Visual culture

Signs+ pictures have a cultural identity and you need to already know the meaning of them to be able to understand them.

Big brother eye-where does big brother come from?

Big brother-1984 George Orwell book, being watched by the thing you are watching.

I did not recognize this image when shown as it did not have any cultural meaning to me. hence all I saw was a meaningless image.

Big brother

Intertextuality -one text is the TV show, also relates to the book by George Orwell.

Denote-what the image is

Connote(connotation)-suggested by the image

Polycemic-many meaning.

Media favours the negative/depressing/sad(bad news sells).

Untitled picture

Big brother-

Did not mean any thing to me.

As I am from a different culture, all I saw

Was an eye.


What does it mean to you?

Depending on your cultural background,

it will have a very different meaning.

In my culture the swastika is a very

auspicious sign, It goes back to the Vedic


The symbol of the swastika has been in use

for over 3000 years.

Original meaning-Life, sun, power, strength,

and good luck




Untitled pictureSwastika

The Nazi flag ,the swastika soon became a

symbol of hate, anti-Semitism, violence,

death and murder.

The Nazis were so effective at their use of the swastika symbol, that many do not even know or remember the other meaning of the swastika.


How to find the meaning of an image-

1- Describing and interpreting

2- Denotation and Connotation

3- Signifie and signified

to describe a visual artefact of any kind we begin with gathering data-what is here?-what an I looking at?-what do I know with certainty about this image?

It  is a close examination of those elements we can clearly and accurately identify.


Mass media provides us with- information, entertainment, ideas, opinions.

Yes culture has a lot to do with the way we look at things.

Culture can refer to text and symbols which are encoded specifically by and for people with the same cultural identification.

Sender-message-receiver( encodes-medium-decodes)

The medium is the channel or means of communicating.

Medium-newspaper-television-film-radio-internet and so on.

You know if your message has been understood correctly by the feedback you receive.

i.e you can understand everything I have written so far, and can give me feedback on it.

लेकिन आपको यह समझमें नहीं आएगा.

But you will not be able to interpret the sentence I have just written. But if you were from the same cultural background as me you would be able to read and understand it.


Mass media enables the decoding and translation of messages on a very large scale.

Mass media started with the newspapers in the 1850’s and photographs in the 1880’s,the cinema in the 1900’s,the radio in the 1920’s, the television in the 1950’s and finally the internet in the 1990’s.

I agree with Mcluhan in the phrase-Human communication through electronic mass media would result in a collapse of time and space barriers, allowing people to interact and live on a global scale, rendering national boundaries meaningless.

On the other hand we have become dependant on mass media to know what is going on in the world.


Mistrust of popular culture-in my opinion some popular culture deservs to be mistrusted and yes they are thought to debase or degrade cultural traditions and standards, as an Indian I do not agree with some of the things shown on the media, on the other hand if it was not for the media I would not be putting forward my opinion on popular culture as there would be none.


Mass media has been an eye opener for some cultures.

i.e. back in India, in my village we only got satellite TV recently. And I remember one of my neighbours asking me if it was true that whales he had never seen anything like that before, and wanted to know if what he was seeing on the television was true.

So in some respects wide scale mass media has it’s benefits, by spreading awareness on a large scale.

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