Ppt Kat

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Ppt Kat

  1. 1. LOOKING PAST THE RURAL IDYLL History, TV Fiction and the Representation of the Flemish Countryside Rien Emmery (KULeuven) C-HIM, Brussels, 10 March 2009
  2. 2. 1. TV IMAGES AND HISTORY  use of TV images for contemporary history ‘ image-driven society’ ‘ bardic function’  very rarely used ‘ mirror for society’  fiction as a source for history of mentalities  TV images = testimonies about the past (Burke) <ul><li>close reading > production / reception </li></ul>
  3. 3. 2. TV IMAGES AND RURAL HISTORY  20th century: consumption countryside <ul><li>- multi-purpose : housing, recreation, tourism, industry </li></ul><ul><li>hegemonic struggle for the use of rural space </li></ul><ul><li>importance of popular discourses , i.e. television </li></ul> ‘ idealized’ or ‘commodified’ countryside on TV?  rural idyll as a proxy for social history
  4. 4. 3. CASE-STUDY: ‘DE KAT’ (1973)  children ’s series (Flemish public broadcaster) <ul><li>hero = De Kat , a masked environmentalist vigilante </li></ul><ul><li>villain = Oskar Dias , an evil industrialist (polluting plastics company) and property developer (speculator) </li></ul> set in Flanders, but filmed in idyllic, rural Provence However , the imagery: - not just a distorted or commodified countryside; - part of a consistent narrative on rural Flanders
  5. 5. 3. CASE-STUDY: ‘DE KAT’ (1973) 3.1 Country life in ‘De Kat’ <ul><li>characters of Karin Oste and Bruno Pinter at the ‘Rupsentros’, hamlet of working-class cottages </li></ul>
  6. 6. Bruno Pinter and Karin Oste at the ‘Rupsentros’
  7. 7. 3. CASE-STUDY: ‘DE KAT’ (1973) 3.1 Country life in ‘De Kat’ <ul><li>characters of Karin Oste and Bruno Pinter at the ‘Rupsentros’, hamlet of working-class cottages </li></ul><ul><li>character of Andrea Belmont (niece of Oskar Dias) living at Belmont manor </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Belmont estate, ‘a large domain with forests’
  9. 9. 3. CASE-STUDY: ‘DE KAT’ (1973) 3.1 Country life in ‘De Kat’ <ul><li>characters of Karin Oste and Bruno Pinter at the ‘Rupsentros’, hamlet of working-class cottages </li></ul><ul><li>character of Andrea Belmont (niece of Oskar Dias) living at Belmont manor </li></ul> green , healthy environments, especially for children
  10. 10. <ul><li>Outdoor activities: </li></ul><ul><li>gardening </li></ul><ul><li>relaxing on the patio </li></ul><ul><li>children’s games </li></ul>
  11. 11. 3. CASE-STUDY: ‘DE KAT’ (1973) 3.1 Country life in ‘De Kat’ <ul><li>characters of Karin Oste and Bruno Pinter at the ‘Rupsentros’, hamlet of working-class cottages </li></ul><ul><li>character of Andrea Belmont (niece of Oskar Dias) living at Belmont manor </li></ul> green , healthy environments, especially for children  threathened by property developer Oskar Dias
  12. 12. Land surveyors at Belmont, preparing the parcelling of the estate
  13. 13. 3. CASE-STUDY: ‘DE KAT’ (1973) 3.1 Country life in ‘De Kat’ Rural idyll crafted by audiovisual techniques:  ‘ rural signifiers’ - panoramic shots of natural environment - small settlements as introductory, background and linkage shots
  14. 15. 3. CASE-STUDY: ‘DE KAT’ (1973) 3.1 Country life in ‘De Kat’ Rural idyll crafted by audiovisual techniques:  ‘ rural signifiers’ - panoramic shots of natural environment - small settlements as introductory, background and linkage shots  rural ‘soundscapes’  soundtrack
  15. 16. « The Hollebeek used to look like this… »
  16. 17. « … then the factory came… »
  17. 18. «… now the Hollebeek looks like this.»
  18. 19. 3. CASE-STUDY: ‘DE KAT’ (1973) 3.1 Country life in ‘De Kat’ Rural idyll matches the actual evolutions in the Flemish countryside, especially following WW II  surge in rural population (Wet De Taeye) renovated farms vs. ‘fermettes’ parcelling of historical estates <ul><li>gardening as a hobby (allotment gardens, NMKL,…) </li></ul><ul><li>flowers as a means of beautification </li></ul>
  19. 20. Beautification through planting of flowers Gardening as a rural pastime
  20. 21. 3. CASE-STUDY: ‘DE KAT’ (1973) 3.1 Country life in ‘De Kat’ Rural idyll matches the actual evolutions in the Flemish countryside, especially following WW II  naming of houses
  21. 22. « Living well », symbolized by a horn of plenty « Open House », symbolized by a beehive
  22. 23. 3. CASE-STUDY: ‘DE KAT’ (1973) 3.1 Country life in ‘De Kat’ References to the struggle over rural Flanders between industry, housing, nature conservation,... - leniency of planning administrations, - loopholes in the zoning laws, - economic ‘regional expansion policy’
  23. 24. De Kat confronts illegal dumping Schoolchildren on a visit to a rural landfill site
  24. 25. 3. CASE-STUDY: ‘DE KAT’ (1973) 3.2 Ecological aspects of ‘De Kat’ Narrative of ‘De Kat’ resembles emergence of the Flemish ecological movement: - at first: grassroots initiative against local case of pollution - gradually: global environmental perspective - frequent social commentary on modern ‘greed’ and ‘consumerism’ , i.e. advertising
  25. 26. 3. CASE-STUDY: ‘DE KAT’ (1973) 3.2 Ecological aspects of ‘De Kat’ ‘ De Kat’ and the Flemish ecological movement: - biological gardening - transportation issue and air pollution
  26. 27. Transportation in ‘De Kat’: by cart, by bike or on horseback
  27. 28. 3. CASE-STUDY: ‘DE KAT’ (1973) 3.2 Ecological aspects of ‘De Kat’ ‘ De Kat’ and the Flemish ecological movement: - biological gardening - transportation issue and air pollution - symbolic/expressive modes of action
  28. 29. De Kat ’s signs warning about poisoned water De Kat sealing off an effluent pipeline
  29. 30. 3. CASE-STUDY: ‘DE KAT’ (1973) 3.2 Ecological aspects of ‘De Kat’ ‘ De Kat’ and the Flemish ecological movement: - biological gardening - transportation issue and air pollution - symbolic/expressive modes of action - individual responsability and structural solutions
  30. 31. Vincent Dalkin (outer left) in his laboratory
  31. 32. 3. CASE-STUDY: ‘DE KAT’ (1973) 3.2 Ecological aspects of ‘De Kat’ ‘ De Kat’ and the Flemish ecological movement: - biological gardening - transportation issue and air pollution - symbolic/expressive modes of action - individual responsability and structural solutions - importance of environmental education
  32. 33. The environmentalist garden gnome Clovis, voiced by Bruno
  33. 34. De Kat ’s environmental youth club
  34. 35. 4. CONCLUSIONS Rural idyll in ‘De Kat’ <ul><li>Flemish countryside as a green, healthy environment </li></ul><ul><li>and pastoral retreat for urbanites </li></ul><ul><li>Primarily a critique on the overconsumption of rural </li></ul><ul><li>amenities </li></ul>Fictionalized snapshot of the multi-purpose countryside and the environmental movement - absence of agriculture  industry, tourism, housing - embedded within a global ecological message
  35. 36. 4. CONCLUSIONS Historical use of images and rural history? <ul><li>exaggerated depiction of the rural idyll </li></ul><ul><li>nevertheless clearly not an attempt at commodification when considered within the narrative </li></ul>We should not assume that viewers are the ‘cultural dupes’ of a hegemonic rural idyll: the imagery in ‘De Kat’ is merely a hyperreal idealization to underline the ecological message

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