So, Homoworld is back up and running for a bit. That’s a surprise right? It was for me too….
You’ll recall that I put the blog on hiatus at the end of 2012 when I finished my yearlong project of self portrait photography and writing about LGBTQ news issues. The photography side of things fed my MFA thesis at the University of Kentucky (book incoming shortly…) and the writing and news aspect helped to thin out my friends list on Facebook somewhat. It also helped win me some new friends and also prompted some wonderful comments from other friends and family, some of which were quite unexpected!
So why is this blog back? Don’t I have enough to do? Yes, is the answer to THAT question. I’ve just started my final year back at school, this time in my second Masters degree program. I completed my Master of Fine Arts (Photography) program in May (Huzzah!) and now I have one year left of my Master of Arts (Art History). One of the classes I am taking this semester is the “Visual Culture of Politics” and it so happens that there is a blog project involved in the class. What’s the blog project about? Well, that’s going to be evolving over the semester but it will be basically discussing imagery in visual culture with a particular leaning toward politics. There’s a surprise, eh? Me and politics back together again. So rather than start a brand new blog off it seemed appropriate to dust off Homoworld once more…this time with a different slant.
This time around then Homoworld won’t be dealing with my images. It will still be dealing with politics but it will be dealing with politics in relation to images from other people and places. That may be traditional photographs, film, video, magazines, web, etc. Who knows? I guess as the class unfolds and the assignments take shape the blog will unfold too. It will be interesting to see where it leads this time. One thing is for sure and that is that I’ll welcome your input as the blog develops, so feel free to chime in as before in the comments section.
So with that, onto the first assignment which was to provide a definition of what politics means to me and to provide an image that relates to that definition as well. Well, the standard dictionary definition of politics refer to all the usual things like “The science or art of political government”, “The practice or profession of conducting political affairs”, or the “methods or maneuvers” in achieving a goal, etc. I particularly liked the “use of intrigue or strategy in obtaining any position of power or control, especially in a business or university”. Those all came from dictionary.com by the way.
However, I prefer to use one of the definitions that comes from my trusted source (of course) the Oxford English Dictionary, which is “The assumptions or principles relating to or inherent in a sphere, theory, or activity, especially when concerned with power and status in a society: the politics of gender (or sexuality) [I added the bit about sexuality]”. That ties in quite nicely with my main point of interest on sexuality and equality. That also fits in with an area that I’d like to look at some more with regard to politics, imagery, and LGBTQ issues and news. Of course the term politics can have many definitions and we can pick and choose the term that best fits the purpose that we are looking for but in this case, with regard to LGBTQ issues, I would say that this fits rather nicely, wouldn’t you?
So what of an image that I would consider to be political in this context which was the other part of this opening assignment? I chose to include this rather cute picture of Lance Bass proposing to his fiancé that he posted on Instagram the other day. What, I hear you cry? This is hardly political, you say! Oh but it is. Sex is always politics, especially when it comes to dealing with Homos here in North America. You certainly also don’t get much more political than being one part of a pop group aimed at a young heterosexual audience and then coming out as a big old queer and proposing to your boyfriend on Instagram. That’s a big bold statement for power and status in a majorly politically and visual way. So there is my definition and my first example of an image related to Visual Culture and Politics. From NSYNC, I give you Lance Bass with no “Girlfriend” but a boyfriend via Instagram. How modern is that? Welcome to the culturally relevant social media world and “Bye, Bye, Bye” to the old way of doing it. This image communicated all we needed to know and in a very political way too….