Ways of Seeing - Episode 4: Commercial Art (via UBU Web)
Ways of Seeing was a BBC television series consisting of visual essays that raise questions about hidden ideologies in visual images. The series gave rise to a later book of the same name written by John Berger.
It would be easy to say that Ways of Seeing is hopelessly dated — made in 1972, the films come across as a puritan-groovy mix of Monty Python, the Open University and the Look Around You spoofs. And yet what’s so remarkable about this series is that it seems more apposite, subversive and thought-provoking than ever. The Britain we glimpse in the films, already alienated by spooky BBC Radiophonic Workshop music by Delia Derbyshire, is alienated even more by the passing of time. Alienated usefully, in the Brechtian sense; we look at a capitalist society which is like, and unlike, our own.
One way our own society is unlike 1972 is in the fact that, despite the enormous plethora of TV and internet TV we have now, nobody has made anything quite like this. In art history, the treatment of women’s bodies, in our relationship with objects and property and in advertising (the themes of the four films) the same mystifications and objectifications and manipulations carry on. What doesn’t carry on is analysis of them on this level.
Before I went to study Art at university, Ways of Seeing was essential reading before attending, despite being almost 20 years since it was first publicized.
More episodes and information about this program can be found at UBU Web at this page
NB - it might be worth noting that Delia Derbyshire is mentioned in the credits :)