2 hours a day

It is neither the time you spend chatting with your spouse nor the time you spend calling family or friends, nor is it the time you would like to spend reading (38 min daily according to recent statistics). No, 2 hours a day is the average time during which we are more or less consciously exposed to advertising stimuli.[1] of all kinds.

After hearing this umpteenth statistic I imagined myself sitting, static, passive. The "Mechanical Orange" way, 120 minutes to see images, full face, advertising messages, political positions, conspiracy theories, petitions, improvised expert opinions kneaded with certainties shared with a click, again and again...

And because of my confinement, I just had to go back to my so-called social networks to quickly make this observation: Orange Mécanique is here, it's my news feed. A bunch of advertising posts, dubious and anxiety-provoking news supported by images that sneakily dispense you from any in-depth reading on the subject, political positions calling for more democracy when few can still stand diverging points of view or nuance... and in a period of confinement, these open spaces of rather closed discussions made me think about this abundance of 2.0 standard-bearers. 2 hours. 120 minutes, every day.

"2020, a flat earth odyssey" or "The platists were right".

An image is neither true nor false...

It is a complex sign that needs to be decoded in order to be fully understood, otherwise it can be misunderstood, manipulated or confused. Although real by definition, it exists, I see it, there, on the screen; yet it is very different from reality, if only because it is the result of a fabrication and therefore subject to interpretation opposing "what we see" and "what we think we see" or "what we wish to see". 

It is the text, caption or context that accompanies this image that confronts us with the reality of what we see. Does "This is not a pipe" remind you of Magritte? Well, but let's not forget that this is not the name of the painting that bears this inscription. "The Betrayal of Images" is its title. The image of a pipe, however realistic it may be, will never be a "real" pipe that can be handled and smoked.

The image is a creation of the mind and culture and therefore its environment, its context, its insertion in a wider framework are essential conditions for its understanding.[2]...especially if I have to watch them parade for 120 minutes a day...


Like a mermaid

The pleasure is immediate, our thoughts relax in contact with the image, as with dreams, it appeals to our imagination. There is no automatic distancing as in language, where the symbolic aspect of words detaches us more from things. The approach is easy and comprehension requires less effort than deciphering a text, it does not necessarily require mastery of codes (the alphabet for example) to apprehend it. [3]

Contrary to spoken or written speech, we enter the image by any means we want. The direction of reading is not necessarily linear, even if a meaning may exist. The mental posture it requires is therefore very different.

The image is the vehicle of a mass culture, well adapted to social networks, in the idea that it cultivates satisfaction as opposed to a culture of education through learning. At the sight of an image, we receive different messages that relieve or make us dream, put our conscience to sleep, mask the truth by presenting its reality, implacable, irrefutable since it imposes itself on you.


"Digital photography will liberate us from the belief in the effect of reality."

It's not me saying it, it's Roland Barthes. "The effect of reality created by the photograph may have led one to believe that the image was part of its model or that it was a direct emanation of it. Digital photography will liberate us from the belief in the effect of reality". "Photography adheres to reality," he said, "the digital image takes it away from reality.[4] ».

Flower of the depths

So I dropped my smartphone to take my camera back, and I sat for 2 hours in front of a revisited hourglass: a very real drip, composed of drops of milk falling in a confined space, and which erodes the passing time... I freeze each drop that falls into this glass, I freeze each image that comes up and but be careful... "this is not a drop"...



[1] https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/316932/time-spent-with-advertising-daily.html

2] MELOT MICHEL, "L'image n'est plus qu'elle était", Documentaliste-Sciences de l'information 2005/6, vol.42.

Interview with Daniel BOUGNOUX, "Le monde de l'image" Sciences humaines n°43, Special issue Dec 2003-Feb 2004.

4] MELOT MICHEL, "L'image n'est plus qu'elle était", Documentaliste-Sciences de l'information 2005/6, vol.42.

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