Rod presented a lecture on how different contexts can change the meaning of images, which interested me and got me thinking about my video. It was explained that people interpret images differently due to their own experience in life, such as gender, race, where they grew up etc. We all immediately assume that any image has a numerous set of meanings. Us, as producers, want a preferred understanding and meaning when creating an image or video. We hope that the person viewing the video interprets it in the way that we are trying to express it. Yet, often the preferred meaning may not be as readily accessible as we might hope. This is due to everyone reading and understanding things differently.
This then makes it very complex for image/video producers to negotiate what meanings to put across. There is a discourse, a set of ideas surrounding any field of knowledge but you cannot limit images to just that. This has to be grappled with in order to make a successful project.
Generally speaking this can be divided into two ways; the intention + the viewer who sees it and has a reaction to it, its reception. The image producer + image viewer – the difference between these two is quite complicated and often doesn’t make sense. Often the meaning is not inherent in representations but is surrounded around them, people wonder whether to trust their instinct or trust the image producer. As a producer you can provide something and express it in you own way, if others read it differently that is fine. With my production i want people to be free to experience the piece how they want, some may endure different feelings to others but that is fine. As long as they gain an experience through video i have achieved my goal, some peoples experiences will be totally different to others. Also specific points of view will produce specific meaning, so if i were to screen in a dark room it might produce more anxiety and fear. Perhaps i could screen my piece on a loop so that the experience can carry on and people can join or leave as they please, this might produce different feelings and understandings from the viewers.
Stuart Hall (1973) spoke about how viewers can willfully read images differently and take control, he discussed this in his book, Encoding and Decoding. This can be done in one of 3 ways:
1. Dominant reading – the viewer identifies with familiar conventions, they agree with the images easily and have an accepted understanding of the image.
2. Oppositional reading – this is the exact opposite, the viewers totally disagree with image.
3. Negotiated meaning – this is the most common and complicated way of viewing, where the viewer struggles to find meaning in the image and the perspective of the producer. So in my case they might be confused about what i am steering towards, if i am steering towards anything at all or just allowing them to have an experience through video.
So video can mean more than one thing and it gives us, as the producer, an opportunity to play with meanings and provide the viewer with an experience. This can be subtly or obviously, in my piece i think it is more subtle and i will just hint at what i am trying to express, to allow the viewer to experience and decipher the meaning as they will.