Media and Cultural Analysis


Media and Cultural Analysis, Spring 2018

Browse Exhibits (37 total)

"I F*ucked Up": An Archive of Celebrity Apologies


The openness created by social media platforms has made it a preferred outlet for celebrities to reach their audiences, meanwhile, its transparency has made it easier for the public to criticize individuals of higher status. Among these social media platforms is Twitter, which has increasingly become the most popular medium for celebrities to utilize for public apologies due to its accessibility and popularity. Our archive contains screenshots of celebrities’ apology tweets over the last decade, sorted by the subject of offenses. With this collection, we intend to track the patterns, differences, and frequencies across apologies for different offenses.

"Reasons Why" - A Look at Photos Banned by Instagram

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With over "500 million monthly active users and 300 million daily active users" (Boorstin 1), Instagram is considered to be one of the largest media platforms of the 21st century. With a large amount of popularity, Instagram seeks to "find a good balance between allowing people to express themselves creatively and having policies in place to maintain a comfortable experience for our global and culturally diverse community" (Caputo 1). Yet although their rules and regulations states "[one] may not post violent, nude, partially nude, discriminatory, unlawful, infringing, hateful, pornographic or sexually suggestive photos or other content via the Service" (Instagram Help Center). it is hard to distinguish whether or not certain photos have a right to be banned by the platform. 

"Reasons Why" serves to examine an archive of photographs that have been banned by the social media platform Instagram and to understand many of the possible reasons that a photo was taken down and thus "banned." Instagram's policy does not require that they inform an individual why the photo was removed from their site, so our counter-archive serves to categorize these photos based on possible reasons they may have been taken down. To understand our methodology, please review the "cross-reference" page.

A Closer Look Into Barbie's World


Welcome to Barbie's World! She’s skinny, Caucasian, and blonde—an icon of femininity to generations of American girls. In this exhibit, we want to take the audience on a visual history of Barbie, from her first release in 1959 to the present day. Barbie is a clear representation of the culture of each decade she is a part of, whether that be through her representation of social movements, beauty standards, or gender roles. Our goal is to exemplify how culturally relevant Barbie is throughout the years and the way that she represents the major tensions of each era.



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A World Against Sex


This exhibit focuses on media in various forms that has been banned for being deemed too “obscene” for the public eye. We also look at why this media has been banned, and the surrounding culture through propaganda.

To determine whether the product is "obscene" we will refer to the Miller Test, established in Miller v. California, used by courts today in obscenity cases. 

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African-American Artist's early Contribution to Rock n Roll


Rock and Roll is noted as one of the most controversial music genres in history, sending shockwaves across America. Rock and roll gave the world Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and many others who have gone down as the greatest artists of all time. However, rock and roll is heavily influenced by black music of the 50's, like blues, gospel, jazz, and boogie woogie. Some of the most popular rock songs of the 50s and 60s were written and originally performed by black artists, but, because they received little credit or compensation, we often hear only familiar white covers. All musicians are influenced by other musicians, but throughout music history most musicians worth hearing were influenced by musicians who had a different skin color than them. 

Through this exhibit, we hope to illuminate the vital and revolutionary contributions to the music world, specifically for rock and roll in the 50s and 60s, by black artists who have often gone unheard of and uncredited. We hope that by highlighting the contributions of these black musicians, that we can share the education of Rock and Roll's lineage further than Rock and Roll enthusiasts and music historians, ultimately reaching the common public. 


An Alternative Billboard Chart


The goal of this archive is to showcase the lack of female representation on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. As the standard measure of popularity within the music industry, the Billboard Charts are an important contributing factor to an artist's success. While examining the Billboard Hot 100 Chart for the week of April 15th, we noticed that the only female artist represented in the top 10 was Taylor Swift, who was featured on a song that was not her own. Out of the total Hot 100 Chart for the week, only 14 songs had a woman as the lead artist. This trend was not only evident during our chosen week; it was seen in several of the following week's charts as well. Although there are several women who are represented on the charts, our examination of the Billboarch Charts has shown us that the women that do make it, rarely reach the top Also, their presence on the charts is much more scarce than their male counterparts. Through our archive, we attemp to counter the male-dominated charts by creating a Hot 10 Chart that only showcases female artists. 

Animal Rights


All contributers to this exhibit feel strongly about animal welfare. Our message is to expose animal cruelty that is supported by the fashion industry and us, the consumers. We selected the most popular animals used for their hide and fur which include the mink, fox, rabbit, cow and crocodile. Each page will show one photo of the animal in their natural habitat, two photos of the inhumane treatment they experience, one video, and one fashion item available for purchase.

Banned Books


The Library of Congress created an exhibit titled Books that Shaped America, which ultimately explored books that have had a profound effect on American Life. A fascinating aspect of our research was recognizing that a significant number of books that have "shaped America," according to the Library of Congress, have ironically been banned by American educational institutions.

The purpose of our archive is to focus on this paradoxical relationship at play by exposing books that have been banned, at some point, by academic institutions in America. To emphasize this relationship, we used New York University's Elmer Holmes Bobst Library archive as the main archive we have chosen to counter.

The banned books have been separated into the following categories: books banned because of racism, books banned because of sexually explicit content, books banned because of indecent or immoral content, books banned because of blasphemy, and books banned for political reasons. 

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Banned Books Through Time


This exibit highlights banned books and the circumstances for which they were banned. Three main time periods where censorship was used by goverments are explored here.

Controversial advertising

Through the years, what is deemed ‘okay’ to put on advertisements has changed drastically. From print magazines to billboards to commercials, advertisements are all around us. On average a person is exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 ads in one single day (Marshall), so it’s not a surprise that some of them are too much for the public eye. While there are many regulations in place to what can be published/broadcasted/ect. Sometimes an ad that may be “offensive” or “a little too risque” slips through the cracks. “The harm lies in persuasive techniques advertisers use to influence our children”. Over the last few decades with social media and technology taking over our lives more and more content slips into the view of our young ones, “digital media allows companies more directly than traditional media.”