The politics of the face: manifestations of Che Guevara's image and its collage of renderings and agency

  • Author / Creator
    Cambre, Maria-Carolina
  • Che Guevara’s image, is seen as a global icon crossing all kinds of social and cultural boundaries, as exemplified in street protests and evidenced by multiple visual messages such as posters, logos, t‐shirts and slogans. We are invited, demanded, expected to recount and memorialize. But what exactly are we being asked to remember? This study aims to create an analytical space for understanding this phenomenon as far as it can be observed through its analysis and to provide a starting point for a better perspective of the significance of visual events in public as well as their cultural resonance.

    I was initially interested in this image of Guevara and how it worked because I perceived a performative capability to gather people and sanction action that was inherently productive and powerful at a grassroots level. I was curious about vernacular (non-institutional) visual communication. Although I acknowledge mass-produced versions of the matrix (source) image, my primary interest is in those renderings acquiring some singularity either through their production or location or in how they have been appropriated and adapted.

    This project is a series of encounters with the image and a look at the levels at which it operates and how it moves fluidly between them. I do not wish to locate this image or designate its “address.” Instead, I prefer to examine how it is a locating how it is a verb as well as a noun. This project contributes to understandings of how images are working in the world and consequently to how people can produce and direct the visual space rather than be relegated to receiving and, more or less passively, consuming images. I hasten to add that though the consumption of images is never passive, the built‐in impetus of advertising images encourages passive consumption. The implications of seeing the vernacular image as something that does not fit in established mass media methods of study gestures towards its being a somewhat different phenomenon and it’s worth a closer look at the action or performance of the image itself, what it allows people to do and how this happens.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2011
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.