01 Formal and informal structures. and a peculiar and eccentric book promoting the ass as King of the Beasts, Banchieri's La Nobilita dell'Asino , Venice 1599. Here the seated monarch is part of an all-animal orchestra.

02 from Amerotius, Compeniu Graece Gramatices , printed in Louvain in 1520. The elements of Grammar are deployed in a family tree structure to indicate what Gombrich calls "kinship". See "The Visual Image", in The Image and the Eye , Phaidon, Oxford 1982, p.149.


03 titlepage for The Hierarchy of the Blessed Angels, Heywood London 1635


How can a complex set of relationships be visualised within the single image? what are the ebst metaphors available within which the hierarchies can be expressed?




Families and Hierarchies , an Introduction. Part of general studies in classification. Chris Mullen

1. The Possibilities ; general ideas

1.1 the question of patriarchal structures, inherent characteristics, the role of the intelligent woman in a patriachal institution
1.2 the occurrence of matriarchal structures, consequent adaptation of behaviour, aspirations etc.
1.3 the social psychology of domestic life, the dinner table, the TV channel control
1.4 the codification of behaviour, the formalisations of etiquette, ref.Imperialism, patriarchy
1.5 political hierarchies, formal and informal structures, national political structures (Nazi Germany, Utopia, implications for the egalitarian, Shakers) structures in the political party, the role of the American President; the structures of Imperialism the structures of Apartheid , institutional racism, language as a constituent element of the power structure; biology and eugenics as justifications for racism and idelogy. Colonisation and linguistic impera- tives. The Family of Nations. The United Nations.
1.6 Education and institutional hierarchies.
1.7 Group behaviour, formal and informal, the tribe, street gangs and trade affiliations.
1.8 industrial structures, microcosm and macrocosm, pioneers of industrial psychology, management studies a psychology of labour, organisational theories, the multinational firm and the cult of loyalty.

the perspective of the observer, from where the observation is made.
the concept of categorisation, selection and priority
the hierarchies of language (see colonialism, Imperialism etc) slang, dialect.

2. You may already have encountered these ideas in :

2.1 literature,

the works of Ivy Compton Burnett (the patriarchal;
E.Gosse, Father and Son ;
Sylvia Plath poetry ( Daddy, Lady Lazarus );
Shakespeare Macbeth and King Lear ;
the Brontes, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights;
Alice Walker The Colour Purple,In Search of our Mothers Gardens;
Maya Angelou, Where the Caged Bird Sings, and other parts of her autobiography;
U.Eco, The Name of the Rose ;
Chaucer The Wife of Bath ;
Ibsen, The Dolls House and Hedda Gabler .


2.2 art,

the family portrait,
Ingres and Degas;
the Tudor portait,
monumental effigies;
Court portraiture,
Holbein and Goya;
Grant Wood and the American Regionalist Family, American Gothic;
the Impressionist group portrait; the Holy Family and Marionite adaptation; the Florentine banker and his culture;
Heaven and Hell in Western painting.


2.3 Photography and Documentary,

Steichen 's Exhibition, The Family of Man ;
Keith Arnatt's photographs of owner and dog, friends together;
the representation of the family in the photo-essay, Life and Look;
August Sander and the Encyclopaedia of Mankind;
Fred Wiseman's documentary of institutions, Basic Training (the Army),Law and Order (The Police), Hospital (Doctors).



2.4 Feature films,

Welles The Magnificent Ambersons ,
Citizen Kane ;
Minelli, Meet me in St Louis ; de
Palma's Sisters ;
Spielberg, The Colour Purple ;
Full Metal Jacket,
The Shining ;
Kurosawa, The Seven Samurai
TV Soaps, Dallas Dynasty etc

Much of this material (2.3 and 2.4) is available for viewing if needs be. Texts can be found in most libraries. The purpose of the project is to think about

3.WHAT IF........................? and in pursuit of the idea that elements from one family or hierarchy may be fused/ incorporated with elements from another family or hierarchy

3.1 what if........... laws of physics , ( Red Dwarf )
3.2 what if........... time ( Peggy Sue got Married ,1986 dir.Coppola)
3.3 what if........... chance ( Suspiria, 1981 Dario Argento)
3.4 what if........... biology (Eraserhead , 1976, David Lynch)
3.5 what if........... dimension ( Purple Rose of Cairo ,1984 Woody Allen)


4. FLATLAND, A ROMANCE OF DIFFERENT DIMENSIONS , by a Square, Edwin A.Abbott, 2nd ed 1884

"Place a penny on the middle of the table in Space; and leaning over it, look down upon it. It will appear a circle. But now, drawing back to the edge of the table, gradually lower your eye (thus bringing yourself more and more into the condition of the inhabitants of Flatland) you will find that the penny becomes more oval to your view; and at last when you place your eye exactly on the edge of the table (so that you are, as it were, actually a Flatlander) the penny will have ceased to appear oval at all, and will have become, so far as you can see, a straight line."
5. Read W.B.Yeats, The Second Coming . Some set of laws has been suspended and instead of a Christ, there is only something sinister and terrifying. How does Yeats use language to describe the phenomenal creature ? What is meant by the centre cannot hold ? What picture of the "What if...." world does Yeats achieve ?

6. Support sessions ; recommended viewings

Purple Rose of Cairo, 79 mins,
After Hours, 93 mins.
Full Metal Jacket, 120mins.