01 Contemporary Media Issues Intro To Section B - Part 1

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Opening presentation introducing the Postmodern Media topic for the Contemporary Media Issues section of the A2 exam.

Opening presentation introducing the Postmodern Media topic for the Contemporary Media Issues section of the A2 exam.

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  • 1. Contemporary Media Issues Introduction to Section B of the Exam Part One
  • 2.
    • This part of the exam asks you to consider some difficult academic debates.
    • For example - how important is ‘the media’ in society and what different roles do ‘the media’ play in people's lives?
    • Has the nature of ‘the media’ changed?
    • Can we still see it as a singular entity?
    • How can we pay attention to all the complex and unique formulations of media practice in people's lives?
  • 3.
    • There are no obvious ‘right answers’.
    • You will need to engage with a range of theories about how people use media;
    • Learn about research that academics have carried out to discover specific audience practices and habits;
    • And, most importantly, demonstrate a personal position on the issues.
  • 4.
    • You will study one topic – Postmodern Media.
    • For this topic, it is essential to focus on three areas in your exam answer:
    • Historical : you must show that you understand how relevant aspects of the contemporary media can be compared to the past.
    • Contemporary : most of your answer will be spent demonstrating an up-to-date, accurate, theoretical and academic knowledge of today's media.
    • Future : to gain the higher marks you will need to have some ideas about where the media are going next.
  • 5. Topic - Postmodern Media
    • Let’s look at this topic through three quotes about it to show you how you can apply academic theory to your study of the media…
    • I’m going to use the most difficult topic to illustrate, hopefully, that you’ve not got too much to be scared of…
    • First, some let’s define what postmodern media means…
  • 6. Defining Postmodern Media
    • Postmodernism describes the emergence of a society in which the importance and power of the mass media and popular culture means that they govern and shape all other forms of social relationships.
    • Postmodernism suggests that popular culture and media images increasingly dominate our sense of reality, the way we define ourselves, and the world around us.
    • Postmodernism tries to come to terms with, and understand, this media-saturated society.
  • 7.
    • The distinction between media and reality has collapsed, and we now live in a 'reality' defined by images and representations - a state of simulated or hyperreality .
    • Postmodern media rejects the idea that any media product or text is of any greater value than another. All judgements of value are merely taste.
    • All ideas of ‘the truth‘ are just competing claims - or discourses - and what we believe to be the truth at any point is merely the 'winning' discourse.
    Three Postmodern Media Ideas
  • 8.
    • The distinction between media and reality has collapsed, and we now live in a 'reality' defined by images and representations - a state of simulated reality . Images refer to each other and represent each other as reality rather than some ‘pure’ reality that exists before the image represents it - this is the state of hyperreality . (Julian McDougall)
    Postmodern Media Ideas
  • 9. The mass media, for example, were once thought of as holding up a mirror to, and thereby reflecting, a wider social reality. Now that reality is only definable in terms of surface reflection of the mirror. Dominic Strinati (1992) Quote 1 How can we tell what’s real anymore?
  • 10. Postmodern Media Ideas 1 – Reality?
    • The mass media (TV, cinema, radio, the press, the Internet) were once thought of as separate, as reflecting society – as modern …
    • Now society and the mass media are so closely connected that society has become subsumed within the mass media – we’ve gone post modern …
    • It is no longer a question of the mass media reflecting society, since ‘reflecting’ suggest that there is a society, beyond the mass media version of society, that can be reflected!
    • Postmodernism suggests that we can no longer be sure of what is real.
    • This is one of the issues according to postmodern theory.
    • But how does that apply to A level media studies?
  • 11. Postmodern Media Ideas 1 – Reality TV?
    • Consider the X Factor…
    • To what extent is the X Factor actually ‘real’?
  • 12. Big Brother 8 (2007) Chanelle Hayes Which is the ‘real’ Chanelle?
  • 13. Postmodern Media Ideas 1 – Reality?
    • Guy Debord writes of ‘The Society of the Spectacle’ (1967).
    • ‘ The world we see is the world of the commodity’.
    • How have BB housemates or X factor contestants become a commodity?
    • The spectacle is ‘a social relationship between people that is mediated by images’.
    • How has the audiences relationship with Chanelle been mediated by images?
  • 14. Postmodern Media Ideas 1 – Reality?
    • The triumph of ‘ the spectacle ’ is found in the emptiness of the media conscious celebrity.
    • Debord sees them as people who have become ‘possible roles’ for us to identify with to ‘compensate for the crumbling of directly experienced…productive activity’.
    • Celebrities provide us with false representations of life but because we spend our time watching ‘the spectacle’ they ultimately become the reality of our everyday lives.
  • 15.
    • Let’s have a brief pause.
    • Choose a ‘celebrity’ from popular culture.
    • How have they become a ‘commodity’?
    • How have they become part of the ‘spectacle’?
    • How are they compensating for our own lack of ‘productive activity’?
    Applying Postmodern Media Theory
  • 16.  
  • 17. Postmodern Media Ideas 1 – Reality?
    • Dominic Strinati called Big Brother a 'fetishised hyperreality’ , in which the simulation has defeated any notion of the objective 'real'.
    • And if we no longer know what’s ‘real’ how can we know what, or who, is ‘right’?
    • Let’s work through that again…
  • 18. Postmodern Media Ideas 1 – Reality?
    • We know that the media is 'in between‘ us and reality, hence the word 'media‘ and the idea of mediation .
    • Postmodernists claim that in a media-saturated world, where we are constantly immersed in media - on the move, at work, at home - the distinction between reality and the media representation of it becomes blurred or even entirely invisible.
    • We have lost our sense of the difference between real things and images of them, or real experiences and simulations of them.
    • Pure reality is replaced by hyperreality where any sense of what’s real and imaginary is eroded.
  • 19.
    • Let’s have another pause.
    • How can we use an example from popular culture to explain the idea that we can no longer see the difference between what’s real and what’s not?
    Applying Postmodern Media Theory
  • 20. The Matrix (1999) – Welcome to the Real World
  • 21.
    • Postmodernists claim that in a media-saturated world, where we are constantly immersed in media - on the move, at work, at home - the distinction between reality and the media representation of it becomes blurred or even entirely invisible. For example in ‘The Matrix’ (1999)…
    Applying Postmodern Media Theory
  • 22. Postmodern Media Ideas 1 – Reality?
    • Some critics see postmodernism and hyperreality as a historical development.
    • The modernist period came during the early part of the 20 th century when artists experimented with the representation of reality.
    • Here’s an example of a modernist text. An artist is experimenting with reality. But what is it?
  • 23. Marcel Duchamp Nude Descending A Staircase (1912)
  • 24. Applying Postmodern Media Theory
    • After modernism comes post modernism ;
    • Modernism is the artist playing around with representation.
    • Postmodernism is where this idea of representation gets 'remixed', played around with even more, ‘mashed up’ through pastiche , parody and intertextual references
    • Where the people that make texts (artists, film directors, creatives) deliberately remind us that they are constructed texts and make no attempt to pretend that they are 'realist'.
    • Others say that, if you think about it, postmodernism is just a new word to describe what has always gone on.
  • 25. Defining Postmodernism
    • Pastiche, parody and intertextuality are terms that come from Fredric Jameson’s (1991) theories.
    • Jameson sees parody as the comic intention to ‘produce an imitation which mocks the original’ whilst acknowledging that it imitates.
    • Pastiche, however, is less about comedy and more about plagiarism.
    • ‘ Pastiche is blank parody. Parody that has lost its sense of humour’.
    • An example might be The Day After Tomorrow (2004) as it recreates the 1970s disaster movie adding only CGI as a contemporary update.
    • So be careful how you apply the terms…
  • 26. Unknown Artist Superhero Descending A Staircase (2006) According to Jameson, why is this a Postmodernist text?
  • 27.
    • Another postmodern critic, Fredric Jameson, saw parody as the comic intention to ‘produce an imitation which mocks the original’ . A painting like Superhero descending a staircase (2006) openly ‘steals’ from Marcel Duchamp’s earlier work…
    Applying Postmodern Media Theory
  • 28. Defining Postmodernism
    • Intertextuality is found in postmodern films and other media texts that borrow features from other texts.
    • Though now seen as positive through films like Pulp Fiction (1994) and Scream (1996) – intertextuality was seen by Jameson as being an example of cultural decline – that there was ‘nothing new anymore’.
    • Connections - What other media involves huge amounts of intertextual borrowing?
  • 29. Applying Postmodern Media Theory
    • Let’s take another postmodern look at that Duchamp painting again.
    • I’m going to show you two further representations of reality.
    • After a few questions along the way…
    • I want you to tell me which one is the most real?
  • 30. Marcel Duchamp Nude Descending A Staircase (1912) Why is this a modernist text?
  • 31. Mel Ramos, Nude Descending A Staircase (2006) Why is this a postmodernist text? Parody? Pastiche? Intertextual?
  • 32. Eadweard Muybridge Nude Descending a Staircase (1886) Why is this a Modernist text? How does it change our reading of the 1912 Duchamp painting?
  • 33. Applying Postmodern Media Theory
    • So which one’s most ‘real’?
    • The post modernist would argue that they are all equally as real and equally as unreal.
    • They are all representations of reality.
    • The medium of oil paints or acrylic paints or the camera are mediating reality.
    • Postmodernism is where we no longer concern ourselves with experimenting with representation ( modernism ) but we accept what is represented isn’t real and experiment with even the idea of representation ( post modernism ).
  • 34. Applying Postmodern Media Theory
    • Let’s look at a recent film and try to apply some postmodern thinking…
    • We all know films aren’t ‘real’;
    • Even documentaries were first defined as ‘creative treatments of actuality’.
    • But to what extent is Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) a postmodernist text?
  • 35. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) – Opening scenes
  • 36. Applying Postmodern Media Theory
    • So why is it a postmodern text?
    • Because it’s playing around with the idea of representation;
    • It’s a pastiche and parody of film noir;
    • It’s full of intertextual references;
    • The film director deliberately reminds us that we are watching a constructed text and makes no attempt to pretend that this is 'real’ .
    • Now write up why KKBB is a postmodern text in your own words giving examples….
  • 37. Review
    • What have we learnt?
    • Postmodernism suggests that we now live in a hyperreal world .
    • Reality TV is an example of hyperreality and the t he representation of ‘the spectacle’ - ‘a relationship between people that is mediated by images’.
    • When representation gets 'remixed' through pastiche , parody and intertextual references ’ this is postmodernism at play
    • And that the Media Studies is no longer as easy as it once was.
  • 38.
    • Now explain Point 1 in your own words…
    • Here it is again:
    • The distinction between media and reality has collapsed, and we now live in a 'reality' defined by images and representations - a state of simulated reality . Images refer to each other and represent each other as reality rather than some ‘pure’ reality that exists before the image represents it - this is the state of hyperreality .
    Applying Postmodern Media Theory