Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Regain a Sense of Ritual

     When the field of television studies is associated with other scientific studies and becomes an interdisciplinary study, the theoretical perspectives and research methods employed in the field will become as multiple as chemical compounds. In “Domesticity at War,” the architecture historian Beatriz Colomina approaches television studies from the perspective of architecture, and this article helped spectators regain a sense of the ritual of television. Colomina claims that television is like a window that could "break" the architectural structure. This metaphor means that “public surveillance and control” (4) have entered into the domestic space. Also, she emphasizes that the visualization of war realized through television disturbed the private space. She analyzes contemporary architecture cases to demonstrate the close relationship between television as a window and architecture as a stage. To be specific, architecture can be seen as a cabinet for television; in other words, “television brings architecture within its frame” (15). Compared to watching a movie at the theater, watching television at home has less of the sense of ritual. However, Colomina believes that it still exists and quotes from Patricia Phillips, who says that “rituals that were once shared in a group are now shared in isolation” (10). Her opinion about how internal structure supports and services television not only expresses a series of spatial rituals but also corresponds to the ritual models of communication proposed by James W. Carey. In her opinion, television shifts the domestic interior into a battlefield (4), and household cleaning products are like weapons (3), which just suggests that the television spectators joined the process of war shown on the screen. Her idea about television’s function of realistic construction supports the ritual models of communication. She even equates the sense of ritual from television with the feeling from the World’s Fair (9). Moreover, the third definition of “cabinet,” regarding politics, used as describing a house, also reflects a vacuum in the field of hegemonic ideology and a stage of political power, which points out a characteristic of ritual communication. As I mentioned above, the public surveillance and control (4) moved into the home. Hence, this article instantiates the spatial ritual of television to regain the ritual models of communication.

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