For our Week 18 assignment we were given the quote :
“Power in the West is what displays itself most and hides itself best” – Michel Foucalt
Our assignment was to create an image which was based around this quote by Michel Foucalt and present it in our Week 18 workshop. My first task was too research who Michel Foucalt was as he was new theorist who I had never heard of before. After extensive research I discovered he was a French philosopher as well as a ” historian of ideas, social theorist and literary critic”. His theories often addressed the ever changing relationship between power and knowledge, delving deeper into how these elements can form some sort of ‘social control’ among society, especially within social institutions. Foucalt thrived on presenting his thoughts and theories as “critical history of modernity” and he ahs been highly influential throughout academic and activist groups.
After researching Michel Foucalt I felt like I had a different idea on what kind of image I wanted to create for his “Power in the West…” quote. Originally I wanted to portray the power that love can bring to society with love being a physical being as well as a emotion which “hides itself best”; however, after researching I did not think that love was a form which was ‘westernized’ enough seeing as love can be felt everywhere, not just in a particular part of the world. The image that I would have used for this idea of the power of love would have been this one:
I felt as if this image would have been successful if my final idea was to represent the power of love as the roses show a physical sign of love where the hidden connotations behind the thought of roses are what “hides itself best”. I suppose that this flowers could have represented “the West” as the are obviously quite expensive and have been put together in an expensive manner, something which might not be able to happen in poorer parts of the world.
However, this was not my final image I decided to use. I did not feel that the image of the roses related to the theories of Michel Foucalt enough so decided to capture another image which can be seen below.
This image for me was the opitomy of how power in the west “shows itself and hides itself best”. I took this image in London in early evening when the lights started to come on yet the sky was still bright. My ideas behind this photograph is looking at the tourist attractions that London has throughout it and the power that they hold within the city.
The London Eye , for example, is an attraction which is not needed within society. It does not serve any kind of formal function other than to be a leisure attraction, something which is used for enjoyment; however we as a society have been told by the Government that this is a ‘necessity’ within our society. The London Eye is a powerful, tourist attraction which brings tourists from all over the world to view it , therefore making it a powerful structure which then gives the Government the power as they are the ones gaining the money from these tourists, a situation which is hidden from the eyes of society.
The sky in this image excited me the most as it’s a very moody sky which I related to a foreboding power which cannot be seen. This foreboding power I linked to the Government as it is a power that cannot always be seen but that is always there, watching society and keeping their power to an ultimate status.