Catalyst story

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-37624872

Broken down version of story:

Characters: Andrew Webb, Emma Drew, Katy Stevens

Plot:

They are all on the hunt for yellow stickers.

Andrew goes in supermarkets looking specifically for yellow stickers. He says he has a problem.

Emma and her husband split up on xmas Eve but they still went shopping for reduced food together. Every night at 7.30 she goes into supermarkets looking for bread reduced to 10p.

Katy is always on the lookout for the glistening yellow stickers between 5pm and 7pm. Her favourite time to go hunting for bargains is the day before a bank holiday or xmas.

Themes: Obsession with bargains, an attraction for the colour yellow, a deep love of food.

Setting: The reduced-to clear aisles of supermarkets, usually in the evening. In England.

 

Reimagined story:

find the bit you hate and swap it around: the location (England) and era (modern day)

The story is set in New York in the 1920s. This is the era where clubs are illegal because alcohol is prohibited. There is an illegal supermarket hidden somewhere in New York where people go at night. Its gloomy artificial lighting is similar to a club. People wear tight lycra trousers and glitter suits underneath their long grey coats and sneak through dimly lit streets to find the supermarket. The supermarket is an antique shop on the outside but on the inside it’s a modern day Sainsbury’s. The yellow stickers are in the alcohol section, but everything British is illegal in the US so people are smuggling baked beans and HP sauce as well. All the colours in the supermarket are bright and they glow, especially the yellow sticker section. People go there to dance, to meet and to buy illegal products. Mainly the working class poor go there, as rich families get away with sneakily having cellars full of liquor. It is a secret club called the ‘Yellow stickers’. No one talks about it during the day time, people that go to that club pass each other in the street and make eye contact but they have to pretend they don’t know each other. The only way of showing they are a member of this club is because they all have a yellow circle sewn on the inside of their coat pocket. We don’t know these people’s names and we rarely see their face in the daytime but in the night time they transform completely and they reveal the deepest most twisted fantasy of who they really want to be. The nights in the supermarket are full of excess, debauchery and overindulgence.

 

 

Inspiration for the story taken from The Great Gatsby, Fight Club, A Clockwork Orange.

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Gaze diagram

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My primary resource is an advert in the London tube that was banned in April 2015. It shows a conventionally attractive woman wearing a bright yellow bikini. Her body type is very toned, athletic, slender yet curvy. She has fair skin and hair, full lips, a small nose and defined cheekbones. This in modern society is considered to be beautiful and it is a standard women are often held up to. Next to her the ad says ‘Are you beach body ready?’.  It is extremely eye catching due to the bright yellow bikini and background. The viewer of this ad, targeted at teenage and adult women, will look at it and compare themselves to this very white caucasian and limited vision of beauty.

According to Michael Foucault, ‘subject and object, spectator and model reverse their roles into infinity’ (1966). Essentially, women that come across this advert cannot ignore it because of its’ loud and obnoxious appearance. This ad is designed so the viewer will be immediately drawn to it, see the model in the bikini first, then the tag line and in third place the actual product, namely ‘the weight loss collection’ by Protein World. The simple question ‘Are you beach body ready?’ suggests that the woman looking at this probably isn’t and she needs to lose weight as a result of that. This isn’t really an advert about going to the beach, this is an excuse to continuously demonise and persecute women’s bodies for  having fat and cellulite in their natural state. This is done because the industry relies on women feeling bad about their bodies to make money. The viewer of this ad is however also capable of rupturing the male, patriarchal gaze and recognising this ad as being unrealistic and unattainable. According to Bell Hooks this is called the Oppositional Gaze (1999). The ad has indeed been taken down because of the controversy it caused and because people kept subverting it by writing messages on it or destroying it.

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The underlying problem is that the Oppositional Gaze is mainly female. Many men will walk past adverts like this every day and see no problem in them because they are not being targeted, and the objectified woman in the picture is also there for their ‘enjoyment’. Women that have spoken up against this ad have received abuse from the company and its CEO Arjun Seth. BBC reporter Juliette Burton was one of the many people to sign the petition to remove the ad, and she received tweets from the company saying she shouldn’t make her own insecurities their problem, and accusing her of being unbalanced and confused due to her mental illness and eating disorder (2015). The company went on to tweet ‘We are a nation of sympathisers for fatties #doesnthelpanyone’. This is a classic example of everyday sexism in an industry where men take control of the way women see themselves.

Reference list:

The Order Of Things (Michael Foucault, 1966)

The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female Spectators (Bell Hooks, 1999)

Burton, J. (2015) Viewpoint: My twitter battle with the people behind the beach body ad. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-ouch-32497580 (Accessed: 18/10/16)

The distortion of the female body in the media

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These prints were made as part of my research for my current project, which deals with the way the female body is represented in the media. I am interested in themes such as periods, hair, shaving, fat and body odours. The media tries to distort the way we view our bodies so that we are always trying to modify it and make it more ‘attractive’. All images in the media tell us that things that are naturally part of our bodies (hair, blood, sweat, the occasional roll of fat) are disgusting and should be eliminated. My role is to challenge that stereotype and show how ridiculous all of it truly is.

Punk Graphic Design

Punk subculture stems from punk rock music which originated in the UK in the mid-70s. Far from being a movement only about music, punk subculture has had a large influence on many forms of art including fashion, film, dance and visual art. Punk ideology is all about freedom, non-conformity and opposition to the status-quo, and its artistic practise usually carries strong political and social messages. Album covers, flyers, zines and posters are common forms of punk art : ‘Outside of punk’s torn and safety pinned anti-fashion statements, this impulse to outrage was never more apparent than on punk album covers’ (Mark Vallen).

Punk graphic design has a distinctive look and feel to it, it often has quite bold and aggressive type, a lot of black and vibrant colours (red,blue, yellow, pink) and quite striking or bold imagery. One of the most famous punk artworks is the Sex Pistols ‘God Save the Queen’ poster which was designed by Jamie Reid. It was described as ‘the most iconic image of the punk era’ (Sean O’Hagan, The Observer). Jamie Reid was among the most important graphic designers of the punk era, and he is the author of many iconic album covers and posters. The most notable feature of Reid’s work is probably his newspaper cutout typography which was considered quite shocking and uncanny at the time (bearing a resemblance to ransom notes), but it has since then had an important influence on design and been emulated many a time.

 

XTC’s ‘Go 2 Album’ cover (designed by art group Hipgnosis) represents to me everything that punk ideology is about. This cramped white text on a black background is an essay about how album covers are used as a tool to attract customers, and is in itself a critique of capitalism and of the bourgeois hypocrisy. It is subversive in the way that it looks, so insolently dull and basic, questioning the reader’s freedom of thought as they are accused of being puppets of the consumer society.

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