The Iconic Image of the Skull within the Consumer Culture.

Earth Skull by Malcolm Wee

13/7/12 – Facebook uses the skull as an effective marketing strategy 

Indeed Facebook is continuing to advertise artists, designers, gallery spaces and companies who explore the image of the skull. The advertisements are posted to my wall on a regular basis, which invites one to question whether the skull has become a ‘virtual’ image through the world-wide web.

Is the modern population left to rely on the image or the representation in order to familiarize ones self with the actual structure of the skull and the internal elements of the body? One could argue that the mass media and the consumer culture has modified one’s perception of the skull through continual reproduction.

In reflection, I have never actually seen a real human skull, although I am confronted with the representation of the skull through popular culture, television, music, art, design and interactive media. Can one apprehend the actual concept behind the skull without having to find one?

Earth Skull by Soh Jun Hao

Perhaps the image of the skull initiates a closer connection to death or perhaps the skull reflects society’s desire to connect with the dead. It is quite hard to tell because those who have passed away are not alive to reflect upon their own experiences of death. One could argue that the subject of death is quite subjective and there is no right or wrong answer. According to Margo DeMello there are different cultures or lifestyles that have their own interpretations of death, although one may struggle to find a definite answer for the meaning of life itself.

There are hundreds, thousands, even millions of artists and designers who have provided a different interpretation of the skull, which also indicates that the contemporary culture is strongly interested in the subject of death that will continue to inspire millions of consumers worldwide. Has the skull become cultural phenomenon through internet sites such as Facebook or Google?

Facebook’s effective marketing strategies does prove how one social networking site can cater for different interests, styles or trends. I am now in the last few months of my research and I’m using Facebook to accumulate research rather than Google, which is quite an interesting observation.

Earth Skull by Lena Ah-Tune

Kult Facebook page

I must admit my Facebook page is definitely interesting now that I have skulls appearing onto my page almost every hour. Instead of finding the research, the research is automatically provided through Facebook’s clever marketing and advertising.

I have found an interesting site on my Facebook page also known as Kult, which promotes contemporary artists and designers within a public domain.According to the site, Kult explores “global issues” within a creative or an artistic manner, which exceed beyond commercialisation.
One could argue that the Facebook page is a form of commercialisation, which  attracts followers on a mass scale, although the website features a range of contemporary art, which also explores the globalisation of the skull.

Artists have submitted work onto the site, which features various representations or depictions of the skull through different mediums and artistic formats. The artworks do appear on my wall on a regular basis, which has provided a level of inspiration for the project and it would interesting to see what other images or representation appear on my Facebook page within the next few months.

Earth Skull by XOTL

DeMello, Margo. Faces around the World: A Cultural Encyclopedia of the Human Face.  California ABC – CLIO, LLC, 2012. p. 56 – 60

6 responses to “The Iconic Image of the Skull within the Consumer Culture.

  • Parlor of Horror

    Love that earth skull by XOTL. I used to collect skulls – momenti mori. Now they are a cartoonish sales item with a diluted meaning.

    • Black Calavera

      Thanks for the comment 🙂 yeah the earth skulls are pretty cool. You have made a very interesting comment, I’m doing research on skulls as a popular trend and whether they still have an actual meaning or representation. But yeah, thanks again 🙂

  • Parlor of Horror

    As usual, commercial marketing takes something and over uses it until it is so diluted, that it has no more meaning.

    • Black Calavera

      Thats interesting, I would agree with your comment. It appears that the skull is turned into a popular trend. Would you say that the skull has lost the connection with death and mortality all together through commercialism?

      • Parlor of Horror

        They have clothes for young school kids with cute little skulls on them – they have Skull Candy Earbuds with pink and yellow packaging – if a child saw a skull and cross-bones on a bottle of poison today, do you think they would know enough to stay away from it? I don’t think so.

      • Black Calavera

        That is true. I’m beginning to see so many young children wearing t-shirts, jumpers and backpacks with the skull. You are properly right, the skull has been reproduced to the degree where children might see the skull and crossbones on a bottle of poison as another image or representation. Perhaps the shape, the style and the design of the skull may impact another person’s interpretation of death?

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