Fear and paranoia are steadily on the rise throughout the world as a result, in part, of media's presentation of violent and traumatic imagery. The dissemination and reception of these types of images are consequential for a viewing public, including an increasing desensitization to violence through over-exposure; the potential for aggressive behavior by people of all ages; and the loss of a viewer's accountability as witness to a disturbing event. Black Box is an aesthetic investigation of the reception of traumatic images by a viewing public. In order to trace this reception, the image of the American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos), removed from its natural context, is transformed via moving imagery into literal, violent recreations of events and images present within today's media-soaked culture. The crow functions as a metaphor of the ways in which images are first read and then subsequently shape contemporary viewership. The use of video identifies the disseminating power of 24-hour media, with its telltale marks of time and sequence, recording and broadcasting. Moving imagery, sound production, and the metaphorical presentation of the crow combine to create a visual metonym for conflict and suggest an ominous threat of trauma.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Video art--Themes, motives; Video art--Technique; Violence in art; Crows in art
Department, Program, or Center
School of Photographic Arts and Sciences (CIAS)
Sheffield, Jr, Clarence
Shuler, Ryan N., "Black box" (2009). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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