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Week 3 Sound and Vision Criticisms Pt1


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Week 3 Sound and Vision Criticisms Pt1

  1. 1. Digital Culture – A paradigm shift? A paradoxical state - a pivotal moment of flux, rupture, change, speed, and decentralisation AND consolidation, entrenchment, centralisation and slowing down 1Sunday, 7 October 2012
  2. 2. “An artist is someone who can hold two opposing viewpoints and still remain fully functional.” ― F. Scott FitzgeraldSunday, 7 October 2012
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  5. 5. “There is a shadowy ambition behind the concept of the virtual world -to have everyone safely confined in their homes, hooked up to sensory feedback devices in an enclosing, interactive environment which will be far more powerful a tool of social control than television” • Julian Stallabrass quoted in New Media A Critical Introduction pg. 287 5Sunday, 7 October 2012
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  9. 9. Technology and Moral panics The horror of the TV aerialSunday, 7 October 2012
  10. 10. “We can assert with some confidence that our own period is one of decline: that the standards of culture are lower than they were fifty years ago…I see no reason why the decay of culture should not proceed much further, and why we may not even anticipate a period of some duration, of which is possible to say that it will have no culture. “ T.S.Eliot, Notes towards a Definition of Culture, quoted in Greenberg. ‘The Plight of Culture’.Sunday, 7 October 2012
  11. 11. The Assault on Culture with a Capital C - The Barbarians are at the Door “to know the best that has been said and thought in the world” Matthew ArnoldSunday, 7 October 2012
  12. 12. Responses - The Culture Industry • Culture industry is a term coined by Theodor Adorno (1903-1969) and Max Horkheimer (1895-1973). • The idea that the factory style production of popular culture produces standardised products that manipulate and seduce the consumer (or masses) with quick,easy gratification that leaves the consumer passive and ultimately unhappy. • A central idea in Adorno and Horkheimer critique of mass culture is that it creates false needs - needs which are manufactured and of course satisfied by capitalismSunday, 7 October 2012
  13. 13. “The effectiveness of the culture industry depends not on its parading of an ideology, on disguising the true nature of things, but on removing the thought that there is an alternative to the status quo. “ Theodore Adorno The Culture IndustrySunday, 7 October 2012
  14. 14. ‘something is provided for all so that none may escape’ Adorno, T & Horkheimer,M, Dialectic of the Enlightenment (Verso, 1997) p. 123Sunday, 7 October 2012
  15. 15. Society of Spectacle • “spectacle was a spectacle, a circus, a show, an exhibition, a one way transmission of experience. It was a form of ‘communication to which one side, the audience, can never reply; a culture based on the reduction of almost everyone to a state of abject non- creativity, of receptivity, passivity and isolation.’ • Christopher Gray ‘Everyone will live in his own Cathedral”: the Situationists 1958-1964Sunday, 7 October 2012
  16. 16. • “The Situationists [..] applied the Marxist conception of alienation to every area of everyday life and argued that the development of capitalism entailed the extension of the means, the objects, and the intensity of alienated experiences. For the Situationists, no area of experience is free from the permeation of capitalist relations of production and consumption; the members of capitalist societies are reduced to the level of spectators of a world which precludes their participation.’ • Sadie Plant, ‘What is Situationism? A Reader’ editor Stewart HomeSunday, 7 October 2012
  17. 17. SUMMARY OF MASS CULTURE CRITIQUES • The debasement of authentic, organic folk culture • The erosion of high cultural traditions. • The erasure of a critical reflective dimension to culture • The indoctrination and manipulation of the public by market forces and political power for profit and gain 17Sunday, 7 October 2012
  18. 18. • ‘there is a specific conception of the audience of mass culture , the mass or the public which consumes mass produced products . The audience is conceived of as a mass of passive consumers...supine before the false pleasures of mass consumption...The picture is of a mass which almost without thinking, without reflecting,abandoning all critical hope, buys into mass culture and mass consumption. Due to the emergence of mass society and mass culture it lacks the intellectual and moral resources to do otherwise. It cannot think of, or in terms of, alternatives.’ • Dominic Strinati 1995, ‘Mass Culture and popular culture and The Frankfurt School and the Culture Industry’ 18Sunday, 7 October 2012
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  20. 20. –“the concept of the spectacle flattens distinctions with polemic intent.’ • Jorg Heiser, ‘Things that matter in contemporary art’Sunday, 7 October 2012
  21. 21. Critique of mass culture critique • Agency: How contemporary consumers in a digital culture use, interact, respond to and with, the products of our consumerist society, are, as research has shown far more complex, contradictory and varied than the spectacle critique allows for.Sunday, 7 October 2012
  22. 22. • Agency vs DeterminismSunday, 7 October 2012
  23. 23. Agency vs DeterminismSunday, 7 October 2012
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  26. 26. Bruno Latour • Critiques the notion of themodern concept) nature and society (a very separation of • Latour attempts to (arguing they exist in and natural worlds reconnect the social what he refers to as a a parliament of things). • Latour view is that humans and non humans form hybrid entities by virtue of the networks their share • Nothing is no longer purely human, not because humans have changed but because the environment they inhabit has. • We live in a biotechnological world where we are networked with other things.Sunday, 7 October 2012
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  29. 29. The Shuffling, stumbling ZombieSunday, 7 October 2012
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  31. 31. The feverish, running ZombieSunday, 7 October 2012
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  35. 35. “most human  sufferings nowadays tend to grow from a surfeit of possibilities , rather than a profusion of prohibitions (as they used to be in the past)” Zygmunt Bauman, Consuming Passions, pg. 94Sunday, 7 October 2012
  36. 36. •  the essence of the blasé attitude consists in the blurring of discrimination. This does not mean that the objects are not perceived, as is the case with the half wit, but rather that the meaning and differing values of things, and thereby the things themselves, are experienced as insubstantial. They appear to the blasé person in an evenly flat and grey tone; no one object deserves preference over any other. All things float with equal specific gravity in the constantly moving stream of money. • George Simmel quoted in Zygmunt Bauman, Consuming LIfeSunday, 7 October 2012
  37. 37. ‘sense the infinity of connections, but be hooked up to nothin”g’. Sunday, 7 October 2012
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  39. 39. •icase study - ipodSunday, 7 October 2012
  40. 40. •interestedisin how Reynolds technology like the ipod has changed the economics and business of music. •from the perspective He examines this of the consumers acquisition of music and their listening habits.Sunday, 7 October 2012
  41. 41. •technology of the Reynolds sees the ipod as replicating and reinforcing central core ideas within neoliberalism - the cult of the narcissitic self , of the privatised, atomised individual and of creating an increasingly nostalgic, slowly ossifying ‘dead’ cultureSunday, 7 October 2012
  42. 42. I Me Mine - No Surprises – Flat Culture • ‘but itipod maymemory maker:box the is not a be a memory it is hard to imagine the device playing the same kind of role as the radio did in the past , in terms of entwining music with everyday life, especially as it often involves the use of music to screen out the outside world and avoid unwelcome social interactions’ • Simon Reynolds, pg 117Sunday, 7 October 2012
  43. 43. • “the commodification of music meant that investing one’s cash and investing one’s emotion became totally wedded. When music came clad in a cherishable husk of packaging and the recording medium itself had a material heft, it asserted itself as a tangible presence in your life. It was easier to form an attachment to music when it was a thing” • Simon Reynolds, Retromania, pg. 126Sunday, 7 October 2012
  44. 44. For Reynolds, it is the shift for a culture of scarcity to one of plentitude that has resulted in a radical transformation of our relationship with music. He contrasts the change from an either / or mentality (you could afford one record instead of another) and the tribal, partisan attitude that came with this, to one of ‘plus/and’. “Plus/and means that you don’t have to choose, because you can choose both; you don’t have to take sides, because everything has its point and its positives” Reynolds, pg. 126Sunday, 7 October 2012
  45. 45. •remains subject (or theitrulefact ‘either/or’. Lifelife “Unfortunately to is in of fortunately?) itself is a scarcity economy: you only have so much time and energy. What’s missing from all the techno- utopian scenarios of access and choice is the reality of limits -on resources, on an individuals time, on our brains ability to process information beyond a certain speed. To the extent that plus/and is becoming the dominant principle of culture (so many options, so much information, so much entertainment), it could be that it is actually killing music, because its ultimate tendency is towards a kind of indifference” Reynolds, pg. 127Sunday, 7 October 2012
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  48. 48. Criticisms of: Old fogeyism Self serving, selective historical blindness Underplays the return to the ‘live event’ EurocentrismSunday, 7 October 2012