Defamiliarization – Term Paper

I walk into a room in which light disseminates evenly throughout. The walls are covered with frames like patchwork, each fitting strangely into their oddly-shaped neighbors, but separated so that the perfectly white wall beneath creates seems around them. Somewhere within the borders of each canvas, there is a circle outlined in black. The circles have numbers in them with seemingly no order to them. The images themselves follow a puzzled pattern. None of them are whole. And each piece that participates in forming an image contributes a flavor of the subject, which is carefully assorted in such a way to create a distinct likeness, a trace of the original that exists somewhere in the world.

Along the wall to the left of the entrance is a placard inscribed with the names of both the collection and the artist along with a short description of the purpose of the collection in the eyes of the artist. This collection, Shifting Degrees of Certainty, was aptly named by Ilit Azoulay. To the placards right is a series of hooks on which what appears to be audio devices hang. The devices contain digital recordings that give perspective to each image. These immediately catch my interest; stimulating two senses is preferable to only one. I pick up the device and wonder around the collection. This is when the original subject of my attention catches my eyes.

On the wall is a shrunken head with its face obscured by a rectangle that blends the underlying pigments. The head is some color between tan and grey with slits for eyes. Hanging from its mouth are eight strands of an unknown material. The small head is enveloped in long, flowing, black hair that looks well-attended. The pieces number is 32. I punch the number into the digital audio device and place it near my ear. The device speaks. This is, in fact, a shrunken, human head. The recording goes on to describe that the head was taken from a gallery in Berlin along with a few other pieces and that It was not given permission to exhibit this photo. No explanation is given as to why. However, the audio recording referenced another piece, number 83, and said to look at that one for further information.

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All artists and directors desire to innovate something new to win the attention of the audience and the same time to have crashing and unforgettable impact; the giraffes and shrunken head directors have found their way or ways out; the general principle is to defamiliarize, as shklovosky has ever imagined as all arts attempt to attain. One way to attain this is to break with convention and tradition. All theoreticians and critics or the quasi ones are trying to cry in loud voice to denote: subvert to sub or not to, that is the definite question. Just like shklovosky himself who had paced out the cannon or trinity regulated by this contemporaries, the artifacts will also try to inform the audience the significance of defamiliarization. According to Robinson (2014) human-nonhuman relationship has always been part of mans culture, the artwork of the Giraffe is considered a relative contemporary phenomenon that reflects on each element of western cultures, modern ideas, and relationship with nonhuman artifacts. By becoming part of the day-to-day popular culture, the artifact of the giraffe, in this case, naturalizes these ideas as well as other ways of interacting and looking at other nonhumans (Robinson 12).         

The Defamiliarized Shrunken Human Head as You Find It

Azoulay has shattered the sweet beautiful physics of the echo dream of the audience. This is because of his conventional customs of the society that prefers to and typically call routine which we use for aesthetic value and experience in rooted and established as well as ferociously powerful and dominating to win the fusing of aesthetic prospects of the audience. Legend he has been Azoulay, the heartfelt friend to shklovosky, always criticized and complained about shklovosky violating the rules of classical tenets to perceive principles set up and followed by artists in the past as well as contemporary ones. Similarly, it can be said that literary conventions before the twentieth century tend to follow the mirror theoretical value and so do our taste of aesthetic acquisition in appreciating and creating an aesthetic art or piece. So is true that shklovosky work attributed to defamiliarization has increased artistic performances and values, for instance the shrunken Human Head piece.     

Azoulay shrunken Human Head art throws new light upon tradition that modern critics would consider it as subversion. All said, Azoulay is trying to change the audiences aesthetic taste to conventionally different style. The subversion happens frequently, shklovosky cursed it, and he said in a verse in melodious rhythm that to copy nature is like copying ancient rules consequently, shklovosky called it defamiliarization. Azoulay in his work shrunken Human Head is playing with the card of subversion denoted as defamiliarization. He tries to make people think of the reality of a confused human state. The normal symbolic meaning of the art is that man cannot think at confused state, but the defamialiarized nature is that man can reason and make decisions even if in a confused state.         

Just like Hans-Georg Gadamers theory of art in acquiring meaning, the picture of the Shrunken Human Head itself is the ontology of meaning, not the subject, the owner of the picture. The key to understand the meaning of Azoulay art is to find the aesthetic value of the art because all his art has a hidden defamiliarized meaning and value. That is, what is the real or correct meaning of the art is central problem in understanding the picture. The art, as against shklovosky tenet to teach and delight, is a matter of pondering upon the real artistic value of the artifact. The artistic value means to bring together the audience while Azoulay shrunken Human Head art means to speak to the audience and this to ponder. So shrunken Human Head art uses actions and words in its defamilirization form.

Giraffe Picture defamiliarization of Vagueness

As the focal aim of this paper is to analyze referents in the language of the art within the pictures of The Giraffe, the primary concern in this shall therefore, be related with the notion of vagueness used in fictional disclosure. Specifically, it will discuss defamiliarization employed in the language of the pictures functional art. In this paper, I argue that literary works offer a valuable defamiliarization of the giraffe. This then encourages the re-examination of all the human attitudes as well as the perception that inform our treatment of nonhumans. Through my analysis of the pictures, I will explore the integral social construction of nonhumans and human disclosures and the way that the images negative image to the procedures of understanding the values of having such nonhumans on board.

The shrunken header image is also an apparent novice example, which shows the negative image, which humans have given their roles to protect other creatures in the Great Chain of Being. The nonhumans need proper treatment as well do to ourselves because we are dependent on them for several things such as meat among othersAll the pictures will be used to discuss vagueness from the pragmatic and semantic point of view. As this paper will prove vagueness in the dialogues of The Picture of Giraffe does not only service the aim of common artistic situations; it can be assumed to play the role of a function as a higher order picture that unifies the art. By introducing the concept of vagueness as an artistic device, this paper will show that vagueness can serve defamiliarizing purpose.   

Anthropocentric encounters that human have towards the nonhumans hinder the identification of human value of sight as compared to values that are needed to make sure there is an ultimate relationship between nonhumans and human (Azoulay, Eliot, Perth. 83). Observation of the picture is also significant because it explains why we should consider the relationship between nonhumans and human as important as our daily relationships with other people. Drawing the idea from various texts as well as literature, I argue that the anthropocentric nature of the social relationship between man and nonhumans should be improved by taking more pictures of nonhumans.

It can be said without doubt that the social construction of human and nonhuman images or pictures have various perceptions to the existence of a better world or a conductive world. This means that any study about nonhumans is vital in raising human perception and ideology about the same, hence create them as a place of captivity as well as freedom in the paradoxical nature of the museum offers a literary setting for an exploration of such themes. It can be denoted that the well-groomed image shows how human attend to themselves, but because of the confusion indicated by the inverted head, we also forget to attend to other nonhumans, we lack the willingness to take care of the other creatures in the chain such as the giraffe. The Gray back color in the shrunken head shows, the negative perception that we have to the even our understanding of the truth that we hold as human. 

However, a defamiliarization of the same denotes that the picture was taken because it supported the actions that humans should take to save the nonhumans from a natural phenomenon that leads to their extinction. According to Azoulay author of A Shrunken, the artifact is a clear indication of the way we humans live, despite the fact that we think we are at the highest part of the chain, we might not have the right systems in place to care for the others below the chain hence the cause of deaths such as the giraffe. A defamiliarization of the states that there is no way that we can be at the top yet the bottom is not more. Care of the below denotes the existence of the top, thus, without the success of the nonhuman creatures, there will be no top.


It can be concluded that the two pictures, try to inform the reader or the audience that there is a need to develop care towards the nonhumans as they do to us. Confusion should be eliminated and negative perception and attitude should also be reduced. The world we live in will be a better place if men and nonhumans will share love and the environment in a straight forward manner. The defamiliarization aspect of both artifacts is that they only help the audience to denote the real content shared by the art, but also explains the importance of artistic creativity. It is evident from the artifacts that contemporary artists apply the use of stylistic features to increase both the audience understanding of art but also creates literal value. 

     Works Cited

1. Azoulay, Ilit. Giraffe in a Display Window Facing the Street. 2013. Digitally Combined

Photographs. Shifting Degrees of Certainty, Manhattan, NY.

2. Azoulay, Ilit, perf. 83. Ilit Azoulay. The Museum of Modern Art, 2014. MP3.

3. Elisa Linsky, and Pat C. Hoy. Boston: Pearson Learning Solutions, 2014. 59-65. Print.

4.¬†Hubbell, Sue. ‚ÄúPassionate Science.‚ÄĚ Print. Rpt. in¬†The Brooklyn Reader. Ed. Jono Mischkot,

5.¬†Robinson, Marilynne. ‚ÄúThinking Again: What Do We Mean by Mind?‚ÄĚ Print. Rpt. in¬†The Brooklyn Reader. Ed. Jono Mischkot, Elisa Linsky, and Pat C. Hoy. Boston: Pearson Learning Solutions, 2014. 203-11. Print.

6.¬†Keller, Evelyn Fox. ‚ÄúA World of Difference.‚ÄĚ Print. Rpt. in¬†The Brooklyn Reader. Ed. Jono Mischkot, Elisa Linsky, and Pat C. Hoy. Boston: Pearson Learning Solutions, 2014. 144-146. Print.