Post modern ism (1). Image Society & Postmodernism. Andy Warhol. Toy Paintings: Four Monkeys. 1983. From Structuralism to Postmodernism & Poststructuralism.
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Image Society & Postmodernism
Andy Warhol. Toy Paintings: Four Monkeys. 1983.
-- 後結構主義(Poststructuralism)︰theories whichchallenge the stable structure of language (binaries) and traditional value systems; sees their meanings as slippery, multiple and contingent (因時而定的).
--後現代主義(Postmodernism)︰cultures which challenge language and the other types of “Truth,” foundation and tradition. (Poststructuralism as one example.)
--後現代狀況(Postmodernity)︰The socio-economic and intellectual conditions which make postmodernism possible.
Image society & M Butterfly
--a continuation of semiotics; from different language forms to society’s “languages”
-- one major pm phenomenon: implosion (內爆), not explosion or expansion, of floating signifiers or “simulacra,” which are dissociated from their signified.
Loss of meanings; possibilities of self-reflexivity.
-- Our class’s uses of images (videos, pictures, ppt files, etc.) Are we bombarded by images or are we still active learners?
1. Image, image everywhere.
1. Conformity and stereotypes;
2. Loss of meaning/feelings/history;
3. Self-reflexivity in the use of signs
A. mixtures of images: Music Videos & MTV channel
B. spectacles: Living Mall (京華城)
Increasing domination of pictures in books, newspapers, multimedia books, E-Text, letter-writing, & classrooms influence our reading habits.
Rapid and wider transmission of images through electronic means (computer, TV.)
Penetration of ads and commercials in every corner of public spheres such as the streets, buses, buildings, subway and highway.
Growing need of producing and using images of the Other and of self (of a commodity or a person).
Mechanical and electronic reproduction of image (photograph, photocopying machine, computer, etc.)
-- Art used to be kept in sacred or private spaces, to be viewed by a selective few. This made it possess an aura (光環) as if it were sacred.
-- Aura has declined in this age of mechanical reproduction, because Art is no longer unique; it is more easily available to the general public.
-- Autonomy denied: Artistic autonomy is either a-historical or counter-revolutionary.
“Creation of Adam” inthe Sistine Chapel in Vatican (source)
Barbara Kruger’s political revision of “Creation of Adam”
The words are imposed on the original image to intercept its representation of power (of Man’s).
Baudrillard: the successive phases of the image:
1. it is the reflection of a profound reality; --e.g. of God’s
2. it masks and denatures a profound reality; --e.g. industrial revolution or early capitalism.
3. it masks the ‘absence’ of a profound reality; --e.g. the death of God or truth
4. it has no relation to any reality whatsoever: it is its own pure simulacrum.
Hyperreality – the only real is that which can be reproduced.
cultural logic of postmodernism:
Overall commodification: Capital commodifies everything.
On the one hand, art is commercialized; on the other, consumption can be aestheticized, too.
Capitalism commodifies everything and emphasize its symbolic value or value as an image. every mass-produced images Conformity: The consumers identify with the images they buy with the commodities and thus are massified by them (become a mass).
Self: flattened and collaged identity
loss of meaning – floating signifiers;
loss of feelings – no sense of involvement;
loss of history – history presented with stereotypes.
The destabilization of traditional meaning structures also means freedom to create new meanings:
-- in art – metafiction (e.g. M. Butterfly)
-- in popular culture – mix and re-mix; parody and pastiche
-- in consumption – choice and combination of style; choice of leisure activities and routes to travel.
“Money for Nothing” (1985)
“Losing my Religion”(Out Of Time1991)
“If” (Janet 1993)
“Atom Bomb” (1996)
MTV’s and Channel V’s commercials – in 1999.
Gradual loss of meanings?
-- took their name from their early financial status
-- "Money for Nothing“- chanting that pop stars get their "money for nothing, and their chicks for free"
-- “But rather than causing a stir in the music industry or unleashing a backlash by the video community, MTV embraced the song as their new anthem. The video, which featured sophisticated (for the time) 3-D computer animation, went into heavy rotation, and the band became international superstars. The message of the song, meanwhile, was evidently lost on everyone.”
1. Lyrics: struggle by oneself
“That's me in the corner
That's me in the spotlight
Losing my religion
Trying to keep up with you
And I don't know if I can do it
Oh No, I've said too much
I haven't said enough”
2. Video: a collage of singing, “spotlight scene,” and “Icarus scene”
Video: desiring and rejecting the male dancer
“Oh the things I'd do to you
I'd make you call out my name
I'd ask who it belongs to
If I was your woman
The things I'd do to you
But I'm not
So I can't
Then I won't
If I was your girl”
Multiple choices of virtual sex: single, double, trio, two couples.
Janet Jackson still the central object of desire
Fluke, a UK electronic band
Atom Bomb, a computer game (the Sony Playstation game Wipeout 2097) sound track that brought to life a Japanese Manga styled cartoon character in the shape and form of Arial Tetsuo, aka Rachel Stewart. (sources: info, image.
Baby got a Nobel PrizeGiven for the perfect crimeBaby got an alibiBaby got eight more livesBaby got the purple hairBaby got a secret lairBaby got an army thereI aint never seen this baby get scared.
-- The commercials are like the music videos themselves with fast-changing images, only the the commercials are shorter and even faster in pace.
-- self-reflexive collage of recognizable images, such as Munch’s Scream.
-- self-reflexive showing of frames of TV set and the multiple space in TV.
-- not completely without a sense of history: e.g. 阿妹看MTV.
Mall: a spectacular and self-enclosed space
which either hide or naturalize its commercial reality by capturing the shoppers’ attention with its multitude of signs.
the Living Mall 京華城
Capital as the Center of cultures, celebrities and talents
Supported by its spectacular design
The spectacle presents itself simultaneously as all of society, as part of society, and as instrument of unification. As a part of society it is specifically the sector which concentrates all gazing and all consciousness. Due to the very fact that this sector is separate, it is the common ground of the deceived gaze and of false consciousness, . . .
4. The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images. (source) We live out the spectacle according to someone else’s design, like actors following a script.
to make it work: 1) retail mix – to attract the desired mix of consumers; 2) “seductive”–to keep the shoppers there. maze-like structure, special design (of hallway and food court).
3) “a surfeit of signs, each of which, . .. , serves to actively hide or mask the mall’s function, which is to make money. Or if it doesn't hide that function, then it certainly naturalizes it, such that the ‘commodification of reality’ becomes simply “God-given”(Mitchell 134-35)
--showing its story of construction-- street names for each floor-- “a space ship”? soccer
Despite their colorfulness, the commodities as signs are similar to each other, if not the same in some cases.
Mitchell, Don. Cultural Geography: A Critical Introduction. Massachusetts: Blackwell, 2000.