AUDIOVISUAL AND/OR VISUAL

It is indeed correct to assume that we live in an audiovisual world. What is more, the audiovisual culture is ubiquitous. Whether it is an art piece in a modern art museum such as the white canvases or simply going to a restaurant for dinner where our culinary experience will have a piano player augmenting our sensual experience with some soft music. Can you imagine cinema without sound? The silent era had to end once the world witnessed—and heard–the first sound picture, The Jazz Singer (1927). Even the great Charlie Chaplin couldn’t resist the use of sound. Could the famous gibberish song and dance performance at the end of Modern Times (1936) be as funny, poignant, and gratifying without Chaplin pretending to sing in French with his inventive gibberish? Probably not. Silent cinema was never quite silent in any case, as live music always accompanied exhibition of silent films.However, once we step above it and shine a bright light on the audiovisual culture, do we not see a separation there between the audio and the visual? Which is more powerful, more compelling? To be sure, intentional art can present a communication where audio and visual are intertwined, but there are two distinctly different cultures coming together to make this possible. And I submit to you that the visual is the dominant culture. Photography (in print and digital form), for instance, stands alone as a prevailing medium of “reality.” To be sure, reality isn’t what it used to be, and we have Baudrillard to thank for in giving us various philosophical treatments on the notion of mediated reality (see especially, Simulations, 1983). To be sure, the photograph continues to be the most competitive medium of reality representation. Just thinking out loud!

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