the family of man

the family of man 2

intro’d to the family of man while reading Fred Turner‘s democratic surround.


democratic surround highlights on kindle

if mass media tended to turn the psyches of their audiences in authoritarian directions? Was there a mode of communication that could produce more democratic individuals? A more democratic polity? And for that matter, what was a democratic person?

Yaacov – what is demo ed? it’s asking that every day – ie: bravery to change your mind

the surround clearly represented the rise of a managerial mode of a control: a mode in which people might be free to choose their experiences, but only from a menu written by experts.

partial freedom is no freedom, ie: spinach or rock ness

In The Family of Man, Edward Steichen hoped to surround museum visitors with images and so free them to see a whole world of people who were simultaneously unlike and yet like themselves.

one ness. no one the same ness. discrimination as equity – to infinity ness

Cage’s performance shared their psychological ambition. He, too, hoped to surround his audience with sights and sounds that might free them from allegiance to more authoritarian modes of communication—and, by implication, from authoritarian political systems too.

spaces of permission ness

In Le Bon’s view, a leader could analyze the hidden desires of the individuals in a group and speak to them in a way that would undermine their ability to reason—that is, their “conscious personality.” Once exposed to the leader’s messages and to the contagious enthusiasm of the group, the individual would enter “a special state” like that of “the hypnotized individual . . . in the hands of the hypnotizer.

i need you to wake up

The Nazi type of morale resulted in “conformity” but not in an “inner strength” that might outlive the regime itself, he argued.15 Nazi morale might have looked like the sort of national unity Americans needed, but it wasn’t: it was too brittle.

sounds like our push in institution Ed for grit.. when what we need is true grit.. (difference if it’s a grit for battle.. or a grit for the thing you can’t not do..  the 2nd is way way stronger.. even if the 1st might appear so)

Thus freedom for the personality may be viewed as the crucial issue of a democratic society. . . .

free\dom ness – none of us ness

Nazis longed for nothing more than to obey, and so to lose their individuality in the great mass of the crowd. They wanted only to follow and to attack those who wouldn’t or couldn’t also obey. Under the Nazis, the Germans had given up their powers of intellectual discrimination, of moral choice, of psychological independence. Above all, they had ceased to tolerate racial and cultural differences.

institution of Ed

In place of instrumental, message-driven modes of communication, they developed a theory of what I will call surrounds—arrays of images and words built into environments that their audiences could enter freely, act spontaneously within, and leave at will.

spaces of permission – mooc/audit thinking

Does not the implementation of a defined direction call for control, and does not control—measured, calculated, definite control; control which really attains its ends—by its very existence invalidate democracy, necessarily raising up some men to exercise the control and degrade all others to be its victims?  – M Mead

How would we rig the maze or problem-box so that the anthropomorphic rat shall obtain a repeated and reinforced impression of his own free-will?’

iterations of self. emergence of us. via a people experiment..

As Mead put it, “They go out from the doors of the Museum believing in one of the foundations of democracy, that it is possible, by slow, honest, exact study to find out more about man and the world in which he lives. For an hour or so they have been able to trust their eyes and let their minds rove over materials which have not been arranged to impress, to convert, to push them around, but merely to tell them as much of the truth as is now known, and that quietly.

“The primary need at the moment is . . . to free the individual citizen from his fear of being moved, to restore to the individual his belief that HE CAN MAKE CHOICES, HE IS NOT JUST A HELPLESS MUSICAL INSTRUMENT ON WHICH THE PROPAGANDIST PLAYS WHATEVER TUNE HE WISHES” [capitalization original].

set people free – to believing – it is legal to think for themselves..

In other words, chance methods of composition freed sounds from the need to obey the will of a dictatorial composer or even to follow the norms of an oppressive culture.

He described his new method less as a way of organizing sound than as a way of leveling power relationships between people by organizing sound.

What was the alternative to this implicit fascism? For the audience, it was to hear an array of sounds whose interrelationships could not be predicted beforehand but, rather, had to be made on the spot by the listeners themselves. For the performer, it was to cease to obey the commands of invisible authoritarians and to enter instead into a state of “being alert in an indeterminate situation.

the composer needed to develop a structure within which every person and every sound might be wholly itself, independent and free.

Artaud had long advocated a theater in which, as he put it, “the actors are not performing / they are doing.

mary catherine bateson – getting away from proving ness – and that which is observed is changed…

Dwight MacDonald, editor of the left-wing journal Politics, put it, “There is something askew with a society in which vast numbers of citizens can be organized to create a horror like The Bomb without even knowing they are doing it.

Americans had been asked to turn off their reason, to act on their most violent impulses, and to do so as a unified, uniform mass. When they returned home to the United States, they brought with them not only their recollections of the fighting but the specter of their own resemblance to the enemy.

It will be a person-centered society in which no type of person can impose his pattern of selfhood upon other persons.”

Each gave voice to a widespread hope that social and technological engineering could enable Americans to manage themselves.

2 needs and a cure to self-organizing ness

we shall use social engineering to solve the problem of setting up the conditions of freedom but not to determine what men shall do with freedom when they get it. Indeed, we are arguing here that the chief uses of freedom are defeated by those who set up the conditions and try also to determine its content.”

pbl, cc, eve parents who don’t want to – via krishnamurti –  so c dot app ness- because tech is non judgmental – no agenda ness – can take in too big to know data – and organize it for connections.. – help us find our tribe.. help us rattle out brain



In the early spring of 1955, more than a quarter of a million people streamed through the doors of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. They came to immerse themselves in The Family of Man.

In other words, even as it freed Americans from the massifying effects of totalitarianism and its media, The Family of Man invited them to adjust themselves to a softer but equally pervasive system of management—a system pioneered, in part, in Victor D’Amico’s classrooms.

By January 1943, the Museum of Modern Art had mounted an entire exhibition on the theme, called Art Education in Wartime. In a draft press release, museum officials argued that art educators were helping to win the war from kindergarten through college by helping children avoid becoming authoritarians.

“The war has created new and greater tensions which will cause their share of mental and emotional maladjustments,” wrote D’Amico in 1943. “If the therapeutic value of art is employed in a plan for re-education [of veterans], America may be spared a phenomenal rise in mental illness and emotional disturbance.

for many in the late 1940s and early 1950s, it also meant working to raise the sort of open-minded, empathetic, emotionally flexible children who would not start the kinds of wars they themselves had just survived

Parents became childlike once again, while their children enjoyed managing themselves within an environment established for the purpose. In short, the classroom became a world without a dictator, unified in its pursuit of individual diversity

Fascist-minded subjects show, on a deeper level, no genuine attachments to the parents, whom they accept in a fairly conventionalized and externalized way. It is this configuration of submissiveness and coldness which more than anything else defines the potential fascist of our time.

In this setting children needed to learn not only how to make art, but how to manage themselves in terms set by largely invisible others.

I guess in art you can be pretty free,” said Mrs. Kawachi. “Yes,” replied Victor D’Amico, “that’s what art’s for.”

Many lauded Steichen as a sort of author—speaking in what he and reviewers alike called the “universal language” of photography—and the exhibition as a text, an essay even.

Eisenhower and leaders of American industry worked closely together to establish American goods as intermediaries between the craven, earthly desire for things and more abstract human longings for social justice.

what? consumerism as glue?

By the spring of 1959, the USIA had sponsored forty-six exhibitions in twenty-eight countries, and nearly four million people had seen the show.52 At particularly important locations, the USIA flew in Edward Steichen to introduce the exhibition.

Reporters tripped over themselves to celebrate the show when it came to their cities. “I am writing this under the spell of an exhibit that could change the face of South Africa if it were seen and felt and understood by the right people,” exclaimed a reviewer for The Johannesburg Sunday Times, entirely typically. “No human being seeing it and understanding its message could ever hold race hate in his heart again.

THE FAMILY OF MAN ON THE ROAD During the same years in which American exhibitions were introducing the world to the People’s Capitalism, the USIA was promoting a noncommercial vision of universal brotherhood

For the staff of the USIA, the exhibition was a godsend. With its emphasis on global humanism, the racial diversity in its imagery, and its utter absence of pro-American bluster, the exhibition seemed to have little if anything to do with propaganda. Visitors might even forget that the United States was sponsoring the show (an occurrence that American embassy officials routinely took steps to prevent). When they did notice American sponsorship, USIA officials hoped that visitors would associate their own desires for peace, familial intimacy, and egalitarian community with the guiding international hand of the United States.

In each case, USIA officials followed the therapeutic intervention procedures outlined in the 1959 research report. First, with the aid of local diplomats, they assessed the political and cultural situation. Next, with Steichen’s permission, they adjusted the contents of the exhibition to fit that situation and installed the show. Finally, during and after the show, researchers assessed viewer responses to see if in fact the exhibition had sparked psychological changes

More specifically, it was to turn Soviet citizens toward the creative self-expression and self-development that characterized the democratic personality—in this case, through consumption—and at the same time toward an egalitarian mode of unity based on individualism, that ostensibly characterized the United States.

through consumption…?


wikipedia small

The Family of Man was a photography exhibition curated by Edward Steichen first shown in 1955 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

According to Steichen, the exhibition represented the “culmination of his career.” The exhibition contained 503 photos from 68 countries which represented 273 photographers (163 Americans) were selected from almost 2 million pictures submitted by famous and unknown photographers. These photos offer a striking snapshots of the human experience which lingers on birth, love, and joy, but also touches war, privation, illness, and death. Steichen’s intention was to prove, visually, the universality of human experience and photography’s role in its documentation.

The exhibit was turned into a book of the same name, containing an introduction by Carl Sandburg, Steichen’s brother-in-law. The book was reproduced in a variety of formats (most popularly a pocket-sized volume) in the 1950s, and reprinted in large format for its 40th anniversary. It has sold more than 4 million copies.

After its initial showing at The Museum of Modern Art in 1955, the exhibition toured the world for eight years, making stops in thirty-seven countries on six continents. More than 9 million people viewed the exhibit. The only surviving edition was presented to Luxembourg, the country of Steichen’s birth, and is on permanent display.. In 2003 the Family of Man photographic collection was added to UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register in recognition of its historical value.

“The Family of Man” as U.S. Cultural Diplomacy

The photographs included in the exhibition focus on the commonalities that bind people and cultures around the world and the exhibition itself served as an expression of humanism in the decade following World War II.

The Family of Man circulated internationally under the auspices of the The Museum of Modern Art International Program, founded in 1952 to develop and tour circulating exhibitions, including United States Representations at international exhibitions and festivals, one-person shows, and group exhibitions. Since the founding of the International Program, MoMA exhibitions have had hundreds of showings around the world.

The collection’s overtones of peace and human brotherhood symbolized a lifting of the overhanging danger of an atomic war for Soviet citizens. This meaning seemed to be grasped especially by Russians students and intellectuals.

Even as these systems offered to improve Soviet understanding of American life, most generated records of visitors’ opinions about America, the exhibition, and the Soviet Union

Fred – saying computer preprogrammed/guides with thousands of answers to questions .. but more interested in what questions they were asking..

Nelson explained that the dome would be the first building visitors entered, and would be designed to overwhelm them with highly credible facts and images from the United States. These would help persuade the Soviets that Americans could be trusted to tell the truth

so flooding people with highly credible facts persuades trust?

Together these interactions allowed Soviets to express themselves and, at the same time, rendered their psyches available to surveillance.

2 forms of control: 1-they were offered spinach or rock; 2-they were monitored – raised eyebrow and agenda ness.. ?

They listed the questions asked of RAMAC. (Number one in the first week: “How much do cigarettes cost?” Number two: “What is meant by the American dream?”

A society linked by the intercommunications of independent individuals was a far cry from one organized by the top-down dictates of a totalitarian regime

might tech do better facilitating.. and keep from judgment and agenda ness?



fred turner