Can Television Be Considered Art: Its Relation with the Mass Culture – Times Square Chronicles

Can Television Be Considered Art: Its Relation with the Mass Culture

Television is one of the most popular means of disseminating information. Technically, this is the transmission of images of moving objects with the help of electronic devices. This media came into life in the 1930s. and became, along with the periodical press and radio broadcasting, an equal participant of the “triumvirate” of traditional media in the 60s. XX century. In the future, it developed at a faster pace and for a number of indicators (information, culture, entertainment) gained the most popularшен among the audience. Today, television provides even more opportunities, such as using an HDMI-splitter. (You can read more about it here: Best Advisors ). However, such a wide distribution of television makes sociologists think about its impact on the mass culture, and art critics about the possibility to consider television as art.

Television and Mass Culture

Many researchers associate the unprecedented spread of mass culture with the development and steady improvement of the media. It is assumed that the entire development of society, culture, and the consciousness of people is directly connected with the development of technical means of mass communication. A change in the media entails a change in both the nature of the information and the perception of the world. At the present stage, electronic media again bring us back to the first pre-alphabetic stage of the development of civilization. It is based on the rumor-visual perception of reality, which gives the new culture an “auditory character.” Today, primitive culture is being revived, whose myths are now being shaped by the media, narrowing the space, turning the world into a “global village” and creating a new “tribal person.”

Television and Consciousness

Modern television has become the main tool for the dissemination of messages affecting the conscious and subconscious of people. Moreover, this can occur unconsciously, without any effort on the part of the person, and in some cases even against his will. So, for example, if a person is in a room where the TV is working, even if he does not sit in front of his screen, but only glances at it while doing other things, a significant part of the television information still penetrates his subconscious, although the person is not aware of this. There is an opinion of American sociologists P. Lazarsfeld and K. Merton, who note that mass culture formed by electronic communication performs an anesthetizing function in modern society, that is, “distracts people from real life, feeds them with fictional pictures, plunges society into a lethargic dream”.

Other researchers, analyzing the modern practice of mass communication, define it as a “dream industry”. Television is regarded by them as a gigantic channel of society, which reproduces illusions, spreads standards of feelings and actions, creates a dreamlike culture, without which modern civilization is inconceivable. With this approach, art can be viewed not as a means of reflecting reality, but as a reservoir of secret symbols, illusory signs, and images.

Can Television Be Art?

It is not possible to argue that television has a significant impact on society. On the one hand, the television programs allowed the broad sections of the population, who previously had virtually no access to artistic values, to be introduced to the achievements of world culture. But at the same time, the influence of television on the formation of culture cannot be unambiguously assessed. The commercialization of television leads to the predominance of violence, sex, and advertising on television screens.

Thus, television which originally appeared as an art form today is increasingly becoming a kind of “big brother”, forcing every viewer to think what he wants, to see what he offers, to accept the conclusions he imposes. Modern television imposes an orientation on the opinions of others, an inability to sober analysis of the facts, social adaptation, the omnipotence of collective stereotypes, blind dictation of the unconscious over conscious mental life. However, the original purpose of art was to give to those who perceive it the ability to reflect, draw their own conclusions, see their individual images and messages. Television standardizes all these components. Today’s television is no longer art in any way since art itself can never be massive.