How do postmodern media differ from other media
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How do postmodern media differ from other media

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  • 1. Sian LynesHow do postmodern media differ from other media?Make sure you refer to modernism, a variety of postmodern texts (film and music), relevanttheory and how postmodern media are different from other media.Postmodern differs from other media in that it often rejects modernist conventions bymanipulating and disregarding conventions such as time, space and narrative. These textsconflict boundaries of genre conventions, often entering and subverting these ideals to createa deliberate distortion of reality. Postmodernism media rejects traditional grand-narrativesand totalising forms such as love, war and history and utopian idealistic visions of reality.Instead, it is heavily reliant on being read by a literate audience in order to create constructedfictions and subjective idealisms.Quentin Tarantinos war film Inglorious Basterds demonstrates the fundamentals ofpostmodern media which creates a distorted reality that challenges modernist utopias. Thefilm is deliberately fragmented into visible Chapters, a convention often associated throughthe medium of literature and fiction texts. This self-conscious form of pastiche addresses adistinct hyper reality and rejects the conventions of linear narratives to create an entirelydisjunctive style. The films title, an example of bricolage: "Once Upon a Time in Nazi-Occupied France..." reinforces this awareness of hyper reality by paying reference to thefairytale genre. This creates irony as it relies on the literate audiences cultural knowledge ofthe historical significance of the horrors of Nazi-Occupied France to challenge the utopiannarrative of a fairytale. Genettes theory of hypotextuality can be applied here as themodification of the pre-ceding hypotext of fairytales, applied to a preconceived idea ofviolence within the war genre, goes against structuralist thinking. The socially recognisabledebris of the fairytale genre supports Levi Strauss addition within the concept of bricolage;reflecting the postmodernist disregard to confinements in genre conventions which wouldotherwise be adhered to in conventional media texts. Structuralist thinking is also challengedthrough the use of yellow text for subtitles and titles, as well as in his filmography, breakingthe boundaries of the conventional white colour choice. This distinguishes his text from othermedia whilst identifying Tarantinos signature style and distancing himself from modernistmedia products.Self-reflexivity is a key concept within postmodernist style and perspective and a techniquenot often adopted in other media texts. This is evident in Tarantinos use of a birds eye viewduring Shoshannas preparation for the Nazi film premiere. The camera shot exposes theconstruction of the walls and layout of the rooms as it pans across the screen and followsShoshanna walk along the cinema hallways. This direct deconstruction of the film set remindsthe audience that the world the characters are in are completely fictional and by extension ahyper reality. Baudrillards developed idea of hyper reality complies to this sequence, as thecharacters, and most arguably, the audience are experiencing a prepared reality chosen by thedirector (which the audience become conscious of). By acknowledging the films own facadethis highlights that postmodernist texts subverts the unconscious principles used for theaudience decode texts, almost literally, in other media products.Postmodernist media often takes various debris from other media to form a mixture genres, asseen in Inglorious Basterds, in order to challenge modernist thinking and what is believed to
  • 2. Sian Lynesbe a war text. This can be seen in the opening chapter which references the 1965 musical film"The Sound of Music" through the iconic Swiss Mountains which is reflected around thesetting of Pierre Lapadites house. John Fiskes development of Barthes semic code theory isthe basis for the sequence, as it relies on the audiences cultural knowledge to be a prospectusfor its significance. In this case, the Swiss Alps, associated with an equilibrium, as encoded inThe Sound of Music, contrasts the disequilibrium arising during the arrival of Hans Landa.Tarantino also heavily references the Spaghetti Western film genre, for example when the shotof the exterior of the doorway as Shoshanna escapes the homicide of Hans Landa directlyreferences the 1956 American western "The Searchers". The contrasting resolution of JohnWaynes character departing at the end of the film against the irresolution of Shoshannarunning for her life at the beginning of the film emphasises the hypotextuality. Furtherevidence of Genettes theory of metatextuality is evident when Hans Landa takes out his pipe,prepares it, lights it, inhales it and exhales it. This could be a direct commentary of thesymbolic use of the pipe in the renowned detective film and character Sherlock Holmes. Thisimplicit parodying of the mystery genre again in combination with other genres demonstratesto the extent that the war genre has been extended, differing itself from the constraints ofother media.An additional example of a postmodernist text if the film "Drive" directed by Nicolas WindingRefn. The narrative is a reference to Grimms Fairy Tales, the protagonist being "The Kid" andhis love interest "Irene", being the damsel in distress. Genettes theory of hypotextuality can beapplied here as the modification of a utopian fairytale in contrast with the disequilibrium TheKid experiences trying to help Stan is postmodern as it challenges the structuralism ofconventional narrative. The Kid initiates no anger towards Stan, another love interest of Irene,which is unexpected as the dominance of two males around one female creates an almostunbalanced quality as the audience expect conflict to win the woman. This breaks boundariesof generic codes such as Barthes binary opposites of a singular hero and princess which wouldotherwise be complied to in other media texts. Fiskes semic code as be applied here as it isreliant on the audiences cultural knowledge of conventional narrative, such as the singularmale hero, to recognise the unusual representation of the characters.The most significant concept that separates postmodern media from other media isBaudrillards theory of hyper reality. Drive exemplifies this as it is heavily reminiscent of thevideo game genre, a medium in itself never represents reality. This can be seen in therepresentation of Los Angeles, which is often seen through an unnatural point of view, such aswith a birds eye view. The manipulation of a viewpoint in combination with the L.A. backdropand The Kids violent behaviour is reminiscent within popularised modern day game "GrandTheft Auto". This emphasises the hyper real narrative and reminds the audience that it iscompletely fictional. In addition, Baudrillards State of Simulcra theory can be applied here asL.A. is represented in a dark and vacant way, challenging the audiences cultural knowledgepresented to us by the media which often perceives L.A. as a glamorous place. By extensionthis creates a disjunctive simulated world that challenges traditional views held by theaudience.
  • 3. Sian LynesThe lack of The Kids back story given to us by the director can be argued as postmodern asother media products are often reliant on this to progress the narrative. By denying theaudience of his real name also this also challenges traditional features seen in other mediatexts. The protagonist also lacks dialogue throughout the film which is reminiscent of TheMan with No Name a stock character in the American western film genre, such as ClientEastwood in the 1966 "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly". The deletion of dialogue, supportingLevi-Strauss concept of bricolage, can be considered postmodern as the audiences decodingsystem is therefore reliant on his behaviour and stylistic costuming in order for the narrativeto progress.The finale of the film attempts to mythologize The Kid as he has been stabbed but starts thecar and drives away into the polluted L.A. stress. This complies with Baudrillards circularreferentiality as it can be argued that The Kid is in the same disequilibrium as he was at thebeginning of the film, having to start a new concealed life somewhere else and forget pastevents (where he started).Another example of postmodern media that continually contest traditional views is FamilyGuys "Blue Harvest", an entire parody of "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope" (1977).Genettes theory of metatextuality as throughout the film is an explicit commentary of the StarWars franchise. The manipulation of time and space is present in the text, evident in theintroductory title of "A long time ago, but somehow in the future". This is compliant withLyotards postmodernist theory as it rejects conventional "grand narratives", as seen in othermedia, and rejects the idea that as history moves forward in time so does humanity. Instead, itfavours Lyotards conception of a "micro-narrative" that reflects diversity and can go in anydirection, often being unpredictable.The film continually acknowledges that it is a constructed fiction text and in no wayrepresents reality. For example, Luke Skywalker played by the character Chris, breaks the"fourth wall" when he introduces the London Symphony Orchestra and composer JohnWilliams. This technique directly creates disjuncture and a feature which is unlikely to bebroken in other media products, especially in modernist narrative. Irony is also evident as theFamily Guy character are aware they are playing other fictional characters that are played byactors. For example, Hans Solo played by Peter, refers to himself as "Captain of the MilleniumFalcon and the only actor whos career isnt destroyed by this movie". Again, this creates anawareness of hyper reality, even through self-reflexivity by the characters, and that theaudience cannot take the narrative seriously.The film "Scott Pilgrim Versus The World" directed by Edgar Wright differs from other mediaas it portrays the version of a supposed real world in which the laws of video game apply. Theprotagonist, Scot,, must battles the Seven Evil Exes of Ramona Flowers in order to date her.The confrontation with the exes are staged like the rounds of the video game "Mortal Combat"in which foes are vanquished and are turned into coins of their point value. This form ofintertextuality defies the laws of physics and science, a component not seen in other mediaand in this case makes the text postmodern via the manipulation of space. Even death is notan ultimatum, but instead perceived as the hindrance of the reward (in this case a date withRamona Flowers), a completely hyper real view towards the natural forms of life and death.
  • 4. Sian LynesFor example, Scott gains a "1-up" meaning an additional life after defeating the KatayanagiTwins. These signs of statistically imitating chances in life become a "simulcra", theorised byBaudrillard, as it bears no relation to reality and by extension a conditioned hyper reality.Postmodern music, like film, is irrespective of boundaries and often divulges itself into othergenres. The musician Lady Gaga is example of this. Firstly, her stage name Gaga adoptsimmediate connotations of the unusual and crazy. In addition her name takes inspiration fromthe rock band Queens 1984 hit "Radio Ga Ga". Levi-Strauss concept of bricolage can beapplied here, as her stage name adopted the recognisable debris from the song, in additionwith the honorific Lady, to create an entirely new title. Her central genre is "theatrical pop"however she often ventures into other genres, for example having worked with Tony Bennetton the classic jazz song "The Lady Is a Tramp" and for the musical soundtrack with Elton Johnon the song "Hello, Hello".Jonathan Kramers theory that postmodern music includes quotations of or references tomusic of many cultures can be applied to her song "Bad Kids". The self-reflexive introductionis an explicit reference to Michael Jacksons "They Dont Care About Us". This resultantcombination of a hip-hop rock and dance-pop, and use of intertextuality, differs it from otherforms of music. In addition, Kramers definition that postmodern music is, on some level orsome way ironic can be applied to her feature on the self-mocking American TV show "TheSimpsons". Here, she sings a song "Superstar" often conforming to the medias representationof herself as weird in order to create a self-mocking humour. This humour is reliant on theaudiences cultural knowledge of herself, supporting theorists such as Fiskes semic code, todecode the significance of the text.Postmodern media therefore differs in many ways to other media products as it creates anentirely new simulation of reality and boundaries within conventions. Rather they adopttechniques such as bricolage and pastiche in order to create a new text within itself. As seen, itis heavily reliant on the audiences cultural knowledge of other texts in order to the reading tobe decoding correctly. It focuses a lot of style of content in order to oppose modernisticapproaches to encoding a text in order to distort reality and fantasy.