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The Image of Time: Carnivalistic Primitivism

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Exhibiting the Human Body: Carnivalistic Primitivism at the World’s Fair of 1893

Aimée L. Arcoraci-Davies
HAVC 191P: The Image of Time
Final Paper June 12, 2014
The World’s Columbia Exposition of 1893, also known as the Chicago World’s Fair, was a vibrant hub of exhibitions showcasing the latest in technological innovation and ethnographic inquiry of “primitive” and pre-modern ‘Others’. The Chicago World’s Fair was held to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus landing in America, but was held a year later than planned. The World’s Fair symbolized progress and the idealized society as portrayed through the “White City” and neoclassical architecture. This essay will be analyzing the display of peoples participating in the Midway Plaisance section at the World’s Fair as contrasted with fairgoers and their sideshow managers, the exoticization imposed upon the bodies of the participants through the spectator gaze, and the association with the rationalization of time relative to the turn of the century period of colonialization, mechanization of power and shift in time consciousness.
Viewing the fair using symbolical and rational measurements of time through a contemporary lens, I plan on examining the ways colonialism, entertainment, and hegemonic ideologies led to socially engrained hierarchical prejudices and racial stereotypes in United States popular culture. I plan on analyzing the correlation between the World’s Columbian Exposition’s founding principles of industrial and economic supremacy, and cultural advancement and racial superiority, that operated as a basis in a system that categorizes and restricts people into synchronized “types”. The body of work I will be researching consists of various sketches, engravings, illustrations, journalistic accounts, articles, and readings describing the demonstrations of pre-industrial ‘others’ as characterized in the amusement section of the Midway, in comparison with the architectural allure and modernity of the White City.
The Chicago World’s Fair glamorized technological advancement as an integral aspect in building a monolithic utopian society. Some technological advancements introduced at the fair were the first dishwasher, the Ferris wheel, Juicy Fruit gum, traveling walkway, phosphorescent light bulbs, and first alternating current power plant. The fair advertised the greatness of the country and omnipresent force that brought all the nations together (See Fig. 1). Together with the White City and monumental white neoclassical architecture (See Fig. 5), a strict structural visual dichotomy between the labeled “primitive” cultures of The Midway Plaisance, the African American fairgoers (see Fig. 4), and the white American fairgoers, made the governing mindset of the dominant society and ideological view of the exposition quite clear. How then could these conceptions have had an impact on social and legal justifications of cultural and racial superiority during the turn-of-the-century era in America?
In this example, using the historical term ‘primitive’, we are highlighting the social position of the people performing in the Midway Plaisance in relation to the predominant citizen-spectator role, and will be studying the people who are labeled as exotic and categorized in ethnographical “types”(See Fig. 2). Nancy Egan considers the Latin American presence at the fair and the contracting, trafficking, and poor treatment, of the indigenous peoples of Bolivia. Agents were hired by U.S. Department of Ethnology to contract “pure types” to show at the Midway and focused on attaining an “indigenous workforce for the ethnological exhibit.” By stating “pure types: meaning those peoples [considered] furthest from “civilization.” Egan also describes the contextual background of indigenous labor in Bolivia during the nineteenth century as having been tied to tribute on agricultural lands. “In many regions with significant indigenous economies and populations, any depiction of these communities as completely unfamiliar with Western markets, capitalism, or Western ‘civilization’ would have to rewrite the lived reality of export economies at the turn of the century.” Taking the time frame into consideration, with the ideological and patriotic visual of Christopher Columbus discovering the New World and the Indian inhabitants, fair organizers rationalized the collecting of indigenous peoples as appropriate to showcase at the Chicago World’s Fair, especially so that the fairgoers had the opportunity to visually compare the progress, as embodied in the White City, to the exemplification of the ‘pre-modern ancestors’ of the New World.
With regards to the architectural layout of the World’s Fair of 1893, in relation to the White City, the Midway Plaisance was “haphazardly” constructed without appropriate contextual evidence, which added to the phantastical Orientalist and primitivist representations of the cultures that were performed. For example, the exterior of a building that was fashioned as a mosque was merely a façade. Once entering, the interior acted as a space of spectacle with a coffee house set up and Egyptian girls dancing with young males, it was a most fundamentally deceiving space to those culturally literate about mosques. This doppelgänger brings up many sociocultural and historical issues concerned with the representation of the East and global South. The display of Egypt became effeminate, yet also alluring in the carnival setting of the Midway, also pre-modern and thus a part of another aspect in observing and measuring time.
How have the pictorial responses of the World’s Fair and Midway Plaisance evolved through time to impact the outlooks of non-Western societies today? How did the notion of “people on display” denote an erotic, fetishistic, or voyeuristic gaze and give the dominant engineers of innovative thought a vindication to exercise authority over the exotic or non-Western body? Certainly ethnological images and articles of the turn of the century had the agenda of supporting the world’s leading cultural and colonial order. With these circumstances, people were visualized and their bodies themselves were “treated as exhibits” through which time was perceived to embody an image of functioning in the spacious present but from the thickened past. Both spectators and performers were living in multiple presents. By operating a voyeuristic and fetishistic gaze the spectator degrades the subject by imposing an often misinformed, out of spatial context, and Eurocentric set of standards that illustrated the Midway peoples as less-than-human, savage, and uncivilized. These were also labels that were attributed to those who were originally considered non-European or non-American U.S. citizens.
The African Americans who attended the fair were used as models of unaccepted or “uncivilized” methods of behavior, although they were just as American as their modern-day counterparts, the white Americans that attended the fair. The common anxiety of the African American presence at the Chicago World’s Fair was made clear through racist caricatures published by a popular and generally respected American magazine. Harper’s Weekly was a magazine that prided itself on being more of an upstanding publication, however the magazine published a cartoon series about a fictional African American family, called the Johnson family, who embodied the notions of barbarism and solidified the unity of a grand American national identity that did not encompass a very diverse array of subjects, but encouraged separatisms through ostracizing the people of color and producing propagandistic material that supported a racist and conservative structured hegemony against accepting diverse peoples in the idea of an America united.
The Johnson’s image and ideas generated through their degrading and racist caricatures, although a fictional family, worked in a fashion that taught “rules of behavior” upon the readers, and to encourage “racial and class identification in public spheres through counter-example.” During the historical time of the mid-nineteenth century, freed Black people moved to the North, this increased tensions and anxieties in some of the established White population who “feared competition from [the newly freed Blacks] in the labour market and the possibility that they would continue to make social gains towards eventual racial equality.” White supremacists, and those who supported solely white hegemony, supported notions of binary rational and the structure of providing a framework from which to judge human subjects as ‘colonial others’ was a popular art practice and way of categorizing people during the nineteenth century. Loren Kruger states in his article “White Cities, Diamond Zulus, and the African Contribution to Human Advancement: African Modernities and the World’s Fairs,” that the power of civilization “depended on a paradoxical relation between modern citizen-spectator and colonial other.” Time works in this example by placing the people of color, and non-Western cultures, in the position of being primitive which was linked to an ideology that the people acted as “contemporary ancestors” rather than equal human beings, and were thus communicated and treated in a fashion that regarded them as insolent, ignorant and unintellectual.
Through communicating to a large majority of peoples in this style, they become further oppressed and disrespected. Is this a part of a continually oppressing and restricting world order? Despotic forms of interacting further limited a large majority to the stereotypes that defined them in this cyclical pattern of communication and dualistic manner of approaching the world. By placing them in a category of ‘primitive’, they also were not considered as being coeval, but were “assigned to a relic of prehistory rather than to modern time.” African Americans, such as Frederick Douglas thought that the examples of Africans in the World’s Fair “shamed the Negro,”, specifically with the display of the Dahomeyan Village, which displayed Africans brought from Benin.
The Africans in the Dahomeyan Village were dressed in customary dress from their village and performed dances that were not conventionally seen in the Western world. By showcasing performances such as the people of the Dahomeyan Village, it was amusing for the citizen-spectators at the time, yet it also kept Africans and African Americans at home at a distance; this proceeded to justify racial difference for the white supremacists who felt as though people of color should not be granted equal access to the social liberties and economic freedoms that the whites had access to at the time. Africans were also used in the industrial and educational exhibits at the World’s Colombian Exposition of 1893, which presented them as modern industrial laborers that worked in the diamond mines of South Africa. These men were considered to have been on display, yet also performing in the ethnological showcase that educated, rather than only entertained the citizen-spectators and encouraged a new interaction with the perspective of people of color. Not only did they perform in a modernized exhibit, but also their presence commented on the subject of production and mechanization of labor. Although spectators were still entertained by the notion of placing the people of color into categories of the distant past, they were also represented as having a significant role in the development of the society of technological advancement and industry.
How did the introduction of cultures from around the globe inspire citizen-spectators to look within themselves in a process of self-identity exploration and consolidation? It is widely accepted knowledge that the transportation of people from non-European countries via European employer for the sake of exhibition in cultural sideshows was a popular ticket to America for exoticized performers abroad. Scientific sideshows, operating under the guise of being anthropological, have historically brought in millions in revenue, and were a source of popular entertainment with imperialist aspirations and undertones. In the nineteenth century, cinema and the railroad had been introduced to American society and the representability of movement shifted in the cultural consciousness.
Scholars such as Gerhard Dohrn-Van Rossum considered the image of time and time-measurement to be culturally related to societal transitions “from an agrarian to an industrial society.” Issues in the conceptualization of time arose from transitioning “foreign societies” and their understanding of time consciousness became “serious obstacles to the modernization of societies in transition.” The shift to capitalism and the increase in the importance of mechanized labor alienated societies who were not producing the same output as societies who were generating farthest from the agrarian methods of production. The aspect of industrialization functioned as a symbol of modernity and rationalized time consciousness. Urbanization and the recording of measured time became symbols of European innovation and emblematic with economic power and spatialized time. The worker and the notion of the workday became an important aspect of national identity in the industrialized countries, and the flow of the workday solidified an individualized appreciation of time. The idea of the past living in the present added to the cultural significance of memory and instilling a grand narrative that made time a shared cultural experience which made life meaningful.
Relating these issues to political ramifications and the prevailing world’s cultural and colonial order of the late nineteenth century, in demonstration of imperialist lands conquered by European settlements and exploits of natural resources, the exhibition spaces appeared to have a realistic quality that made them believable to viewers. For example, there were villages and buildings constructed that appeared to have paint that made it look “dirty”, aged, and from a different time. This aesthetic contributed to the commercialization of the Midway Plaisance, and the representation of the commodity fetishism in a consumer economy. The Egyptian section of the Midway had realistic attractions that fairgoers could experience through simulation. They purchased their tickets for activities such as donkey rides and camel rides and to purchase delicacies claiming to be from the region of Cairo.
Through studying the representation at the world’s fair, the organization of the arranged view became an extension of European tradition in ordering and cataloging public exhibition spaces, which relates to the aspect of viewing a picture of something. Scientific sideshows of the late nineteenth century operated under the guise of being anthropological, they have brought in millions in revenue in North America, and were a source of popular entertainment with imperialist aspirations. The seduction of images in the entertainment industry is tied to the modernity of the world-as-picture and world-as-exhibition space, with the excitement derived from carnivalistic presentation. The realistic moving image becomes a reconstructed picture of an actual place or symbolic depiction of space in time visualized through an observer’s memory of the ephemeral. As an effort to preserve the ephemeral, images are recorded through mediums of illustration, photography, and painting and exhibit reenactment. Through the aspect of world-as-exhibition, scenes and objects are viewed as signifiers for the signified. The streets of Cairo and the presentation of the Dahomeyan Village were constructed as an example of the European Orientalist depiction of easterners and Africans from colonized lands. In relation to simulation, the Midway Plaisance operated as a simulated carnival with the signified people as capitalistic objects of desire. With regards to the Marxist arguments, scholar Walter Benjamin stated, ‘World exhibitions are sites of pilgrimages to the commodity fetish’ which encapsulated the allure of the production process and desire for experiencing the authentic. This process allowed consumers to connect with commodities in a phantastical way that distanced themselves from others and the realistic and unglamorous reality of the labor process. The material world encouraged consumerist behaviors among fairgoers and contributed to the capitalizing on the ‘other’ with the major success and revenue accumulation in the visual and material transaction of making the human body a commodity to experience.
E.P. Thompson related the experience of labor time, and the passing and recording of time as experienced differently in varying cultures. Thompson states that the “primitive peoples” measurement of time related to the process of the cyclical nature of work and was measured by aspects of agricultural pace or agrarian measurements of passed time. This related to the topic of time in the representation of motion and the swiftness of the task ties into the cultural relativity of the subjective response. Colonization affected time though representing the slaves, indentured servants, or laborers as the colonized subjects that functioned in a separate notion of time, which was attributed to natural work-rhythms tied to the land, and was associated with rural occupations. The groups of people who were considered primitive, many of those ostracized and put on display at the World’s Fair, did not necessarily own industrial capital, which categorized them as being unsophisticated in representation and cultural context.
Through analyzing the sociological and historical functions of the “civilized” segment of the Chicago World’s Fair, which presented awe-inspiring architecture, and groundbreaking educational and scientific exhibits in rationalized time, with the “primitive” part of the fair which focused on popular entertainment and tantalizing sideshows, and also subjects who appeared to have embodied time that was considered “backwards”/pre-modern and tied to the land (agrarian time), we better understand the societal ideologies of intolerance during the turn-of-the-century era in the United States. The White City, and actual fairgrounds, focused on industry and the machines of advancement, focusing on the newest and latest inventions and breakthroughs in science and technology. Viewing the fair using symbolical and rational measurements of time through a contemporary lens, the ways colonialism, entertainment, and hegemonic ideologies led to socially engrained hierarchical prejudices and racial stereotypes in United States popular culture has been examined. The correlation between the World’s Columbian Exposition’s founding principles of industrial and economic supremacy, and cultural advancement and racial superiority has been analyzed in relation to global visual histories of technological developments, as exemplified at the World’s fairs. The historical captivation and representation of ‘Others’ show us a visual-verbal nexus of ideas and paradoxes to analyze the framework of sociocultural and economic prejudices against people of color at the turn of the century.

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[ 1 ]. "History Files - The World's Columbian Exhibition." The World's Columbian Exhibition. The Chicago Historical Society, n.d. Web. 7 June 2014. http://www.chicagohs.org/history/expo.html
[ 2 ]. Egan, Nancy. "Exhibiting Indigenous Peoples: Bolivians and the Chicago Fair of 1893." Studies in Latin American popular culture 28.1 (2010): 8. Print.
[ 3 ]. Egan, Nancy. "Exhibiting Indigenous Peoples: Bolivians and the Chicago Fair of 1893." Studies in Latin American popular culture 28.1 (2010): 9. Print.
[ 4 ]. Egan, Nancy. "Exhibiting Indigenous Peoples: Bolivians and the Chicago Fair of 1893." Studies in Latin American popular culture 28.1 (2010): 9. Print.
[ 5 ]. Cantori, Louis J.. "Timothy Mitchell, Colonising Egypt (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988). Pp. 218.." International Journal of Middle East Studies 23.03 (1991): 9. Print.
[ 6 ]. Timothy Mitchell, Colonising Egypt (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988). Pp. 218.." International Journal of Middle East Studies 23.03 (1991): 9. Print.
[ 7 ]. Timothy Mitchell. 2
[ 8 ]. Cooks, Bridget R. "Fixing race: visual representations of African Americans at the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893." Patterns of Prejudice 41.5 (2007): 435. Print.
[ 9 ]. Cooks Bridget R. "Fixing race: visual representations of African Americans at the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893." Patterns of Prejudice 41.5 (2007): 438. Print.
[ 10 ]. Cooks 439
[ 11 ]. Kruger, Loren. "“White Cities,” “Diamond Zulus,” and the “African Contribution to Human Advancement”: African Modernities and the World's Fairs." TDR/The Drama Review 51.3 (2007): 21. Print.
[ 12 ]. Kruger, Loren. "“White Cities,” “Diamond Zulus,” and the “African Contribution to Human Advancement”: African Modernities and the World's Fairs." TDR/The Drama Review 51.3 (2007): 21. Print.
[ 13 ]. Kruger 21
[ 14 ]. Egan, Nancy. "Exhibiting Indigenous Peoples: Bolivians and the Chicago Fair of 1893." Studies in Latin American popular culture 28.1 (2010): 8. Print.
[ 15 ]. Dohrn Van Rossum, Gerhard. "Introduction." History of the hour: clocks and modern temporal orders. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996. 4. Print.
[ 16 ]. Dohrn Van Rossum, Gerhard. "Introduction." History of the hour: clocks and modern temporal orders. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996. 4. Print.
[ 17 ]. Mitchell 10
[ 18 ]. Mitchell 14
[ 19 ]. Thompson, E. P.. "Time, Work-Discipline, And Industrial Capitalism." Past and Present 38.1 (1967): 58. Print.…...

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...Images Project Paper Week Three HR587 Managing Organizational Change Professor Maxine Walker Mercedric Golden Keller Graduate School of Management Devry University The organization I decided to do my change analysis research paper is my Army Reserve unit located in Grand Prairie, TX. I was assigned to the unit after coming off active duty with the Army in September of 2009. The unit is a battalion sized training unit with ninety percent of its members being male Soldiers. The battalion mission is conduct training readiness oversight and mobilization of designated active and reserve component forces in the western are of responsibility in order to provide trained and ready forces to regional combatant commanders. The battalion supports pre-mobilization training for reserve component forces in accordance with our Higher Headquarters, First Army, Division West located at Fort Hood, TX. Some of the specific tasks of the unit is to assess and report pre-mobilization readiness for reserve component forces; conduct mobilization and demobilization operations; conduct counter-improvised explosive device, counter insurgency and escalation of force training; provide command and control over assigned and mobilized forces; and provide operational force protection. Most of these training tasks and activities have traditionally been performed by all male Soldiers since it has long been considered a male’s job to perform any type of combat related duty or......

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...Media Research Assignment: Body Image “If your hair isn’t beautiful, the rest hardly matters” (an ad for shampoo). A woman in a diet ad exults, “I’d probably never be married now if I hadn’t lost 49 pounds.” Society never noticed beauty because it is too busy trying to create it. What role is media playing in the effects it has on people? Today's media in America affects social standards, and many often identify the media as their primary source of information. The mass media serves as a mediating structure between individuals and how we address identity by sending a powerful message to society: only a determined physical stereotype of beauty is valued. Reiterated by other primary agents of socialization, such as families, peers and schools, the idea is taken seriously by individuals. Body image is a complicated aspect of the self-concept that concerns an individual's perceptions and feelings about their body and physical appearance. Media negatively affects body image through ideal appearance, health issues and self-esteem. Effects of Advertisement: Society is extremely immersed in media. Media portrays the ideal body image negatively and impacts ideal appearance through magazines, commercials, and advertisement. The mass media's depiction of women portrays a standard of beauty that is unrealistic and unattainable for a majority of women in society. For example, Amy Finley, a community leader advocating advice for women, discusses a healthy message that women......

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...and also, both share the similar style of being a mid ankle rise shoe. Image one is from the 1995 era, and image two is from the 1985 area. Comparing the two advertisements shows the effective type of advertising that Nike used in two different time periods. These advertisements for Nike’s basketball shoes are used to attract customers to buying their shoes by using athletes to endorse them, the images surroundings and background to give this you a personality, and the text on the advertisement to support the reasoning behind the shoe. In image one, we see the shoe up close with a spotlight shining down to enhance the detail with a solid black background. It is a jet black shoe with an air cushion on the sole. It has a combination of mesh and solid material that reflects the light. To the left of the shoe, the text contains both white and gray color. It says and large, bold text, "unbreakable. Lightweight explosiveness. The LeBron X” (Nike. The LeBron X.). The Nike logo also called the swoosh is above the text. From the type of swoosh, the advertisement is of the 1995 to present era. You can call this advertisement by the name of the shoe, LeBron advertisement. However, the second image is very different. This image is more focused on Michael Jordan as he is holding the shoe in his right hand at chest level. Jordan is pointing at the shoe and smiling while wearing his sunglasses. The text of this Image are not as large as the first, but they are noticeable and can attract......

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...management process in order to make the require changes happen. When an organization change its processes and working style for adding more value to the organization and its operations known as the change management initiative. The change management initiative can be done in various ways which depends on the manager of the organization. Each and every change management process has its own way of changing the processes and operations of an organization. The images of managing change are a set of six points which has the various ways of change management. Each and every image for managing changes has its own particular kind of pattern and formula of implementing the change which is different from one to another. There are six images for the managing change which are director, navigator, caretaker, coach and nurturer. These six images provide various style of implementing changes to the managers which may be different according to the nature and size of the organization. The managers need to choose the appropriate image out of six images which can be beneficial for their organization. Application Analysis The change management case study is related to the company Nike where thy company has made the major changes in its product range in order to reach maximum customers and to cover more market segments and customers. The NIKE was started through the production of sportswear which has changed now and the company is dealing in various other products as well. The change......

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