The Gary 411

Keep an eye on your TV intake

Fast Food Manipulation Students speak back to the media in IUN's communication studies

Nails, drills, and even blow torches are necessary tools that go into the making of food commercials. And that hardware is not for building the sets.

In his “Fast Food Manipulation” video, Kostadin Petroski shows that those tools and even more are in the tool chests of production artists who bring us the images of mouth-watering salads, pizzas and burgers shown in television advertising. And it couldn’t be done without them. Spray paints make those salads glisten and sparkle.

Petroski was among six students from the Media Theory and Criticism class displaying their end-of-course video projects that delved into the realities and perceptions of mass media consumed every day.

Petroski has seen how those images are interpreted by his customers at a local Subway Restaurant where he is the assistant manager. “They ask why their meals don’t look like the pictures. I can only tell them we are doing our best.”

Evelyn Bottando, the course instructor said the class is needed. “We comment on and include media so much in our lives that we need to be able to evaluate what we see and hear.”

Using images captured from television shows and the Internet, in what Bottando calls “video mashups,” the students created their own works to speak back to the medium that treats them as passive viewers.

Among their projects, the coverage of the recent government shutdown, the sexualization and objectification of women by the media, the disaster response of Hurricane Katrina during the Bush Administration, and the interpersonal relationships viewers form with television characters.

Vanessa Reed, who critiqued the Hurricane Katrina disaster response, said she’ll use the techniques learned for her job as a paraprofessional working with special education students.

Besides learning how to produce videos, Joe Scida, who critiqued the media coverage of the government shutdown, said he learned another lesson. “You just can’t click on Yahoo and expect to find out what’s going on. My resources for information and news have expanded and for that I’m glad.”

12/6/2013 12:00:00 AM

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