Media Aesthetics Contextualism in Applied Media Aesthetics

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  • Media AestheticsContextualism in Applied Media Aesthetics

  • Formal ElementsLightColorMotionSound

  • You make aesthetic choices everyday that you dont even realize.

  • What you wear to schoolSome things include:Judging the speed of another car by yoursSimply saying I know what I like

  • No longer limit aesthetics to traditional understanding of art

    It is a formalist analysis

  • Formalist analysis = understanding what the context is within the art

  • Say what? . . . . No its not an abstract concept.You will use a process to examine a number of media elements and gain your perception of their use

  • Looking at things like light and picture compositionHow they interact and our own perceptual reactions to them.


  • Second.The media (mainly TV and film) are no longer considered a neutral means of messaging

  • Third.Whereas traditional aesthetics is basically restricted to analysis of existing works of art

  • Applied media aesthetics serves synthesis as well

  • Fourth.You employ formative evaluationYou evaluate the relative communication effectiveness step-by-step while it is in progress

  • Applied AestheticsArt is part of everyday life; yet is separate from everyday life

  • It is an experience that isClarifiedIntensifiedInterpreted

  • Looking through the viewfinder of a camera, arranging things on a screen or editing a film all engage you in clarifying, intensifying and interpreting

  • Helpful conceptWe focus more on the Form of the message more than its content

  • Contextual AestheticsWhat and how we perceive an event is greatly influenced by its context.

  • Contextual AestheticsAlsodemonstrates connection of major aesthetic fieldsLight, space, time/motion and sound.

  • Contextual AestheticsOrganizes variety of aesthetic element in each field to show relationship with one another

  • Contextual PerceptionWe understand art on a basis of contextualistic aesthetics and our own understanding

  • Contextual Perception includesOur need to stabilize the environment

    Our tendency towards selective perceptionThe associative process of linking certain elements together in a pattern. Known as CULTURE

  • Culture is based on SYMBOLSThings that represent something else

  • Aesthetic contextThe framework in which we have responses to the aesthetic stimuli presented to us

  • The framework includes our own previous experience of the world

  • This is called associative context; our own code we establish that to some extent dictates how you should interpret what you see

  • Associative context is Culture-bound

  • Context is importantWe respond to certain stimuli in predictable ways even when we know its perceptual manipulation

  • Good example of thisOptical Illusions

  • Because humans respond certain, predictable ways

  • We can predict with reasonable accuracy how people will respond to certain specific aesthetic stimuli in our own art

  • As a creative artistYou decide where to place the camera or microphone

  • Therefore the viewers have no choice but to share your point of view

  • Method: InductiveRather than analyzing existing elements, we seek the 5 fundamental image elements of TV and film


  • LightVisible radiant energy that effects the way the scene is presented by how the viewer sees the light

  • LightManipulates and articulates the perception of our environmentCreates specific feeling

  • LightReveals surfacesCreates shadows which help to control perception

  • LightVarious formats to considerCast or attached shadowsThe Falloff Low key lightHigh key lightBelow eye level light

  • Attached shadowCan suggest: Relative location or mood

  • Cast shadowCan suggest: Locale and Mood

  • FalloffUsed to determineThe brightness contrast between the light and shadow sides of an objectThe rate of change from light to shadow

  • Slow- diffused light, little brightness contrast between the two sides and the attached shadows are transparentFalloff rate of change

  • Falloff rate of changeFast- big contrast between the light and dark sides without levels in between. Typically has dark, attached shadows

  • FalloffFast or slow fall off?Think about: the shadows and contrast!!

  • Low-key LightingLeaves background and part of the scene predominantly dark

  • High Key LightingScene has abundance of bright lighting, slow fall-off and a light background

  • Below Eye-Level When the light source strikes from the bottom, the shadows are opposite of their expected position

  • LightUse of light can entail setting the mood, creating emotion or suspense, setting the season or time of day, or distinguishing an atmosphere

  • Structuring the lightExample of structures:ChiaroscuroRembrandt CameoSilhouetteDigital

  • ChiaroscuroSingle direction for light sourceSelective lightingLow keyFast fall off

  • Chiaroscuro

  • RembrandtSelectiveLow keyFast falloffDark but not black environment

  • Rembrandt

  • CameoDirectional lightsFast falloffFigure lit but background is black

  • Cameo

  • SilhouetteEvenly lit backgroundNo shadows but the figures within the imageNo illumination on figuresSeems as though they are cut outs

  • Silhouette

  • Digital Edge glowsCreated by digital means such as special-effects equipment or computer programsCan also be the use of programs to enhance present elements such as contrast or shadows

  • Digital

  • Lighting is the deliberate control of light and shadows to fulfill specific aesthetic objectives relating to outer and inner orientation within the medium

  • Get out a piece of paperStudy the next image, use your notes to describe the use of lighting. Consider things such as the falloff, low or high key use, the structure and shadows.Discuss how the director used the aesthetic element of light to create perception in the aesthetic context of the image.

  • What is the director trying to convey to you? What do you perceive?