Aesthetic journalism; how to inform without informing?
How does one inform without informing? Through aesthetic journalism
Art has existed for almost as long as humans have and in many forms; from the mud paintings on cave walls to the monolithic structures reflecting the empires for which they represented. Art was not just in the paintings or monuments but the very building of society, especially in religious buildings like some of Europe’s most recognisable churches. However following Martin Luther’s publication in 1517 the secularization of art begun to take place, leading to art being not only creative but a source of reliable knowledge; informing without informing. One of the earliest forms of aesthetic journalism was Johan Moritz Rugendas, who produced paintings and drawings depicting scientific findings on his visits to Latin America.
More modern examples of aesthetic journalism include the 1974 ‘No Lies’ cinematic interview designed by film student Mitchell Block. In the piece a man turns a camera on a young woman who, unbeknownst to the audience is actually an actress, and begins to ask her questions until she breaks down and confess to being a rape victim. This was presented with no introduction from the director and many believed it was a piece of ‘direct cinema’ which “revealed the making of the film to reflect the subject of the film itself”.
Another form of Aesthetic journalism is ‘Culture Jamming’; which is the act of using existing media such as billboards, bus-ads, posters, and other ads to comment on those very media themselves or on society in general
A recent example of ‘culture jamming’ was seen in 2010, UK graffiti artist and activist, Banksy, wrote the opening sequence to an episode of The Simpsons entitled ‘moneybart’. The sequence gives a very sombre feeling to everybody’s favourite yellow cartoon family and commentates on Fox’s use of Korean workshops to produce their shows. This semi satirical and yet bleak opening manages to inform audiences about Korean sweat shops while still introducing the credits; and therefore almost not informing at all.
MACQUEEN, K. (2010), AESTHETIC JOURNALISM: HOW TO INFORM WITHOUT INFORMING BY ALFREDO CRAMEROTTI. The Art Book, 17: 62. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8357.2010.01137_14.