chapter  3
29 Pages

Why is the Sky Blue?

Reed’s monologue mimics the tone of the military trainer as he strips a rifl e into its components, and as his mind wanders wistfully elsewhere. The activity refl ects the efforts of communication researchers to analyze media images and techniques in seeking to explain their effects. In 1910, a striking example of this approach was created by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in developing the new art movement, ‘analytical cubism’.2 Their work fragmented the 3-dimensional image into cubes, squares, rectangles, and curvilinear shapes, enabling objects to be represented 2-dimensionally from multiple viewpoints and angles. The inspection of an object by moving around it in time was now converted into an inspection of its separate elements simultaneously. The premise is illustrated by Picasso’s Girl with a Mandolin (1910), whose head is tilted to show her right profi le while her body is seen from the front.3 The colors of the image are muted to avoid suggesting visual depth, and perspective is further minimized by the fusion of foreground and background elements on a single 2-dimensional plane. By artfully separating time and space in this way, Picasso and Braque demonstrated that in perceptual contexts neither of these dimensions can be interpreted in the absence of the other.