The Subliminal Symbolic Faunal Taxonomies and Bestiaries of Late Capitalism: An Introduction and Project Overview
Posted by Regrette Etcetera on July 1, 2009
Subliminal use in Visual (Non-video) Advertising
And the Fauxist effective techniques of media analysis (FETOMA)
After becoming accustomed to ‘reading’ or ‘shading’ images for subliminal content, One realises the almost ubiquitous presence of sinister hidden “embeds” lurking behind everyday commercial messages. Unintelligible to the conscious mind, embeds ride the fast lane to the id, luring unwitting consumers with appeals to their primal instincts. Advertisers use anything they can to hook you. We have found the word “sex” emblazoned on everything from baby-doll ads, to funeral service ads, to Las Vegas travel guides. In a single whiskey ad, We found a volcano, a mouse, a skull, scorpions, three wolf faces, the head of a rat, a lizard, a shark, a white bird, various masks, fish, a swan, a cat, a shemale and dozens of “sex’s”. What we have dubbed the “carefully calculated cloaking (CCC) of commercials” is designed to prevent members of the public (with the exception of the Fauxists, of course) from seeing media images for what they really are- seething montages of primal postmodernism!
The Plate of Prawns: An example of psycho-visual ANALYSIS
Turning our attention to an image, in this case a plate of fried prawns, We employed three of the above “Fauxist effective techniques of media analysis” (FETOMA): comparing, in this case, the media representation with actual prawns. After ruminating over the camera angle and a lengthy list of discrepancies, Our analysis ultimately boiled down to this: The place mat illustration is not a photographic representation of actual prawns, of course, but an airbrush painting. This is nothing notable. But, with closer investigation using but two of the FETOMA, it is seen to include nine caricatured human figures as well as a donkey astride a human figure. The donkey seems to be licking the stomach of the figure upon whose lightly shaded face is a long moustache. To the left of the prostrate face-up male figure appears a female figure with a highly piled coiffure. A head can be seen between her legs. Various revolutionary figures (note Marx at bottom left genuflecting suspiciously before what could be St. Augustine) also feature.
Who would believe a sexual orgy, oral sex, revolution and bestiality could be so deftly incorporated into an innocent restaurant placemat?
Now, being used to the extreme and mind-saturating techniques of the advertising-industrial complex- to the extent that some Fauxist Members actually go so far as to claim that people masturbate to “Playboy” not because of the blatantly pornographic photos but because of the subliminal embeds in the ads beside them- We can, quite easily, believe it! And We sense that We are merely scraping the surface.
The Symbolic Faunal Taxonomies and Bestiaries of Late Capitalism
Many of Us have favourite companies, think-tanks and designers, which We each find especially notable or enjoyable for their subliminal content, compositional skill, and visual trickery, and many of Us spend much time tracing the productions of these groups to follow their development, influences, discoveries etc.- just as other people await record releases or their favourite bands or new seasons of The L Word. We have found extended narratives running through campaigns, seasons etc, made by particular companies or designers.The images embedded in such images are thus not accidental, frivolous or meaningless! Their use calls upon the primal, subconscious drives and desires, drawing on mythology, pop-culture, etc for its depth.
Obviously aware of many of the symbolic/biblical associations of animals, sex, the body etc in the Anglo-Christian west, initially We had assumed that there would be a system of fairly mundane equivalencies or traffic between intent and trigger-image, symbol or text- the snake equates with/symbolizes seduction, fear etc, the fox, trickery, cunning, opulence etc. Though after analysing many images, We were able to collect, collate and tabulate the results and begin the meta-invstigation: that of the relationships between animal and content, sex and fear, which produced quite interesting results. We realised that most of the designers used ready-made tables of symbols and their symbolic content, to populate/animate their works with the most relevant and effective symbolic triggers. By tracking the some of which we were able to track or translate back to their source, and create what were essentially tabulated transliterations of their faunal sprite sheets..
After these lengthy processes were complete, We began to create a bestiary of animals used subliminally in advertising- a taxonomy of spiritual-sexual-psychological symbolism and intent of late capitalism.
Using the question: “So what, in this climate of environmental decay, hyperseperation from ‘nature’, and mixing/blurring of traditional boundaries of subjectivity and moral categories (nature/culture via genetics, etc), do animals make us feel?”, as an operating base, We are currently assembling a symbolic menagerie relevant to a number of cultural and age groups.
Stay tuned to Fauxist Psywar for updates.