The Alberta Gallery of the Arts was a very interesting institution. There were structures in place that were socially constructed to serve the institution's own needs. For example the security guards were very strict and wouldn’t allow any pictures to be taken due to copyright laws. These rules are only to protect the Gallery’s own interests which can be protected because of dominant ideas enacted by the AGA. The hegemonic practices allow the gallery to control the actions of it's patrons within its walls. The photographs in some of the exhibits represented reality but how can one be certain if it is the documentation of an event or the creation of an event? The semiotics, or the meanings of the images, have intended meanings but when a person views an image their own perspectives as well as social and historical contexts in which the image is viewed also factor in with the interpretation of that image. The codes and conventions prevalent in society also affect individual interpretations of images. Media influences are extremely prevalent in society today which results in media shaping our interpretations of things. Because more media images and messages are consumed by each individual now then ever before results in our perspectives being heavily impacted and possibly changed by media. This is why we think that the children in the gallery were most interested by exhibits such as the Murder of Crows, the Storm Room, and Karsh's Theatre of Personality. This is because the first two had audio tracks which are similar to television or music that the kids would be entertained by on a daily basis. Also, the Theatre of Personality had a plethora of famous people photographed by Karsh which many would have been seen on television or in magazines which seemed to interest the children more because of this.
An interesting aspect of the gallery is the abundance of self-regulating behaviour that the gallery patrons seemed to be doing. No one was allowed to take pictures of the exhibit which is what we had planned on doing which then caused some anxiety when we weren’t allowed to. The security guards controlled the environment within the gallery. In this way the gallery is like an ideological state apparatus because it coerces and creates an imaginary relation to the institution. The gallery patrons are controlled by the arrangement of the gallery, for example the Theatre of Personality was a circular room which really gave the viewer little choice in deciding where to start. Also we viewed a group of high school aged girls who went through an exhibit and only looked at the left side because some social structures, such as reading, are so ingrained in people's minds that they do not stray from the ways which they are used to.
Overall the AGA was an interesting an unique experience. The principles of media we have learned throughout the course were exemplified by the structures of the AGA. It showed how media plays such an integral part of our lives with regards to perception and impacts that it has on our lives.
This is our power point:
“Boom Boom Pow” from the album The E.N.D. Written by Manfred Mohr. Performed by The Black Eyed Peas. Released in 2009 by Interscope Records. Produced by Boys Noiz. Chicago.
Sturken, Marita and Lisa Cartwright. Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.