Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I want those shoes betch!

Creeber describes the growth in popularity of 'Webisodes', an online form of serialised drama that was made easier to view due to the development of flash technology used by 'Youtube'. He contrasts this phenomenon with the increasing cinematic aspects of big budget Television shows. Creeber argues that the intimacy of earlier Television drama is dissipated in slick, digitally manipulated images of new shows such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS 2000). Shows like The Sopranos (HBO 1999-2007)have a cinematic visual style due to increased funding from subscriptions. Creeber proposes that the webisode's raw images from webcams and close-up confessional style presentation by actors is appealing to audiences who may be tired of visual spectacle and crave intimacy.

Liam Kyle Sullivan started creating videos for Youtube in 2006 and has had quite a few of his videos become viral (millions of views in a short amount of time). He created a character named Kelly and his audience followed the videos featuring her. This led to Sullivan playing Kelly in an off Broadway play as well as touring the U.S.A in a comedy show. The crossover from the internet into live performance is one that ties into the audience's craving for intimacy with the star of these comedic webisode's, Kelly. Liam's website has a variety of content and enables viewers to connect with his shows across a range of social media, thereby encouraging fan interaction with the narratives. He also continues to upload his amateur videos regularly, ensuring audience loyalty.

Creeber, Glen, It's not TV, it's online drama: The return of the intimate screen. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 2011, 14: 591. DOI: 10.1177/1367877911402589


Monday, October 14, 2013

David Halperin the Queen is not dead. - Divine / John Waters

David Halperin noticed his students were bored/dissatisfied with gay male literature. They were more excited by the edginess of queering straight culture, specifically female centred movies/TV shows. They were drawing cartoons identifying themselves with the female characters. Gays have identified with women in Hollywood and music for a long time. Halperin suspects that there needs to be a study done on this and I agree. He proposes that queering is a way of identifying with a global sense of gayness, thereby avoiding stigma and shame put on the individual person. Its an expression of gay desire that is free to go deeper into fantasy.

The expression of queer culture in the appropriation of famous female stars was firstly mined from 20th century Hollywood film. Divine channels Elizabeth Taylor in this clip from Female Trouble. There are references to the 1966 film "Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf?

David Halperin proposes that gay culture is disappearing due to gentrification, changes in law and the rise of the internet. Gentrification of inner city enclaves that were once thriving gay communities has occurred throughout the 1980's onwards. People used to have to physically go out to meet others. The internet is now a popular way to connect socially. Gay bars and newspapers are declining in numbers. The social app Grindr is widely used by gay men to hook up. The public sphere for homosexuals has changed. Now there are more gay people living in small towns that are isolated except for the internet.

The goals of gay rights have changed to gay marriage, military service and religion. These are all elements of  heteronormativity. While they are about human rights, they are also about assimilation.  Queer culture is disappearing under a blanket of heteronormativity. Halperin argues that gay men have queered heterosexual culture as a way of making their own unique space. Diversity is valuable. Reality is bland if its all heteronormative.

     Halperin, David M., How To Be Gay, Harvard University Press, 2012.

Cara Delevingne: Come and Find Me/ Fantasy, play and desire in advertising.

Why didn’t we have the revolution that Karl Marx predicted? Because Marx didn’t predict the effects technological advances have had on society. Modern medicine means we have had unprecedented population growth. Modern communications means businesses can be run globally. Mass media and advertising have had huge effects on societies consumption patterns.
Rachel Bowlby (1993) examines the psychology behind the process of consumption. She looks at sales and marketing manuals from the 1890s and the development of advertising psychology and the development of Freudian psychology in the 20th century. She compares Freud’s approach to psychology as being similar to the gain and loss scenario of ‘making up’ a term used in sales manuals from the 1920s onwards.
Bowlby describes the four basic stages of a sale as
1. Attraction
2. Interest
3. Desire
4. Sale (Action)
She describes the point at which a customer decides to buy a product as “The point at which both control over actions and mental conflict – a tension between ideas – are eliminated. “ Bowlby states that this moment is similar to the moment of recognition that occurs during analysis because it involves intuition and is a turning point.
Bowlby argues that the psychological practices of consumption make it a sophisticated process and therefore not something to be devalued or not considered. How much psychological influence have television shows and commercials had on human beings consumption habits? What kind of a play/drama are you performing every time you enter a store? Is your decision to purchase experienced as a magical moment?

Bowlby, Rachel, (1993) Make up your mind: scenes from the psychology of shopping and selling, In, Shopping with Freud (pp.94-119). Routledge. ISBN 0-415060079

Alexander McQueen : Taste and consumption

When discussing the phenomenon of consumption, Jean Baudrillard (1998) argues that popularization of a need or product can only occur after it has been first formed at an elite level of society. It then flows down to the lower and middle classes in their unending quest for improvement of status. Baudrillard refers to this pattern as a structured social field. It is a law that governs the introduction of new distinctive commodities and needs.

This theory may not always be true. Alexander Mc Queen who is from a working class background was a fashion designer, artist and showman. His innovation with design was unique. It was only after he gained popularity with the public that Givenchy employed him. This example shows how new ideas can form and grow in approval from any level of society.

McQueen's Autumn/Winter 2007 show was inspired by Elizabeth Howe, an ancestor of his who was murdered in the Salem witch trials of 1692. His shows were like performance art, his clothes were an alchemy of imagination, skill and passion.

Baudrillard, Jean (1998), The social logic of consumption. In, The consumer society: myths and structures (pp.49-68). SAGE. ISBN 0-761956921.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The value of video

In her essay 'Indigenous media: faustian contract or global village?' Faye Ginsburg discusses the use of video as cultural mediation by Indigenous people in Australia and Canada. Ethnographic filmmaking is a practice associated with Anthropology. Some filmmakers began addressing questions of ethics and agency in the 1950s and 60s. Indigenous people in Australia and the U.S. Began making their own film and media in the 1970s. The popularity of VCR's and the launch of communication satellites in the 1980s brought Western mainstream media into remote Indigenous settlements in Central Australia and Alaska. These communities used the technology to insert some of their own cultural content into the programming. (Ginsburg 1991)

Small community media groups (Warlpiri) and larger organizations (CAAMA, Imparja) began programming Australian Indigenous content in the 1980s. Works being produced were addressing historical injustices, dreaming stories, dances, music, food hunting techniques and biographies of elders. The vision and audience is local and the culture includes contemporary life. Ginsbergh (1991 105) proposes that in this way culture is preserved and also evolving at the same time.

“They [Australian indigenous produced films] are not based on some retrieval of an idealized past, but create and assert a position for the present that attempts to accommodate the inconsistencies and contradictions of contemporary life. For Aboriginal Australians , these encompass the powerful relationships to land, myth and ritual, the fragmented history of contact with Europeans and continued threats to language, health, culture, and social life, and positive efforts in the present to deal with problems stemming from these assaults.”

Francis Jupurrula Kelly is one of the key founders of Warlpiri media and he is still producing work there today. This clip shows him directing actors for a documentary co-produced by PAW media and Rebel films. He speaks two languages on set and has his own vision of how the story will be recreated. The resulting work 'Coniston' is very powerful because many people got to tell their story of the 1928 massacre for the first time. A historical crime is told from an Australian indigenous perspective. This is part of the process of identity construction through culture.

Co-writer/director Francis Kelly interviews one of the descendants of the survivors of the Coniston massacre. Ginsburg, F. (1991). "Indigenous media: faustian contract or global village?" Cultural Anthropology 6(1), 92-112.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pussy Riot and the politics of fear.

Elizabeth Groeneveld (2009) argues that the feminist magazine BUST takes a neo liberal approach to feminism in a 2006 article titled "Be a feminist or just dress like one." Six important feminists served as the inspiration for a fashion spread that, although playfully ironic, clearly stripped the historical and political meaning of these figures. Groeneveld proposes that this is an example of a neo liberal approach to feminism- Lifestyle feminism. Women can choose what aspects of feminism they want to adopt and which ideas they'd like to discard. While this falls under the movement of 'third wave feminism' it is ultimately ineffective because it doesn't encourage women to examine the role of social institutions and larger organisations in regards to inequality.
"While lifestyle feminism arguably provides a version of feminism that is friendly and accessible, it does not offer an analysis of collective injustice and cannot serve as a basis for activism beyond individual acts of consumption." (Groeneveld 2009)
I read a letter from Nadezhda Tolokonnikova printed in 'The Guardian' newspaper today and I was deeply moved by her courage and conviction. She was arrested in February 2012 with members of the feminist group "Pussy Riot'for performing a song with Lyrics asking the Virgin Mary to get rid of Putin. Her group claims they are sick of the patriarchal rule in Russia making life hard for women. They ask for true democracy and better opportunities for women. I hope that Pussy Riot eventually achieve these aims. There is still a need for feminist actions that challenge institutions and demand change. These aren't always comfortable questions but they must be encouraged. These women are true heroes,standing up to injustice and oppression. http://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/sep/23/pussy-riot-hunger-strike-nadezhda-tolokonnikova ‘Be a feminist or just dress like one’: BUST, fashion and feminism as lifestyle. Elizabeth Groeneveld, Journal of Gender Studies Vol. 18, No. 2, June 2009, 179–190

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Pastiche of moments.

Vincent Van Gogh, A pair of shoes, 1886. "I will briefly suggest, in this first interpretative option, that the willed and violent transformation of a drab peasant object world into the most glorious materialization of pure colour in oil paint is to be seen as a Utopian gesture: as an act of compensation which ends up producing a whole new Utopian realm of the senses, or at least of that supreme sense—sight, the visual, the eye—which it now reconstitutes for us as a semi-autonomous space in its own right—part of some new division of labour in the body of capital, some new fragmentation of the emergent sensorium which replicates the specializations and divisions of capitalist life at the same time that it seeks in precisely such fragmentation a desperate Utopian compensation for them." (Jameson, p.58)
Andy Warhol, diamond Dust Shoes, 1980. Here, on the contrary, it is as though the external and coloured surface of things—debased and contaminated in advance by their assimilation to glossy advertising images—has been stripped away to reveal the deathly black-and-white substratum of the photographic negative which subtends them. Although this kind of death of the world of appearance becomes thematized in certain of Warhol’s pieces—most notably, the traffic accidents or the electric chair series—this is not, I think, a matter of content any longer but of some more fundamental mutation both in the object world itself—now become a set of texts or simulacra—and in the disposition of the subject. (Jameson,p.64)
The waning of affect, however, might also have been characterized, in the narrower context of literary criticism, as the waning of the great high-modernist thematics of time and temporality, the elegiac mysyeries of duree and of memory (something to be understood fully as a category of literary criticism associated as much with high modernism as with the works themselves). We have often been told, however, that we now inhabit the synchronic rather than the diachronic, and I think it is at least empirically arguable that our daily life, our psychic experience, our cultural languages, are today dominated by categories of space rather than by categories of time, as in the preceding period of high modernism proper. (Jameson, p.64) Jameson,Frederick, Postmodernism, or The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, Duke University Press Books, 1990.