The Psychology of Entertainment

On the private and public forms of entertainment and the psychological mechanisms in entertainment

Entertainment has many dimensions and could be personal/private or more general and public forms of entertainment. When we play with our mates that is a personal form of entertainment and when we sit and watch a movie on the screen that is a more general form of entertainment as we are sharing the experience with many others. There are some differences in our perception of private and public forms of entertainment as personal entertainment will always be based on personal experiences, our personal worldview and will be determined by personal interactions.

The more general and public forms of entertainment are less interactive and there seems to be this basic contradiction as all personal forms of entertainment are more interactive and public forms of entertainment are more personal and private. This scenario has been changing with television programs increasing audience participation in the program however interaction patterns between entertainers and viewers in any public entertainment scenario remain within strict limits and boundaries.

Entertainment takes us to a different world and feeds our need for fantasy and an escape from real life. This is especially true for entertainment that is more public or provided by the media and entertainment provided by films, theatre, music, and all forms of creative art. Films and theatre transposes us to a world of fantasy and grabs our attention so we remain engrossed as almost a part of this alternative reality. Entertainment could also be in the form of magazine stories and gossip or even celebrity culture and the psychology of entertainment could also explain the extreme craze of celebrity culture that we have in the modern world.

Celebrities seem to open up a world of fantasies and for some people knowing every move of celebrities could bring immense satisfaction as it would almost mean participating in fantasies. Fantasies help in overcoming frustrations and serve as therapeutic as they aid in the escape from realities of life. Real emotions and real life are stressful and entertainment helps us to move beyond real life and moments of stress to participate in fantasies that are soothing as we do not have to be directly involved in these fantasies and yet as spectators we can still participate in a tacit or passive manner.

Participation in any book, film or creative art is almost like sitting on a reclining chair that has the technology to soothe your muscles while you relax. In the case of entertainment we participate almost in a passive manner and although we may be very alert and awake in the process of watching a movie, entertainment gives us the illusion of non participation as we don’t have the opportunity to get voluntarily involved in the scenario. Anything that gives us some form of pleasure could be considered as entertainment although entertainment could also give us pain as when we cry when we get emotionally involved with characters while we watch a movie.

Entertainment could trigger emotional involvement and emotional reactions such as happiness, sorrow, anxiety, fear and despite these strong emotional participation, there is little or no physical activity necessary on the part of the viewer. This active-passive process is the main attraction of entertainment as entertainment enables us to be both active (in terms of emotion) and passive (in terms of physical or voluntary mental involvement). Entertainment means like films are influential yet they influence subtly rather than aggressively and this subtle influence seems to work better on the human mind than any aggressive forms of influence. We see work as duty and entertainment as pleasure although both involve some form of emotional involvement. Work at the same time requires voluntary participation, decision making and physical involvement along with emotional involvement.

Yet why is work perceived as something heavy and entertainment as methods of relaxation? The answer is unpredictability. In case of entertainment, in most cases we may not even know what to expect from a movie or a music video. This unpredictability triggers our interest as we are unable to predict what emotional states would be evoked during this mental adventure. Entertainment is usually a form of mental and emotional adventure. In cases where we do know what a movie is about, it is the feeling of emotional familiarity that drives us to experience what we already know. Suppose a video game gave us a pleasurable feeling or evoked aggression and competitiveness in us, we go back to feel the same emotion as it was pleasurable or exciting. Stretched too far these forms of entertainment could easily become addictive.

Coming back to the distinction of work and entertainment or play, work involves responsibility and despite the emotional involvement in entertainment, apart from being a passive participant, we do not have to be responsible for anything, there is no problem solving or decision making and that is how entertainment in all its form is so pleasurable as the right brain activities of decision making and the cortical regions of the brain are not activated completely yet the pleasure sensations and emotions such as the hypothalamus and left brain activities are usually activated so we tend to associated entertainment with emotions rather than problem solving and decision making.

We humans are rational beings and yet emotions still seem to rule our lives and form the core of our existence as emotions still draw us to do things that may be irrational. Entertainment being primarily emotion provoking rather than reason provoking has a major impact on people’s lives. Appreciating any forms of entertainment could switch from the stages of interest to emotional involvement and finally addiction. The celebrity culture is a direct result of the last stages of appreciation for entertainment.

An interest in celebrities comes from emotional involvement with characters in movies and there may be substantial lack of differentiating fantasy and reality so fans of celebrities are more in love with the characters these celebrities play or the traits they project rather than the personality of celebrities. The celebrity culture seems to take people to a persistent fantasy world and individuals are seen as discussing all aspects of celebrities from their shoes to their hairstyle to the cars they possess. This sort of culture could however be explained with individual need to escape reality and identify with someone in a fantasy world and would be an important element in the study of fantasy.

The study of entertainment brings out many psychological aspects of active-passive participation in emotional or mental adventure and these could be

1. Identification – Viewers often identify with characters in movies or figures in art and this strong identification helps explain the value of entertainment. Young children have seen to imitate film stars as they begin identifying with movie characters.

2. Fantasy – Entertainment feeds on the need for fantasy in people and provides an escape route from the real world. Addiction to entertainment could be the basis of reality anxiety in people.

3. Projection – Individuals tend to project their own emotions or state of mind on to a painting or a song and could derive pleasure from this

4. Regression – Entertainment could often remind individuals of their past or a part of their own life they may have forgotten and in some cases bring out the child in them. For example when older people enjoy video games, it brings back their childhood and they may become addicted to this sort of entertainment.

5. Sublimation – Entertainment is also a form of sublimation of our impulsive desires and this especially true when we participate in entertainment as in the interpretation of art

6. Displacement – In non participative and passive forms of entertainment, individuals tend to escape from reality and displace their emotions from real people to characters in movies. For example a teenager in love with a girl whom he cannot attain may fall in love with a character of a movie who may have similarities with his dream girl.

All of the above processes are ego defense mechanisms delineated by Freud and the interplay of so many defense mechanisms in entertainment suggest that entertainment is more than simply a source of pleasure and could trigger complex psychological processes in the human mind. More research would be required in this field of psychology for a complete understanding of the advantages or disadvantages of entertainment in modern society.

From Reflections in Psychology – Saberi Roy

The History of Mixed Media Art

Mixed media art is a kind of artwork in which several mediums are employed. There’s an important difference between “mixed-media” artworks and “multimedia art”. Mixed media mean a work of visual art that mixes numerous traditionally unique visual art media. To provide an example, a work on canvas that mixes paint, ink, as well as collage can appropriately be called a “mixed media” work – but not a work of “multimedia art.” The term multimedia art indicates a broader range than mixed media, merging visual art with non-visual materials (including recorded sound, for example) or with elements of the other arts (such as literature, drama, dance, motion graphics, music, or interactivity).

What we all know nowadays as mixed media art began during the early twentieth century, when artists looking for a substitute for what they saw as hidebound academicism started including things and pictures that were not regarded as art materials in their works. Examples of everyday materials being included in ceremonial or aesthetic objects could be found dating back to prehistory, however, these were produced with different motives, and served quite a distinct social purpose compared to the objects all of us refer to as “art.”

Picasso’s Still Life with Chair Painting (May 1912) is often considered the 1st modern collage, it is actually an assemblage of oil paint, oil cloth, pasted paper, as well as rope, turning it into a low-relief, three-dimensional work. The first collages constructed solely of paper, on the other hand, were made by Braque in the summertime of 1912, when he utilized wood-grained wallpaper in a series of charcoal drawings. After a brief lull in collage activity, the 1920s’ art scene experienced the arrival of German dada artist Kurt Schwitters’s remarkable array of personal expressions accomplished in collage and assemblage. He fixed everyday found papers as well as things of all types to canvas, paper, and board supports, giving them another and most likely more notable life.

In the 1930s, Henri Matisse utilized cut-paper shapes as preparatory work for commissioned items to be executed in some other media. But in 1947, he published a small collection of twenty color plates of his cutout designs. Joseph Cornell’s work in stage like boxed assemblages during the early 1940s began the abstract expressionists’ search for collage as an art form. The liberty of expression engendered by means of collage explorations headed directly to the assemblages, constructions, and also combine paintings of Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Jean Dubuffet, and Ellsworth Kelly, as well as to their experimental work in the 1950s as well as 60′s. And their particular work in turn created the conditions for the installations, appropriations, settings, and new object works of the eighties and 1990′s.

Mixed media art, drawing from the efforts of early artists, made mixed media an accessible art form for both skilled and novice artists. Assemblage as well as collage can be obtained combined with acrylic and watercolor painting, rubber-stamped art, sculpture as well as altered books. Fibers, torn papers, inks, glitter plus beads are discovering their way into works of fine art as well as commercial items such as greeting cards and quilts. The near future of mixed media, it appears, is bound just by the creativity of artists and whatever they could possibly get their hands on.

Formal and Informal Page Layouts Formats for Designing

A page layout is an art of arranging or organizing text and images (illustrations, symbols, photographs etc.) on a page or pages to create a desired and pleasing effect. A well-designed page attracts the reader’s attention and presents the material in an easy to read fashion. Modern page layout offers the Graphic Designer with many options that make his/her work very attractive, effective and unique.

i. Formal / Symmetrical layout:

This is a format that is divided into two equal parts to achieve balance. It is achieved when an imaginary vertical centre line divides the layout and each side of it contains an equal amount of copy text and illustrations. It expresses dignity and stability. The formatting “toolbar” on the computer has commands or operations which help designers in organizing their page layouts such as in typesetting their work according to specification. Examples are the Justified, Unjustified and Centered layouts.

• Justified: In this arrangement, all lines have the same length and are aligned to form a straight line at both left and right or flush left and right. Word spacing is adjusted so that each line fills the entire measure. It is the commonest format and is very easy to read. However, its demerit is that it contains a lot of hyphens.

• Unjustified: The lines of type in this format is either flushed left and rugged right or flushed right and rugged left. The flush left is common and easy to read but flush right is not popular and is difficult to read.

• Centered: Type lines in this arrangement appear rugged at both ends. The lines centered on an imaginary vertical line making it symmetrical. It is a good layout format for headlines and certificates.

ii. Informal Layout

It is also referred to as Asymmetrical Layout. This format has an informal balance. Each side contains unequal amounts of copy text and illustrations. Informal balance gives the artist the freedom in placing the different types and elements of design using personal opinion and taste. It is often difficult to read. Examples of the informal layout are contour, run-around and inclined layouts.

• Contour: In this style, each side contains unequal amounts of copy text and illustrations in an undulating form (move in a wavy pattern).

• Run-around: In this format, each side of the layout contains unequal amounts of copy text and illustrations in a circular form.

• Inclined: In this layout style, each side of the layout contains unequal amounts of copy text and illustrations which are slanted to either left or right (diagonal pattern).

The Origin, Characteristics and Uses of Roman Lettering

The Roman lettering style was developed from an old inscription found at the foot of a column built by Emperor Trojan in Rome in 113 B.C. A Frenchman called Nicholas Jenson first created the Roman lettering style in the fifteenth century precisely in 1470. It is also referred to as ‘Classical Roman lettering’ or ‘Quadrata’. The Roman alphabet took at least seven centuries to develop and did not contain the letters, J, U, and W.

Roman letters have ornamental or finishing strokes called serifs at both the top and bottom parts of the letters. These serifs give the vertical strokes of the letters stability and also make the letters graceful. The serif may be angular, thin, rounded or rectangular in their representations. This accounts for the varieties of serifs such as beaked serif, hairline serif, bracketed serif, sheared serif and slab serif.

There are other features that distinct this style of lettering from other forms of lettering. The letters have varying strokes of thick and thin. The vertical strokes are generally thick while the horizontal strokes are usually thin. Also, the letters have different proportions or sizes due to the transcending of thick and thin strokes. They are extremely beautiful and attractive because of the diversity in their stroke formation. Variety, which is a feature that breaks monotony or one format, is highly acclaimed with elegance by many people.

In addition, the letters stand erect or upright. This formal outlook of this lettering style makes it very appropriate to be used for official documents. This explains why mot documents for such purposes are usually restricted to be created in this lettering style.

Furthermore, the letters are carefully drawn or constructed. Due to the close attention paid to proportion and space, measuring devices are used by amateur designers who create these letters manually. Measuring tools on design software help in creating accurate representations of letters on personal computers.

This lettering is widely used for various purposes. It is used in writing the reading materials in books, newspapers, and magazines due to its excellent trait of readability. Also, they are used in designing packages for products and greeting cards for wishing people success in examinations, speedy recovery in ill health situations and many others. Again, they are used in writing the text on posters, banners, and other visual communication tools. Moreover, messages on citations are written in Roman lettering style. Names of participants in workshops, seminars, and other educational programmes are written in roman lettering styles on certificates.

It is one of the elegant lettering styles that ensure the designing of products in visual communication. Its rudiments must be carefully mastered and utilised by artists to achieve the maximum benefits.