The anthropological significance of posters in a multimedia age
('Francisc Rainer' Institute of Anthropology)
Paper short abstract:
Posters as products of material culture publicly displayed for general social interest or commercial purposes often have an important artistic feature able to capture particularities of the era or social landscape in which they arise
Paper long abstract:
The expansion of media and multimedia seems to cause a decrease in the impact of classic posters. However, due to financial reasons, but also to some important cultural factors, we cannot yet imagine an ad campaign which wouldn't rely on poster display. The main components of the poster - static image and impact text - have, due to simplicity of the stimuli, an increased persistence in individual and collective cultural representations. Posters have a distinctive identity in physical space as opposed to most of new multimedia 'virtual' advertising.
To discuss the poster as a representative product, endowed with sufficient information to provide us an interpretative framework on its cultural background, does not constitute a new approach, but it is certainly a less explored one, especially in a cross-cultural comparative manner. Comparative method, established by anthropology, has the advantage of inducing a holistic perspective, able to draw valid elements of analysis that can be used to compose adequate patterns every time we interact with products of a specific culture.
Nowadays advertising is used not only as means to promote products, but also to raise awareness to several global causes and concerns, such as AIDS, pollution or smoking. My research focuses on a comparative analysis of some of the "no smoking" European campaigns, illustrating the way classic advertising can have significant impact by associating in a creative (artistic) manner a general interest topic with various local cultural issues.
Confronting uncertainty: imagination in art and material culture