The philosopher Plato wrote a famous work called ‘The Republic’.
He wrote The Republic as a series of conversations, which often featured Plato’s famous teacher Socrates. Here is the translated text of the ‘Allegory of the Cave’:
An allegory is a story in which characters and events stand for real life situations.
‘Socrates begins by asking Glaucon (Plato’s brother) to imagine a cave inhabited by prisoners who have been imprisoned since childhood. These prisoners have been imprisoned in such a way that their legs and necks are fixed, forcing them to gaze at a wall in front of them, unable to move their heads. Behind the prisoners is a fire, and between the fire and the prisoners is a raised walkway. Along this walkway is a low wall, behind which people walk carrying objects “…including figures of men and animals made of wood, stone and other materials.”. In this way, the walking people are compared to puppeteers and the low wall to the screen over which puppeteers display their puppets. Since these walking people are behind the wall on the walkway, their bodies do not cast shadows on the wall faced by the prisoners, but the objects they carry do. The prisoners cannot see any of this behind them, being only able to view the shadows cast upon the wall in front of them. There are also echoes off the shadowed wall of sounds the people walking on the road sometimes make, which the prisoners falsely believe are caused by the shadows.’
Socrates suggests that, for the prisoners, the shadows of artifacts would constitute reality. They would not realize that what they see are shadows of the artifacts, which are themselves inspired by real humans and animals outside of the cave.
Here is a video version of the allegory:
This allegory can be usefully applied to postmodern ideas about the media:
We are the prisoners
The media is the fire and the puppeteers who cast shadows
We think of the media as ‘reality’
We will be free if we can see beyond and behind the illusion.
Or as Russell Brand suggests: ‘Look for the light source itself, don’t follow the shadows on the wall.‘ – in other words, look beyond the images and try and find the truth, whatever that is.
Here is a music video which exemplifies many of these ideas:
Don’t be frightened about the term ‘postmodern’. If the context confuses you i.e. what went before that is not overly important. In fact why not just approach the topic as this is us looking at the media that surrounds us at the moment and we are looking at various criteria that can be used to analyse, critique and review it.
Postmodern is a term used to describe much of contemporary media that surrounds us today! SIMPLES – and is can be analysed, critiqued in reference to various ideas, theories, terms etc.
Here are the key ideas that encapsulate what postmodernism is all about:-
is a movement from the late 20th century
represents a departure from modernism
rejects the idea of status/ value
makes fun of existing texts – parody/satire
is a critique of what we assume to be real
copies ideas/styles from existing texts
suggests there is no absolute ‘truth’ – merely socially constructed truths
gives a skeptical interpretation
is a reinterpretation of classical ideas, forms and practices
questions our perception of art
distrusts dominant ideologies
plays with reality
challenges ‘fixed’ ideologies
challenges the rebellion of modernism
it is playful
blurs reality and representation
it looks to the past
is really hard to define
to name just a few things…
Some key terms that we will consider over the coming weeks – pastiche, parody, quotation, intertextuality, loss of historical reality, cultural competence, hyper reality, simulacra, consumer culture, hegemony, grand narratives.
You need at least 40 post it note on A2 paper so that you can really sort out how you are going to shoot your narrative. Think of all those skills you used at AS – match on action, shot reverse shot, framing, 180 degree rule, pull focus, DOF, framing, angles and distances to help tell your story.
Here is some background reading to help you understand the purpose of storyboards and how they are designed. How to Use a Story Board