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Interrogating Democracy in the Digital Gaze

A Research Paper by Carl Jones, published by The International Journal of Creative Media Research

I first started to explore the digital gaze in late 2014 through a video project that later expanded into 7 x 2D large photographic images in 2019. This Multi-Piece Portfolio project explores the digital gaze, questions the democracy of Google, and investigates the type of visual registry provided, by asking: Is the digital gaze a Caucasian heterosexual male gaze? Christopher Frayling claims that ‘research through art and design’ is one of three research methods that artists could select in order to perform academic research. I, however, reverse the name of the method from ‘research through art’ to ‘art through research’. Performed in two phases, the first phase of the Digital Gaze project is academic research that is followed by phase two – the artistic expression informed by the first phase, hence the term ‘Art through Research’.


Research Statement

This Multi-Piece Portfolio project explores the gaze on electronic devices and the type of visual registry it provides. Currently consumers generate inquiries through search engine software, and free applications, whose responses are delivered on electronic devices to the end user. This leads to questions of power, and political economy. Just how democratic is the digital gaze?

The research method used is called ‘art through research’ and is composed of two phases. The first phase investigates theoretically the subject matter using the theories of: Mulvey and the male Gaze; Bernays on propaganda; followed by McLuhan on technology as an extension of man. After reviewing the findings of the theoretical research, a new question arose: Is the digital gaze a Caucasian heterosexual male gaze? Phase two explores this question through the art practice, which involves selecting a word and observing in what respect this word is translated in the digital space. The results of the word search are then visualized in both audio-visual and photographic artefacts. This research statement will guide the reader through the initial theoretical research function that inspired the practice, followed by the significance of each of these artefacts in contributing something distinct to the overriding research question and process. What I am presenting to you is the chronological history of this project’s research process.


Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

Carl Jones


Carl W. Jones is a Senior Lecturer in PR & Advertising at the University of Westminster, and is recognized globally as an authority on advertising, being invited to 12 countries to give seminars: Clio’s Asia, Marketing Magazine Toronto, El Ojo Buenos Aires, and recently at Syracuse University USA, & El Colegio de Mexico in Mexico City. In total he has won over 500 awards and recognitions for his creative work including Cannes Lions. The mass media such as BBC; The Telegraph; BBC Mundo: Periodico Reforma, interview Jones on publicity and its effects on society. His newspaper articles on Racism & Classism in Mexican advertising have had over 7,000 shares on Facebook alone. Carl is also a founding member of the research group @LASAWw Latin American Studies At Westminster, and issue editor for the WPCC media journal on Advertising for the Human Good.


7 June 2020
Published By
The International Journal of Creative Media Research
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