Reading Material – Marina Walker

Alongside this project brief was a range of reading material to extend our knowledge of the subject matter. The first of the readings which I looked at was Phantasmagoria by Marina Walker which explores ideas of the spirit and soul since enlightenment. The general argument is focused on why the presence of immaterial forces still exist in modern society and understanding their relevance. This links to my observation of the playfulness of snapchat filters and their popularity being a substitute for lost mythology. Walker also discusses relationships between the self and society and how the two function in parallel. Other key themes link imagination with cognition and fantasy with deception, which are all present in the digital storytelling we see on social media sites. My real interest in the reading material was not only the key ideas, but also the illustrations which accompany the text. Robert Fludd’s “Vision of the Triple Soul within the Body” shows the centre of a man’s head as being the imaginative soul with all five senses complexly linked. This is interesting when applying the same fundamental theories of the image to that of snapchat and my interests. It relies on the fact that there is an intelligent section of oneself which is imaginative which consequentially plays a part in the way that we interpret the real world. This further highlights issue of reality, but also perception and how the mind can change what is empirically truthful.

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A further piece by Marina Warner, From the Beast to the Blonde, discusses the development of modern day nursery rhymes and fairy tales. Walker reveals the darkness behind the traditional common language of tales such as Cinderella, and places these in context of the time they were written. There are also underlying messages of men and marriage, sex and money and family and power, which are all communicated through symbolic meaning. Once of the sections I studied featured a detail discussion of Sleeping Beauty and the cannibalism and savagery which is present within the original story. It is then necessary to consider why this has been covered by authors such as Walt Disney within his animated version and therefore these unpleasant details are disappearing through time. Similar to Phantasmagoria, I also studied the illustrated sections present at the beginning of each chapter. The style of drawing is arguably opposite to that of the visuals we see within a digital environment, however they at the core both types of imagery are communicating messages to an outsider.

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