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.

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