eye’ (2009) and Mark’s ‘Touch’ (2002). i am hoping to develop an argument that as a subjective and embodied practice carrying cultural values, the lens also reflects gender cultural values. i intend to discuss how the landscape has been gendered through the lens historically and place my work within the context of contemporary gender values of today.

conclusion: one of the gnawing questions that is emerging through my research reading and writing is that is the lens genders the landscape and is part of a gendered cultural practice, then that must place responsibility on the artist towards the audience in establishing or changing gender cultural practices. i think this might be a way to conclude – leaving an area that could be discussed and explored at another time.

all in all, although slow, i am happy enough with the progress i am making and have started to make connections between all the things i have been thinking about related to my making. i suppose that is what it is all about anyway. hope to post on progress and reading as i go.

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