Media Observation: PBS Independent Lens, People's Republic of Desire

People's Republic of Desire

People’s Republic of Desire exposes the baffling reality of how virtual relationships are replacing real-life human connections through China’s video-based social network YY––a hugely popular gathering place for over 300 million people in China. From the super-rich, who lavish virtual gifts on their favorite live-streamers to the very poor, many of them migrant workers in urban areas searching for cheap entertainment and a way to feel connected.  


Garman's Blog on Blogs

Review of three blog postings. April 18, 2019

1/3 Nan Design Studio Blog

Using Social Semiotic Method to analyze “FallingStars” on Instagram

Based on Jewitt and Oyama introduction, Nan used Metafucntions to analyze images in Mandarin language referred to as ‘falling stars,’ a translation into English used to describe a staged photo of a person facing down pretending falling off with luxury goods scattered around the person.

Nan used the aspects of ideation, interpersonal and textural to describe an image of a woman fallen out of a sports convertible, belly down on the pavement, with luxury goods scattered.

2/3: Joel Hughes: 62 Moons Blog

Joel posted his video “Where I Want to Be / Where I am” a video collage of a NASA image of the milky-way against a background of a web-browser “surfing.”

Other than the title, there is little textural information directly regarding the intention of this blog-posting. The title is powerful and speaks for much of the slow-moving image of the stars and object in space, superimposed over the hectically changing web surfing for information, also of interest to the creator.

3/3: Jill Sanders: Barthian Myth Lush

Jill posted a video of the environmentally supportive activities of Lush Cosmetics

First is an image of a Sumatran orangutang mother and child. Second is an image of agroforestry in Guatamala Third is an image of Moroccan women, with text in support of International Women’s Day. Fourth is an image of a man holding a poster regarding executions in California. Fifth is an image and text regarding trans-rights in the US Military.

These international concerns are then followed by an image of a Lush Cosmetics product with text suppuration the reason why this product is environmentally friendly.

This is then followed by two plastic bottles of water provided for life support of immigrants crossing the desert. This image is again followed by Lush projects and reasons why these are good to be purchased. This is followed by the last image of animal-free testing of cosmetics.

The sequencing of these images, products placed among critical international concerns, lifts the status of Lush Cosmetics by an association which could only be partially credited to Lush. The association is giving the company a status which they may not have fully earned on the backs of environmental and social issues which may appeal to a customer base.

The Players: Long Shot / Establishing Shot / Opening Shot

Opening Sequence Link

The Player (1992)

Director: Robert Altman

Cinematography: Jean Lépine

Writer: Michael Tolkin, (Book and Screenplay)

The opening sequence of The Player establish:

  1. Location

  2. Leading Roles

  3. Power Dynamics

  4. Plot

  5. “Hollywood”

  6. This movie’s place in film technique history.

  7. The Myth of Hollywood

Quickie Mart simulation from  The Simpson Ride , Universal Studios

Quickie Mart simulation from The Simpson Ride, Universal Studios

Fine Art / Photography

Comparative Images

Brand: Fender Guitars

Fender Guitars, part of FMIC: Fender Musical Instruments, has grown into a large world-famous brand for the electric guitar.

Brands: Fender Guitars

The original product was the solid body electric guitar. This has expanded to a range of guitars, basses, amplifiers, guitar effects, electronics, audio equipment.

What I Didn't See About Myself in My Car

Project A: Summary of Project A: Decoding & Encoding the Map 

Since the first review of my map I learned to ascribe significance and meaning to the object I packed in my car. Considering this was a major move, leaving more than 80% of my things behind, that which was shipped (not discussed) and that which as packed in my car, has significance.,


I revised my initial map significantly, as this was the packing map, 2-3 days before the final pack. I sold some times, which gave room for more items. I then labeled items by color and category, and created boxes by approximate location.


The iconography of the items is non descriptive in itself. There is no significance to the color. The base image of the car is from plan drawing of the vehicle. And the shapes and color in no way represent the contents,.

The intrinsic meaning are in the names of the times and the relative placement in the vehicle. Items which would not be used anytime during the trip were on the bottom and in difficult to access positions (books, paper, computers). Items of delicate nature (electronics, cameras, guitars) were placed on top. Items by passenger side door were for easy access, as were item directly behind the drivers seat and items at the very back door,

There were items of convenience. A place for my drinks and snaps. For my phone and tablet.

What I am not able to put on this map, are the many small items which were packed into any available space. Shoes in a bag, wedged over the tool box. A pillow behind the drivers seat which was less bulky and allowed me to lower the seat for getting in-and-out, and for naps along the way.

Paramount in my packing, or over-packing, was my concern with visibility, Both out the side windows, side rear-view mirrors and middle rear-view mirror, To ensure I could see a vehicle or motor cycle directly behind me, I placed an empty large packing tube with both ends removed. The would allow for thing to fall over and under while not cutting out my view of the direct rear,. I have been using two additional small convex mirrors, glued to both doors, inside of the location of the external mirrors, The passenger side exterior rear-view mirror had an additional convex mirror attached for helping me see the blind-spot created by the blocking of my rear passenger side windows, My map included the main rear viewing area, which would help me detect other vehicles, as well as avoid a ticket for a dangerously packed car.

Learning to Use the Terminology

Learning to use the terms discussed in Visual Culture and the other PDF readings is awkward for me to adjust to. Especially regarding my own works. The benefit of those terms is the ability to communicate with other, whether we agree or disagree, And only by practice can I become comfortable using them,


Revised map of my car, with modifications to reflect what was significant for the final pack,

Next Steps

Making a plan for this pack was not part of my nature, it was essential for me to know what to ship, know what to pack, and know what to sell, give away, or discard. There is a hidden pain not seen in the map which does not contain the things I liked which were left behind,

Apartment Map

Currently I require a new map. Not for my love of making them, but for me to organize my apartment and be able to find the items I brought and shipped.

Instead of the conventional labels of clothes, books, kitchen, I should use theory, myth, iconic, linguistics, tectonic, temporal and presentational.


My Map

Here is a map of a space which was personal to me. This is the packing of my Honda Element for my drive from Bellingham Washington to Roland Iowa.


TIME Magazine Trump Covers

TIME Magazine regularly features Donald Trump on the Cover. Some are photos and many are illustrations.

One image of Trump sitting on a chair with his back to the camera had an enormous about of symbolism in the way the props were were chosen and the image was framed.

I had misplaced this issue and the following issue which explained the photographer’s intentions, I will try to locate that information,.

TIME Commentary from TIME Magazine

Photographer: Nadav Kander

Trump on the cover of time. Oblivious to the meaning of the set and positioning.

Trump on the cover of time. Oblivious to the meaning of the set and positioning.

Commentary on the Image.,

From the Article:

The Chair

The chair chosen for Trump's Time cover. NADAV KANDER/AFP

The masterstroke, the single detail that completes the entire image, is the chair. Trump is seated in what looks to be a vintage “Louis XV” chair (so named because it was designed in France under the reign of King Louis XV in the mid-18th century). The chair not only suggests the blindly ostentatious reigns of the French kings just before the revolution, but also, more specifically, the reign of Louis XV who, according to historian Norman Davies, “paid more attention to hunting women and stags than to governing the country” and whose reign was marked by “debilitating stagnation,” “recurrent wars,” and “perpetual financial crisis” (sound familiar?).

The brilliance of the chair however, is visual rather than historical. It’s a gaudy symbol of wealth and status, but if you look at the top right corner, you can see a rip in the upholstery, signifying Trump’s own cracked image. Behind the bluster, behind the glowing displays of wealth, behind the glittering promises, we have the debt, the tastelessness, the demagoguery, the racism, the lack of government experience or knowledge (all of which we unfortunately know too well already). Once we notice the rip, the splotches on the wood come into focus, the cracks in Trump’s makeup, the thinness of his hair, the stain on the bottom left corner of the seat –  the entire illusion of grandeur begins to collapse. The cover is less an image of a man in power than the freeze frame of a leader, and his country, in a state of decay. The ghostly shadow works overtime here – suggesting a splendor that has already passed, if it ever existed at all.


Reading Set 1/1

Post 2
2019.01.20 Monday

Starting my readings for this course.

The First Set

  • 01_NewNatureofMaps_C2.pdf

  • 01_Notes_Panofsky_ArnolfiniPortrait 2.pdf

  • 01_Panofsky_ArnolfiniPortrait.pdf

  • 01_ReThinkPowerofMaps_C3.pdf

  • 01_VisualCulture_Intro.pdf

  • Van_Eyck_-_Arnolfini_Portrait.jpg

Readings 01


At Mom’s House



Maps, Knowledge, Power

Page 52-

Photograph by Garman Herigstad at one of his countless border crossings at Blaine WA between Vancouver BC and Bellingham WA.  Every weekend, Saturday and Sunday, between August 2015 and November 2017.

Photograph by Garman Herigstad at one of his countless border crossings at Blaine WA between Vancouver BC and Bellingham WA. Every weekend, Saturday and Sunday, between August 2015 and November 2017.

Maps imply geographical features.

Colonial History: Maps and Power

Carl Sauer: the eloquence of maps.

Theoretical Perspectives


  • Context of Political Power

  • Iconological

  • Value-laden images

  • OLD: Inert records of morphological landscapes

  • OLD: Passive reflections of the world of objects

  • Refracted images contributing to dialogue in a socially constructed world.

  • Not True and False

  • Not Accurate and Inaccurate

  • Not Objective and Subjective

  • Not Literal and Symbolic

  • Not Scientific Integrity opposed to Ideological Distortion

  • Selecting of Content

  • Signs and Styles of Representation

  • How appropriate maps are to manipulation by the powerful in society.

Three Eminences 

  • One: Maps as Language: Literary Criticism 

    • Semiotics

    • Specific Historical Enquiry

    • Historical Practice

    • Literature of Maps

    • Levels of Sarto-Literacy

    • Authorship

    • Secrecy and Censorship

    • Discourse

      • Those aspects of a text which are appraise, evaluative, persuasive, rhetorical.

  • Two: Panofsky’s Formulation of Iconology.

    • Identify Surface Level

    • Identify Deeper Level

      • Symbolic dimensions

      • Political Power Communicated

    • Pdf

  • Three: Sociology of Knowledge

    • Maps as social product

    • Michael Foucault:

      • “The quest for truth was not an objective and neutral activity but an intimately related to the ‘will of power’ of the truth seeker.

      • Knowledge was a form of power disguised as scientific disinterestedness.

    • Cartography

        • Surveyor

          • Paints the landscape “environment”

          • Territorial Imperative of political systems

        • Scientific = Cartography

        • Foucault

          • Surveillance 

          • Propaganda

          • Warfare

          • Political Law and Order

          • Anthony Giddens

            • Authoritative Resources

  • Political Context for Maps

    • Ancient

      • Ottoman, Mogul India, China

    • Modern

      • Italy, Scandinavia , Dutch, Portugal

  • Maps and Empire

    • Reconnaissance > info > civilization

    • Legitimize Conquests

    • Ptolemaic Systems of Coordinate Geometry ? 

      • 15th Century

    • Africa

      • European maps fragmented indigenous territory

    • India Partition 1947

  • Maps and the Nation State

  • Maps and Property Rights

  • Map Content and the Transaction of Power

    • Deliberately distorted maps

      • Cartography is  an inaccurate, controlled fiction.

    • Deliberate Distortions of Maps

      • Projections

      • Colors

      • Signs

      • Typography

      • Military

      • Nuclear Waste

      • Gerrymandering

    • Subliminal Geometry

      • Ompalos syndrome

        • Divine Center of Earth

      • Mercator’s Projection

  • The Silence of Maps

    • Influence by omissions

    • Discrimination of natives

  • Representational Hierarchies

    • Lords and Nobels

    • Castles

    • Feudal Order

    • Holy Roman Empire

    • Infields land

    • Ireland : Reformational England

    • France: Bureaucracy

  • Cartographic Symbolism of Power

    • Emblems on Maps

  • Maps in Painting

    • Orb

    • Coins

    • Globes 16th Century

  • Ideology of Cartographic Decoration

    • Title Pages

    • Lettering

    • Cartouches

Setting Up a Blog

Post 1
2019.01.20 Monday

Setting up a blog according to ArtGr520x_BlogsA_S19.pdf

  • I have not done much with blogging before.

  • Started a few times but I had lost interest.

  • Looking to see if my interest “takes” this time as this is an important part of this course.


Adding the ArtGr-520 blog to my SquareSpace page while visiting my mom.