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Fashion At The Edge: Spectacle, Modernity and Deathliness by Caroline Evans Ch. 4 Phantasmagoria Fashion History and Culture Thursday 4 October 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Fashion At The Edge: Spectacle, Modernity and Deathliness by Caroline Evans Ch. 4 Phantasmagoria Fashion History and Culture Thursday 4 October 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Fashion At The Edge: Spectacle, Modernity and Deathliness by Caroline Evans Ch. 4 Phantasmagoria Fashion History and Culture Thursday 4 October 2012

2 The Dream Worlds Continue  Evans uses McQueen’s A/W Runway show using mannequins to evoke Zola’s The Ladies Paradise, based on Boucicault’s Bon Marche, 89.  phantasmagoria |fan ˌ tazm ə ˈ gôrē ə |. Noun. A sequence of real or imaginary images like those seen in a dream: what happened next was a phantasmagoria of horror and mystery. DERIVATIVES phantasmagoric |-gôrik|adjective, phantasmagorical |gôrik ə l|adjective ORIGIN early 19th cent. (originally the name of a London exhibition (1802) of optical illusions produced chiefly by magic lantern): probably from French fantasmagorie, from fantasme ‘phantasm’ + a fanciful suffix.

3 It’s Marx time again!  So the idea of phantasmagoria can be used to look at how capitalism uses illusion to create ‘false’ desires to sell products – all the while unbeknownst to the consumer.  This idea that “the occulation of production by means of the outward appearance of the product,” which concealed its production values behind ever increasingly theatrical sleights of hand, Adorno, In Search of Wagner in Evans, 90.

4 Eugène Atget, Avenue des Gobelins, The Museum of Modern Art.

5  Rabate: the “ghosts of modernity” return because modernism denied its own past in the interest of constructing a new and utopian future, they come back as chaotic and aberrant. They are the residue left by modernity, Evans 92. What does this mean? What does the saying “dirt is matter out of place” mean in when thinking about modernity vs. history?

6 Anyone getting anxious?  In a capitalist society, commodity itself relates to human fears, desires and identifications. Think about what you are wearing right this moment. What does these commodities say about your fears, your desire and your identities? Make a short list. Evans, 93.  In your opinion, has the living woman been replaced by “prosthetic goddesses”? Evans, 93.

7 Still anxious?  Lisa Tickner: “Technology held both a phantasmic promise and a phantasmic threat: men might become “prosthetic gods” or mere cogs in the machinery of modernity” ((Tickner 2000, 5-38) … A concern about the alienating effects of new technology also underlay Marx’s concept of commodity fetishism, whereby human relations and feelings are displaced onto objects and people live our their relations via the commodity form rather than directly, Marx, Capital, 176.  What can we say about the death-dealing nature of the commodity, “death labor” and “human producer acquiring the ‘deathly facticity’ of the machine,” Evans 94.

8  “The conversion of pleasure into sickness is the denunciatory task of phantasmagoria,” Evans 99. Agree or disagree?

9  Fashionable dress was important in the nineteenth-century city: it emphasized the instability of the sign, signifying not only novelty but also choice and identity, giving men and women “a way of becoming the subjects as well as the objects of modernization,” Mica Nava 1997 in Evans, 104.  So we have permanent dislocation, “the centre cannot hold,” “All that is solid melts into air,” Marx and Engles, 1848, in Evans, 104.  And so according to Elizabeth Wilson, Adorned in Dreams, the Romantic in the early nineteenth century was a reaction and counter-ideology to the advances of science and industrialization, Evans, 105.

10  Wilson: “the daring of fashion speaks dread as well as desire; the shell of chic, the aura of glamour, always hides a wound,” Adorned in Dreams.  Andrew Groves’s Cocaine Nights: “it was a collection that looked like the perfect collection, but had so many sub- currents…I wanted to show the horrors of perfection, how glamour is really the flip side of decay and destitution, Raymond 1998, in Evans, 106.  What wound does your fashion hide?


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