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Postmodernism (1) Image Society & Postmodernism Andy Warhol. Toy Paintings: Four Monkeys. 1983.

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Presentation on theme: "Postmodernism (1) Image Society & Postmodernism Andy Warhol. Toy Paintings: Four Monkeys. 1983."— Presentation transcript:

1 Postmodernism (1) Image Society & Postmodernism Andy Warhol. Toy Paintings: Four Monkeys

2 From Structuralism to Postmodernism & Poststructuralism -- 後結構主義 ( Poststructuralism ) ︰ theories which challenge 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

3 Why starts with “ image society ” --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?

4 Outline 1. Image, image everywhere.Image, image everywhere A. CausesCauses B. Effects 1. Conformity and stereotypes;Conformity and stereotypes 2. Loss of meaning/feelings/history;Loss of meaning/feelings/history 3. Self-reflexivity in the use of signsSelf-reflexivity in the use of signs 2. Examples A. mixtures of images: Music Videos & MTV channelmixtures of images B. spectacles: Living Mall ( 京華城 )spectacles

5 Different Kinds of Images 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).

6 Causes 1: mechanical/electronic reproduction Mechanical and electronic reproduction of image (photograph, photocopying machine, computer, etc.) Walter Benjamin: -- 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.

7 Examples of reproduction: “ Creation of Adam ” “ Creation of Adam ” in the Sistine Chapel in Vatican (source)source

8 Examples of reproduction Barbara Kruger’s political revision of “Creation of Adam” Untitled 1982 The words are imposed on the original image to intercept its representation of power (of Man’s).

9 Causes 2: development of image 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.

10 Causes 3: development of capitalism Jameson: cultural logic of postmodernism: Overall commodification: Capital commodifies everything. On the one hand, art is commercialized; on the other, consumption can be aestheticized, too.

11 Effects 1: Conformity and stereotypes; 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  Other: stereotypes

12 Effects 2: Loss of meaning/feelings/history; loss of meaning – floating signifiers; loss of feelings – no sense of involvement; loss of history – history presented with stereotypes.

13 Effects 3: Self-reflexivity in the use of signs 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.

14 Music video ’ s self-reflexive uses of video images “ Money for Nothing ” (1985) Money for Nothing “ Losing my Religion ” (Out Of Time 1991) Losing my Religion “ If ” (Janet 1993 ) If “ Atom Bomb ” (1996) Atom Bomb MTV ’ s and Channel V ’ s commercials MTV ’ s and Channel V ’ s commercials – in  Gradual loss of meanings?

15 1. Dire Straits -- 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. ”

16 2. “ Losing My Religion ” : video as metonymic expressions of the lyrics 1. Lyrics: struggle by oneself to communicate; “ 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 ”

17 “ Losing My Religion ” : parodying the Icarus myth “ Everything is just a dream. ”

18 “ If ” by Janet Jackson Lyrics: “ 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 But If I was your girl ” Video: desiring and rejecting the male dancer

19 “ If ” : Orientalism & desiring the images on the screen; Multiple choices of virtual sex: single, double, trio, two couples. Janet Jackson still the central object of desire

20 Atom Bomb by Fluke 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 Fluke, a UK electronic band

21 Atom Bomb : pastiche of images and identity Lyrics: Baby got a Nobel Prize Given for the perfect crime Baby got an alibi Baby got eight more lives Baby got the purple hair Baby got a secret lair Baby got an army there I aint never seen this baby get scared.

22 MTV ’ s and Channel V ’ s commercials – in 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.

23 Example 2: the Living Mall 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 natural Capital as the Center of cultures, celebrities and talents  Supported by its spectacular design

24 The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord, 1967 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, 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.source

25 The mall: “ commodification of everyday life ” 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 )Mitchell

26 京華城 : a self-enclosed & spectacular world 1. Appearance; 2. Entering by “ ascending ”

27 2. Allegories re-written --showing its story of construction -- street names for each floor -- “ a space ship ” ?  soccer

28 京華城 : a self-enclosed & spectacular world 3. The basement eating court-- like a theatre

29 京華城 : a self-enclosed & spectacular world (4): Circular structure supports the shoppers ’ inward and mutual gazes

30 京華城 : space of the spectacle = commercial space

31 京華城 : space of the spectacle = maze-like routes of ascension

32 京華城 : space of the spectacle = commercial space


34 Interchangeable signs Despite their colorfulness, the commodities as signs are similar to each other, if not the same in some cases.

35 References Mitchell, Don. Cultural Geography: A Critical Introduction. Massachusetts: Blackwell, 2000.

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