Public Media Spaces and Aesthetic Journalism

As Marcus O’Donnell (2014) discussed in this week’s lecture (Monday, 7 April), Media Spaces are not just about publication, not just about what media workers do but something much much broader. Media spaces are about what is happening broadly, across a geographic space, something in an intimate space, not just about products, it’s about the way people and events work in public spaces.

We have been encouraged to think about the way the media has extended into space and the way that media and art work together to create new experiences and to tell new stories.

If we look at the famous theatre production based on Matthew Shephard of Laramie, Wyoming, and Alexander McQueen’s fashion shows (you can watch his famous Joan of Arc inspired one here), it is evident that the artistic approach to telling a story can tell a lot more than a traditional news article on the issue being presented.

For example, if we look at the new project called “Not a Bug Splat“, we can see how Cramerotti’s (2011) coined term “aesthetic journalism” works to show a story rather than simply telling it.

“Not A Bug Splat” project

The project involves an enormous poster of an young, orphaned Pakistani boy being laid out on a field in Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa, a heavily droned province in Pakistan where the boy pictured is said to have lost his parents to the bombing from American drone planes.

The poster has been made large enough so that is clearly seen from drone planes and even seen in satellite images. This project is aesthetic journalism at its finest because the image is mimetic; it provides a view of a view, not just a view of the story being told. It compels people to look and think beyond the image. This is the reason Cramerotti (2011) believes traditional journalism is failing at its task, because it is continually diegetic and lacking in the depth, not compelling readers/viewers to look beyond what they see.

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