01. g325 contemporary media issues intro to section b - what is postmodernism

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01. g325 contemporary media issues intro to section b - what is postmodernism

  1. 1. Contemporary Media Issues Postmodern Media Introduction to Section B of the Exam Part One
  2. 2. This part of the exam asks you to consider some difficult academic debates. You will need to: Engage with a range of theories about how people use media; Learn about audience practices and habits; And demonstrate a personal position on the issues.
  3. 3. Postmodern Media – Definition  Postmodern media 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 explain to terms with, and understand, this media-saturated society.
  4. 4. 1. 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 – a state of relativism. 2. The distinction between media and reality has collapsed, and we now live in a world defined by images and representations - a state of simulated or hyperreality. 3. 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 Statements…
  5. 5. The mass media 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?
  6. 6. 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 consumed by the mass media – we’ve gone postmodern…  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!  This is how postmodernism can suggest that we can no longer be sure of what is real.
  7. 7. How real is Reality TV? Consider the X Factor… To what extent is the X Factor actually ‘real’? http://www.youtube.com/user/TheXFactorUK
  8. 8. ‘The world we see is the world of the commodity…[the spectacle is] a social relationship between people that is mediated by images to compensate for the crumbling of directly experienced…productive activity’. Guy Debord ‘The Society of the Spectacle’ (1967) Quote 2 What we see in the media is a false representation [a spectacle] of reality… We’re being sold a fake, something worthless to fill our empty lives…
  9. 9. Big Brother 8 (2007) Chanelle Hayes Who is the ‘real’ Chanelle? How did Chanelle become a ‘commodity’?
  10. 10.  Imagine 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
  11. 11. Jordan (1996) Page Three Girl Katie Price (2004) I’m a Celebrity…contestant Katie Price (2005) Eurovision Song Contest Singer Katie Price (2008) Horse of the Year Show Rider Who is the ‘real’ Katie Price?
  12. 12. 2010 2005 2008
  13. 13. How ‘real’ is Reality TV?
  14. 14. Bill Guttentag Oscar winning documentary and feature film writer, producer & director Why are Reality TV shows so popular?
  15. 15. Made in Chelsea (2012) - Reality or Scripted Reality? http://www.youtube.com/show/madeinchelsea
  16. 16. Jade Goody (1981-2009) Star of Reality TV (& News)
  17. 17. Postmodern Media Ideas 1 – Reality?  How have BB housemates or X factor contestants or Made in Chelsea ‘actors’ or other stars become a commodity?  Debord called The spectacle ‘a social relationship between people that is mediated by images’.  How has the audiences relationship with Chanelle or Katie or Jade been mediated by images?  And if our relationships are mediated by images then what kind of reality are we living in?
  18. 18. 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 ‘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.
  19. 19. 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 Jean Baudrillard Quote 3 Reality has become hyperreality, truth has become simulation, we value things that are worthless…
  20. 20.  Homework - Key Theories… 1. Guy Debord’s theory of ‘the spectacle’ can be applied to the lack of reality in Reality TV. It suggest we live in a world that is light on meaning, on value, on truth. 2. This ties in with Jean Baudrillard’s theory of hyperreality. That we can no longer be sure if what we’re seeing is real or artificial the distinction between media and reality has collapsed, and we now live in a state of simulated reality. 3. Watch the films you’ve been given for homework and think about how you can apply Debord and Baudrillard’s theories. Applying Postmodern Media Theory
  21. 21. 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…
  22. 22. 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.
  23. 23.  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
  24. 24. The Matrix (1999) – ‘Welcome to the Real World’ (Part 1 – 20mins)
  25. 25.  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
  26. 26. 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 20th century when artists began to experiment with representations of reality. Here’s an example of a modernist text. An artist is experimenting with reality. But what is it?
  27. 27. Marcel Duchamp Nude Descending A Staircase (1912)
  28. 28. Applying Postmodern Media Theory  After modernism comes postmodernism;  Modernism is the artist playing around with representation.  Postmodernism is where the very idea of reality gets dismissed. Representation gets playful, gets 'remixed’ even more, ‘mashed up’ through pastiche, parody and intertextual references  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 'real'.  Some critics say that, if you think about it, postmodernism is just a new word to describe what has always gone on.
  29. 29. 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 of this might be The Day After Tomorrow (2004) as it recreates the 1970s disaster movie adding only CGI as a contemporary update.
  30. 30. Unknown Artist Superhero Descending A Staircase (2006) According to the last few slides and Jameson’s theories, why is this a Postmodernist text?
  31. 31. 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
  32. 32. 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?
  33. 33. 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?
  34. 34. Marcel Duchamp Nude Descending A Staircase (1912) Why is this a modernist text?
  35. 35. Mel Ramos, Nude Descending A Staircase (2006) Why is this a postmodernist text? Parody? Pastiche? Intertextual?
  36. 36. Eadweard Muybridge Nude Descending a Staircase (1886) Why is this a Modernist text? How does it change our reading of the 1912 Duchamp painting?
  37. 37. Applying Postmodern Media Theory  So which one’s most ‘real’?  The postmodernist 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 (postmodernism).
  38. 38. Applying Postmodern Media Theory  Let’s look at a recent film and try to apply some postmodern thinking… 1. We all know films aren’t ‘real’; 2. Even documentaries were first defined as ‘creative treatments of actuality’. 3. But to what extent is Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) a postmodernist text?
  39. 39. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) – Opening scenes
  40. 40. 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….
  41. 41. Review  What have we learnt? 1. Reality TV is an example of hyperreality and the the representation of ‘the spectacle’ - ‘a relationship between people that is mediated by images’. 2. Postmodernism suggests that we now live in a hyperreal world. 3. 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.
  42. 42.  Remember Point 1…  Here it is again: 1. 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
  43. 43. Applying Postmodern Media Theory  What have we learnt? 1. Use Reality TV and scripted reality shows to explain your understanding of Debord’s theory of ‘the spectacle’ - ‘a relationship between people that is mediated by images’. 2. Use ‘The Matrix’ to help explain your understanding of Baudrillard’s theory of simulation and hyperreality. 3. And use ‘KKBB’ to help explain Fredric Jameson’s ideas about representation 'remixed' through pastiche, parody and intertextual references’ and postmodernism at play.  You can, of course, use examples of your own as well.

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