Can Industrial Horror Ever Be Reified By Imagery?

There are so many horrific images of industrial decay, environmental degradation and rotting waste assaulting our senses daily in every city. Horrors such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch caused by plastics in the ocean. But are literal images enough to shock us? Or are we now immune to the nightmarish scenes, desensitised beyond belief? Would it be better to make videos that are poetic, using slow motion imagery and emotive sounds, to jolt us back into having some feelings about what we’re doing to the planet? Can industrial horror ever be reified by imagery?

In answer to the questions raised above, I would ask, are we already over stimulated by the trillions of images which assault ours senses on a daily, weekly and annual basis? Can the problem also be the solution, as homoeopaths would have us believe? Has the digital age made us blasé to the catastrophic problems our environment faces? I find myself posing more and more questions when I should be providing some answers if not solutions.

One could say that the Vietnam War was halted by the power of the image in its employment by the western media in covering that engagement. More recent military actions, like Iraq and Afghanistan, have been strictly controlled by the military in terms of what images the press have had access to. This in itself tells us something important about the power of images to reify issues and situations. The extreme smog, caused by industrial pollution, blinding the city of Beijing for its inhabitants, has captured the world’s attention recently. This is environmental degradation brought into sharp relief by the cameras of the world’s media. Where are the policies for waste management, pollution; and the environmental solutions?

“A picture is worth a thousand words”, is the old adage and it remains true and relevant today. “Seeing is believing”, is another. How we present these images, as suggested at the beginning of this article, may, indeed, be the solution to the problem of over exposure. Getting creative with sound and visual editing may provoke more response to crises around the globe. The danger, as in the prevalence of Photoshopping images of celebrities, is that we may be moving further and further way from the realities of these often dire situations. Will the viewing audience shrug their collective shoulders and turn away from overly produced visual presentations in advertising and promotions? It seems I am back asking more questions and ultimately not answering them. This is a complex problem.

Social Media Marketing and The #LoveTheShire Hashtag Campaign

In this article we take a look at how a council such as Sutherland Shire can use a hashtag like #lovetheshire to manipulate influential instagrammers to promote their area for tourism. Social media, and its inane superficiality, was made for just such a campaign as this. The call to ‘like’ things on Facebook and the hashtag thing on Twitter reduce human behaviour to the herd mentality of a mob of sheep (with apologies to all the sheep reading this). If you can capture the interest of the perennially bored and give them something simple to do it can really work for you; as in this instance.

The Shire had some rebranding to do after the Cronulla Riots; which just celebrated its ten year anniversary. Known for its bigoted ‘white bread’ attitudes the area exploded into violent racism, which was beamed all over the world. Now they are promoting the region’s natural beauty via their Facebook page and selling T-shirts emblazoned with “I Love the Shire”. Can a leopard change his spots? Will the superficial social media schmooze do the job of convincing the world that this part of Sydney is a peace loving home for a bunch of really nice people?

Probably yes, never overestimate the intelligence of twenty first century citizens, when there are things to ‘like’, hashtag and Instagram. Social media isn’t deep and the fact that lots of people spend their entire waking lives connected to its many forms must tell us something about humanity. Social media marketing and the #LoveTheShire hashtag campaign is all about corralling the inane proclivities of human behaviour and reaping the resultant rewards. Many people reading this article will be thinking, just now, how can I benefit from such a campaign?

Interactivity is the key to social media marketing. What simple little thing can you encourage others to do that will ultimately reward you or your business with enough attention to make a motza from? In the Shire campaign there are real estate agents promoting themselves among other Sutherland Shire small businesses. Altruism does not run through the veins of much social media and pushing one’s own wheelbarrow is de rigour on these digital channels. Self-interest marks out the modern man and woman.

Do you love the Shire? Have you ever had any strong feelings for any local government bodies? Is the Shire your hood? Will you be marching for peace and love at Cronulla Beach?



Can Conceptual Ideas and Software Be Better Visualised?

For hundreds of years Western Christianity conceptualised God in its own Europeanised image and the false images stood as accepted. I always tell anybody who will listen that the first marketers on the planet were proponents of religion. Some have called religion the biggest con of all time. What other business has a product you cannot see, touch, hear, smell, or taste, but rather consumers are exhorted that they must have faith in the product’s existence?

I sometimes complain about Microsoft and other IT companies, about the fact that they can release software which isn’t perfected; like Windows 10 for instance. These operating systems and programs can cause you grief whilst they are working out their teething problems. But in comparison to the business of organised religion these companies are paragons of virtue when it comes to delivering on their promises. God, whether you imagine him to be white skinned with a long beard, or something else, has manifestly failed to show up; and yet still his believers bang on about him.

The Judeo-Christian religions, which include Islam, as they borrowed much of their narrative from the Jews and the Christians, are fervent about the existence of their God at the centre of all things. Yahweh, Jehovah, Allah whatever they want to call him is supposedly omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent; despite the fact that nobody has ever actually seen him. Nobody has ever taken his picture in this digital age of trillions of images floating about in the cloud. Belief and faith stand opposed to everything twenty first century humanity revels in.

Can software engineers and other creators of concepts better brand their ideas to help the products stand up and be clear in their targeted marketplace? Can they learn from the purveyors of religion? Will things like sharepoint development take them to that same unimpeachable level where religion currently stands? Will IT marketing experts have the cojones of their religious counterparts in the marketing field to tell such bald face lies and smile self-righteously at the same time? Are Apple and Google, perhaps, already close to such standing in our modern world? Gods in the marketplace, but with products you can interact with, that do actually exist, even if they are in the clouds.

Can conceptual ideas and software be better visualised? Perhaps, like God, they do not need to be visualised at all. Their existence must be taken on trust like Windows 10.


Nudity, Eroticism, Commercial Beauty Myth Exploitation and Porn

Every day, the world produces thousands of new sexual images – where are we going with all this? One answer could be that the part of us that is driven to reproduce is adapting well to the digital spectrum and all our technological wonders. Our obsession with all things sexual is programmed into our very DNA. We like to look at nudey pictures, not because we find them profoundly beautiful but because we are turned on by them; especially when we are young adults. Human evolution is, along with all other species on the planet, powered by the sexual urge; without it we would wither and die.

Nudity, eroticism, commercial beauty myth exploitation and porn are all aspects of our chemically induced desire to reproduce. Love likewise, or at least the lustful side of eros, is at its core the symptomatic response to this chemical brew within us all. If we were all sexually euthenised, as the Christian church has long wanted humanity to be, humankind would fade from view. All those moralising do-gooders who would like to button up the flies of the world would cause our extinction if successful. Video sex flickers in the face of this minority, as does the huge Internet porn industry.

It is commerce that has defeated religion when it comes to sexual freedoms in the west. Religions wish to control the behaviours of its adherents, as seen in Islamic theocracies, and how it was in our Christian controlled western past. Religions would like to police your bedroom activities and hold you accountable for any perversities they would judge you to have committed, according to laws set down in the Bronze Age some three thousand years ago. Sexual behaviour is a natural manifestation of our programmed need to reproduce; you do not need a priest in the bedroom with you.

If parents shared positive examples of the love they have for each other with their children. And, by this I mean not hiding their affection for each other and openly making sexuality a part of their lives, then things like pornography would not hold their children in such thrall. Religions have condemned sexuality to live behind closed bedroom doors in the lives of many people. Inquisitive children will seek out information where they can and as they grow up they are compelled to do so by their hormones. If you want your kids to have a real sense of what sexuality is all about don’t hide your own sexuality from them.

Horse Racing Imagery: Beauty and Savagery

Does the sight of horses under the whip make you feel excited at the strength and speed of it all, or does it represent man’s inhumanity to beast? A cruel display of control over nature for nihilistic ends? The things that we see around ourselves mean different things to different people. For some, in the case of horse racing, these signs indicate a noble profession illuminating all who take part in it. For others, it is savage exploitation of fellow creatures who should be left to roam the planet unhindered by human pursuits.

The relationship between human and horse is a relatively long one, within our temporal conception of things. When people first stated climbing on the backs of horses it elevated them to a position of power; capable of travelling vast distances and giving them a strategic advantage in battle. Early humans, when they first sighted riders on horseback, thought them strange six legged tall entities. This is where we get the mythical creatures called ‘centaurs’ from. When new things are first witnessed it is difficult to conceive of their true nature. Similar things are thought to have happened when indigenous people on remote islands first saw an aeroplane.

Today, the horse no longer carries the brunt of humanity’s need for mobility or its military advantage. Equus has been reduced, in the main, to the sporting entertainment of the rich. The horse racing industry is peopled with wealthy owners who flaunt their wealth by competing for prize money at race tracks around the globe. The industry is also supported by plebeians who punt on the outcome of horse races in the hope of winning free money. Bookmakers prey upon these gamblers with free betting promotions to lure them in, before fleecing them of their wages and savings.

Horse racing imagery: beauty and savagery abounds, depending upon the eye of the beholder. The short man aboard the massive beast. The fat man in top hat and bespoke suit. The blonde bejewelled skinny miss in cocktail dress. The riff raff in the stands. The strappers in the mounting yard. The keen smell of horse shit. A day at the races can find all of these sights and smells. If you are a fan of the racing game, you will be enchanted by many of these things, but if you detest this realm, you may find it all a terrible travesty. You are the judge of all you behold, after all.