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the p problem

…at the start of the essay, Sontag historicizes the poster as a form that arose from the Classical tradition of the public notice, from which it is now distinct. “Posters are not public notices,” she begins, “A public notice aims to inform or command. A poster aims to seduce, to exhort, to sell, to educate, to convince, to appeal.” She contends that public notices are passive experiences, intent strictly on conveying information straightforwardly, while posters are active experiences: “The values of the poster are first those of ‘appeal,’ and only second of information.” This value system is in place because posters are necessarily in competition with one another, all crying for our attention in the “theater of persuasion” that is the modern city. The poster’s aim of consumption by a mass audience is precisely what requires its production by mass distribution: cheapness is a defining trait. The poster is a product for the masses. Its twin goals, as Sontag sees them, are to build consumption via capitalism and, later, to build nations via mass political participation. “It is capitalism,” she writes, “that has brought about that peculiarly modern reformation of the public in terms of the activities of consumption and spectatorship…

interesting essay (originally written for ‘dot dot dot’ magazine) on the ‘problem with posters

m / 16-07-2012 08:31 - tags: , ,  

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