Reading Response #1- Carlisle Olsen

Throughout the excerpt from John Berger’s “Ways of Seeing”, sight is examined in order to analyze how humans interact with the things they see and how technology is altering this. “It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but words can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it” (Berger 7). Berger stresses that sight is the initial interaction one has with anything, therefore prior to the camera, printing press, cell phone or other technology, all experiences were genuine and original. Berger questions the authenticity of speculating a copy of an original piece of work, or even an original art piece but relocated from the place of production.  For example, the picture on the left is the bedroom where Vincent Van Gogh painted Starry Night. The picture on the right shows the painting hanging in the Museum of Modern Art. Berger argues that to receive the original experience you have to be in the hospital room of Saint- Remy-de-Provence where Van Gogh painted this piece. However, it would still lack authenticity because it would not be the exact same surroundings Van Gogh experienced.

bed-van-gogh starry-ngith

(http://www.vangoghgallery.com)                  (smarthistory.org)

This exploration relates to my life because I see thousands of replicas every day, yet rarely see originals. This makes me value the aesthetics of an image more than the experience. This pertains to this course because media is often visually centered. This forces the content producer to consider how to create through replications, but alter the meaning to give the audience a genuine experience.  Berger’s theory on human’s sight not only impacts art but movies, music, literature and brands. A product that can create an authentic viewing experience has more potential to connect a viewer to the creation, as opposed to invoking nostalgia for the original.