Thursday, 26 January 2012

Lecture 8 Jean Baudrillard and Postmodernism

Aim to examine and contextualise Jean Baudrillard's theory of hyperreality


1. To foreground Baudrillard's position by showing how it develops out of a Marxist critique of capitalism

2.  Examine how Baudrillard's analysis of advertising led him yo argue that consumer's engagements with commodities had begun function like a language

3.  To explore how Baudrillard extended this analsis into a fully blown theory of postmodernism.

How the crisis in Postmodern society was developed by an influx of social imagery, advertising and TV

Other theorists - New forms of social life

How Artists and designers deal with Social change in their work.

The system of objects 1968 - J Baudrillard
The mirror of production
Simulcra and Simulation 1981 - Mass media

Simulcra became a dominant form of .  Ideas explored in Blade Runner and The Matrix.

The Matrix is  a world of constructed images.  Simulcra are pure constructions.  PM consumer perception of the world is shaped by Simulcra.

Baudrillard - Early writings were grounded in Marxism.

Marx involvement with the world was shaped by 'labour',the everlasting nature imposed condition of this human experience. how we become removed from this condition,  Generate products which satisfy human needs.  The 'use' value as soon as different products arise they go from products to commodities which have 'exchange value'  So start weighing value of commodities up against each other.
Once we have money our contact with the physical world becomes 'indirect' as we have money to 'buy' wheat rather than having to harvest it.  So capitalism destroys the direct contact we have with the world as we now have to sell our selves to exchange for money. Making commodities disconnects from their use.

We constantly weigh up prices and commodities against each other.

How Capitalism transforms in the 20th century.
1911 Taylor time and motion work pattern studies make more efficient using assembly lines.  This approach was used by henry Ford in Michigan  a pre-curser to mass production. Several workers contribute to manufacturing a car on the production line.  Workers were given sufficient income and time to enjoy and consume the products of mass production.

Post war - Mass production boomed.  Production lines.  Car manufacturing in Detriot.
This rise in production needed to be met with a rise in demand.  A corresponding industry developed - publicity and advertising.  
This developed a patchwork of imagery everywhere.

John Berger Ways of seeing Chapter 7'Publicity is not merely an assembly of  

Publicity proposes that we transform our lives by buying something more.'

Judith Williamson - Develops how advertisement address consumer desires rather than how products are useful to us.

' use value' Advertisements translates the exchange value into human characteristics and values.  Dodge - No shrinking violet
Displaces the values of product onto ourselves. How we comprehend the world around us and how e might find fullfillment.

1968 Baudrillard examined the ramifications of advertising.  Advertising codes products in a way which differentiates them from other products.  Focus groups used to find out people's Emotional relationships with products.

EG Mad men - Focus groups. Two rooms an interview room relaxed and welcome, so they will be open.  An Observation room with one way glass - advertising creatives look at the consumers feelings.  
Earnst Victor - fundamental tasks of advertising is 

Convince consumers they are happy.

Advertising were matched to emotions and fears of consumers.  The usefulness of products is superseded by the advertisement preconditioned messages.

A codification of needs is necessary if mass production is to be sustained.  So people have to be convinced to buy the same products.

Advertising forces needs to cohere with products.

1970 - focusing on the shopping environment.  Store fronts and layouts.  Large dept stores are the primary landscape of affluence and abundance. The Brand name, the advertising the retail environment are consistent to make us desire the products.  

Chaussure - Linguistic signs are made up of two parts

Concept Signified & Sound -image signifier

Conventional relationship at play.  

How Baudrillard links this idea of semiotics to consumer society.
The system and language starts to create an interaction with products.  A system of signification which constructs consumer desire.

 70's/80's Develops a theory of Post modernism

Saturated by images.Shapes the way we interpret reality itself.

 In hyperreality images take on a life of their own or beacome new realities. Simulcra overshadows reality.

1955 steam train image resembles wild west - Wild West.  An environment which is shaped by our idea of the wild west not the reality.  Disney is a good example of Hyperreality.  Fantastical environent which distracts you from reality of your lives.  

New York - Simulcra colonise our environment - The Twin towers represents simulcra escaping contact of reality
The terrorist attack 2001 chose the twin towers deliberately.  Indications of social examples that are influenced by Simulcra.

Blair - Simulcra invade Politics.  Opinion polls inform policy and decisions. Politicians are aware of public and media which influences them instead of grounded political convictions.  

Postmodernism - An era in which processes come to a stand still. History has stopped which is without any meaning. Material progress has come to an end.  Societ is mearly reformlating representations of itself.

American Psycho - intro to Patrick Bateman Youtube

A disturbing mask - every aspect of his life is ra reflection of the products he uses.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Lecture 7 -Identity - James Beighton

To introduve historical conceptions oof identity
Foucalt 'discourse' methodology
Place and critique contemporary practice within these frameworks and to consider their validity
Consider 'Postmodern' theories of identity

Theories of identity
Modernity 1750 +
Essentialism suggests inner essence, biological make up which defines the person you are. stereotypical looks about 'good' and 'bad'
Post modernist disagree and become anti-essentialist

Theories not underpinned by practice
Physiognomy - 19th c white Europeon background- equate certain facial characteristics to intelligence.
Phrenology.  Nicha blond haited blue eyed beast - Nazi foundations.
Compartmentalises the brain into different areas - Self perfecting, Perceptives, aspiring, animal.  Different parts influence your behaviour and identity

Cesare Lombrosco (1835-1909) Founder of positive criminology - certain facial charactistics /criminal genes inherited

Physiognomy legitimising racism

Harpers Weekly 19th c suggesting  The Iberians believed to have been an African race - see slide

Hieronymous Bosch - Christ carrying the cross c1515 - roots of antisemitism inheretly evil displayed by grotesque imagery.

Chris Oflil Holy Virgin Mary 1996 - work resinates with his Black origins- British but with African roots.  Uses real elephant dung in his work.  1997 Sensation Exhibition YBAs Saatchi.  Show at Metropolitan Art New York caused uproar in US.

Douglas Kellner - Media Culture: Cultural Studies, Identity and Politics between Modern and the Postmodern 1992

Pre modern identity - Personal identity is stable - defined by longstanding roles.  Institutions determined identity. marriage 'ownership' of wife. The Curch, monarchy, governemt , work. Patriarchal society.
Eg Farm worker - the landed gentry
 The Soldier - The state
Factory work - Industrial capitalism
The housewife - patriarchy
The Gentleman - patriarchy
Modern identity- Industrial revolution Offer wider social roles.  Choose identity rather than born with it.  People worry about who they are.
Postmodern identity-  Fragmented self - Identity is constructed
19th and 20th centuries
Charles Baudelaire - The Painter of Modern Life 1863
Introduces the 'flaneur' (Gentleman stroller)
Thorstein Veblen - Theory of the leisure class 1899 - Clas who dont have to go to work.  Conspicuous consumption - Fashion can be visual indicator.
Conspicuous consumption of valuable goods is a means of reputability to the gentleman of lesire.
Georg Simmel - The Metroplis and Mental Life
Introduces Trickle down theory, Leisure class all need to do is look good and walk around Paris.  Aspired to and emulated.  Distinction.  The 'mask' of fashion - hide behind about what they are wearing.  Eg happens today Fashion catwalk appears on High Street.

Edvard Munch Eving on Karl Johan 1892
See slide with quote from Simmel

Simmel suggests that because of the speed and mutability of modernity individuals withdraw into themselves to find peace. - See slide for more

'Disourse analysis'
See quote
Ingranied in the public Psyche,

Possible discousrse


Otherness - Race/ethnicity and Gender and sexuality
Studies have been focussed on white European hetrosexual men so Ethnic backgrounds tends to be overlooked so introdues the notion of 'otherness'

Working Class
Worktown project 1937  Humphrey Spender trained as an Architect  /mass observation in Bolton by upper classes from London.  Loaded as Upper observing the lower.  Nortern people being observed by Southern people.  Flat caps, dogs.  Midsummer nights dream audience - five people at theatre. Uncultured.  Rabbit feet toys - Guise of doc photography but with a preconceived idea about what people are really like.
Awareness of all classes if you know which class you fit in and want to maintain its distinction.

Martin Parr New Brighton, Merseyside, from the Last Resort 1983-86 - Photographs

Claims to document the world as he sees it - accused of being condescending as viewing from a higher class.  He argues he just takes photos of what he sees.  Not glamorising this beach...

Ascot 2003

Bauman Identity 2004 quote
Idea of simulation - living roles that they dont relaly belong to
Sedlescombe from think of England 2002-2003
Think of gGermany - Cliches and stereotyical.

See Quote
Alexander Macqueen - Highland rape collection 1995-6- fake blood.  Stagger down catwalk.  Controvertial caused massive attention to his work.

Vivienne Westwood 1993-4 - Anglomania deals with what it means to be British yet used Tartan... provoking Scottish people

National Identity
Las Vegas sums up.  Photos Venice, Eygypr,Paris, All forced into one place. 67% of Americans dont have passports..

Quote Victor Papenek 1995 - early pioneers of sustanablity and environmental design.
Sums up notion of why see the real world, dumming down of society.

Chris Ofili portraits No woman no cry1998 (Year won the Turner prize)
Large scale paintings Refers to Stephen Lawrence - his face in the tears

Captain shit and the Legend of the Black Stars 1994 - suggestion of how black per hero is viewed by a white audience.
In terns of ethnicity and race, Gillian Wearing, a white woman, from Signs that say what you want them to say and not signs that say what someone else wants you to say 1992-3

Probably edited as quite entertaining.  We love the big willy.

Alexander Macqueen - accused of racism 1997-8 Naomi Campbell straightens her hairs.
Animal skin, horns critics a racist commentas Black links to fashion are cliches.

Emily Bates - Textile designer/artist  early 1990's inspied by Mary Magdelene. c 1532.  notion that she was evil/scarlet woman. Dress created using her own hair.  Issues with red hair. Installation piece.

See Quote E Wilson 1985 Adorned in Dreasm: Fashion and Modernity

Gender tends to be about women.  Fashion industry is the work of men not women.
1922-1925 Flapper  The female boy - notion of gener sterotyping

Androgyny 1920's styl from the Punch Magazine
Gillian Wearing

Masquerade and the mask of feminity - Cindy Sherman Untitled Film Stills. 1977-80
Scenarios that women get placed in.  The Gaze women dont play any role in a film. just objectified by men.

See Sam Taylor-Wood  Portrait1993
Sarah Lucas Au Naturel 1994 - Is it acceptable because a woman has portrayed it.
Tracey Emin - Everyone I have ever slept with 1963-95 as a female artist society read it as everyone I have had sex with so gets labelled as promiscuous.  Literally everyone incl gradparents, friends etc

Germain Greer has written about how women artists view women -why does she photograph herself?  Is it to avoid placinganother woman in this situation.

Wonderbra. Feminsist - peretuating myths or empowering to women?  Perpetuates the notions of beauty.
Gillian Wearing - Lynne - man becoming a woman.

The Postmodern condition

Liquid Modernity and liquid love

Identity is constructed through your social experience.

Erving Goffman suggest that contemporary life is like acts and theatre - can chose how to act and look.
Bauman - Liquid identity see quote.  can chose who you want to be.

Andy Hargreaves quote - everyone try to justify our existence.

Theodore Levitt The morality of advertising 1970 see quote.  We try to make ourselves better about our own lives by looking at how bad others are.  see quote and Gillian Wearing
Enlightment -  Descartes

Barbara Kruger updates Descartes O shop therefore I am 1987  Cynical defines by where we shop
Selfrides and Kruger mocking consumers?

Quote Darley 2000 -  Visual digital culture
Tom Hodgkinson - discussing what is happening when people stay in and go online instead going out.
Second life - 2009 virtual world. newspaper article.  made their virtual relationship.  got married without ever meeting.  Constructing identities.