Spring 2009 Senior Thesis Exhibition

Heidi Mitchell


In almost every living room across America, there is a window. Some may say that we worship this window. We arrange all of our furniture to face it, and we pay to subscribe to it. Each night we open the window and invite all of its messages to stream in. But what are those messages? What do popular television shows and advertisements tell us about ourselves and who we should be?

For this series I chose several messages that I felt were being sent to the viewers constantly: women should be beautiful, men should be handsome and strong, our relationships should resemble fairy tales, food is to be worshipped, happiness can be purchased, and violence is an acceptable form of entertainment.

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Heidi Mitchell


We live in a society that teaches us these things from a very young age. Children are indoctrinated with the false religion presented to them by popular culture, and television seems to be the main source of the problem. As those children turn into adults, they continue to be fed a stream of information that often alters their view of their own lives and the world.

Studies have shown that watching television can become an addiction because of the endorphins released by our brains while watching. At the same time we are becoming addicted, our brains are actually shutting down. One researcher stated that watching television was "neurologically analogous to staring at a blank wall". Television is the perfect medium for brainwashing. We sit down, turn off our brains, and ask someone else to tell us what to think.

When I pause the image on the television and document it, I am able to freeze what would normally fly by us at 30 frames per second. Freezing the imagery forces us to confront the message that we're being sent. I hope that these photographs serve as a reminder of the power of imagery and cause us to question what is being told to us every time we turn on the television.


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