Week 1 – 26/1/21 – Postmodern Media – the tricky questions

And we’re back…….

Task 1: (Monday) Should have completed and submitted ‘What makes a media text postmodern?‘ essay to classroom for feedback – submission by Monday 25th January – 1 hour.

Task 2:  (Tuesday) Listen to Screen Castify on the trickier questions – see above – 15 minutes.

Task 3: (Tues/Weds/Thursday) Complete essay plan for a trickier question – this will be in classroom on a google presentation with your name on it –  submission by end of Thursday 28th January – 1 – 2 hours.

Task 4:  (Friday) Redraft your Postmodern essay that will hopefully have been returned to you – 1 hour.

Task 5:  (Start of next week) Listen to the screencastify when your teacher will present the best essay plans. A great resource for nearer the exam and the mock (whenever they will be) – 30 mins.


We will be revisiting TV drama next week with the aim of you completing an essay by the end of the week.

Good luck and be in touch by email if you need any help.

Mrs C and Mr G

 

 

Nosedive (Brooker 2017) – Text 2

This episode is on Netflix.  Watch it with the notes to hand.

This episode of Black Mirror, called Nosedive, really spotlights the world that we live in: the simulacra, the hypereality and the consumer culture that surrounds us.

It is made in a postmodern fashion, using intertextuality, parody, pastiche and focuses on a world of hyperreality, simulacra, consumer culture and hegemony. 

Jameson and Baudrillard would applaud the fact that it is poking an accusing finger at POMO times but they would also lament the fact that it uses so many POMO devices to get the message across (then again why wouldn’t it?). 

Lyotard meanwhile, would be sad that society is going this way with no enough people questioning or challenging the grand narratives but he would applaud Brooker for bringing the issue to light.

Remember to analyse the text, not just for examples of POMO media according to Jameson, Baudrillard and Lyotard but in relation to the over arching ideas of: postmodern media alters the relationship between text and audience; it plays with time and space and also challenges the conventions of representation.

Listen to the above analysis of the episode and watch it in class with your teacher.

Here is an interesting review on it.

And another one.


Analysis in table form of Nosedive – ALL THE NOTES, QUOTES YOU WILL NEED TO USE NOSEDIVE AS ONE OF YOUR MAIN TEXTS IN THE EXAM

Extra ideas about Nosedive in table form.

CLASSROOM HAS LOTS OF RESOURCES AS WELL – PRETTY ONES!

Chained to the Rythmn – Text 1

 

Postmodernity and the Katy Perry Video

Newstatesman article with examples and ties in with Nosedive!

Student analysis on Chained….

POSTMODERN MUSIC VIDEO ESSAY Katy Perry- Chained To The Rhythm is an example of a postmodern music video, it was released February 10th 2017 and was featured on her new album ‘Witness’. The video was produced by Max Martin and Ali Payami and was directed by Mathew Cullen. Music videos can be postmodern through a number of factors which may be featured in the music video, these include irony, intertextuality, pastiche, parody and fragmentation.

There are a number of artists in the industry today who portray postmodernity throughout their videos however Katy Perry’s video to her new song stood out the most and gave me a number of postmodern factors to talk about. Firstly, postmodernism is a way of thinking about culture, philosophy, art and other meanings. However, in relation to media postmodern media rejects the idea that any media product or text is of any greater value than another and that the distinction between media and reality has collapsed and we now live in a ‘reality’ defined by images and representation. In relation to my case study, the video features intertextuality and is mainly reference the political issues currently taking place is the US.

The first scene in the music video is people walking into a theme park called ‘Oblivia’, seeing as the video is highly political it is believed ‘oblivia’ is meant to mean ‘oblivious’ and is suggesting that people are unaware of the political problems current. Another scene which stood out was a sign stating ‘The Great American Dream Drop’ which clearly has reference to the American Dream and suggests that society today has made it harder for people to achieve the Great American Dream whereas before people were able to work hard and in return receive this big dream everyone wished for. One scene also has intertextual reference to the Disney film Sleeping Beauty where the female character cuts her finger on a sharp object in this case a rose thorn, this scene is portraying a message to the audience that although something may look good it will always have a negative side effect. The next two scenes have a very obvious reference to political issues and President Trump. There is a scene featured in the video of characters being thrown over a wall into another area we do not see, to me this clearly has reference to Trumps promise policy of building a wall between two countries and may be the singers way of mocking his promise. Another scene sees a sign stating ‘bombs away’ with bombs flying all in frame of the camera, this highlights the threats beings thrown between the US and Korea and suggests the singer is trying to get these issue across to her audience to spark debates and see if any solutions can be found to resolve the problem.

To conclude, postmodern music videos like this one are good to cause debates and get opinions across to an audience although some may be seen as controversial however it allows an audience to think about issues they may not realise are a problem which could spark a positive or negative reaction.

Music Videos – More ideas about Intertextuality/self reflexivity/parody/pastiche

Music Videos are often examples of postmodern media, not only because their place as a recognised art form has come about in the postmodern era but mainly because they evidence a range of ideas about what makes a text postmodern.

Intertextuality

  • Pastiche – use of a previous text as the basis for the whole music video – in the style of
  • Parody – making fun of a previous text
  • Homage and Quotation – sampling
  • Weaponised intertextuality – those deliberate Easter Eggs – we will look more closely at Ariana Grande and This is America as a detailed texts later in the term.

Bricolage – a melange, mixture of styles – cartoons, animations, dance, drama, acting, documentary, other footage.

Self-referential – this is a music video (think of Katy Perry winking at the end of xxx) – let’s draw attention to its own construction.

They manipulate time and space – flashbacks, incomplete narratives usually present and they often challenge the grand narratives (more on this later) – there is not always a happy ending, a dominant male, success after working hard for a living.

Play with the relationship between audience and text – breaking the 4th wall and there is often a presumption they are culturally competent, deliberately playing with their expectations.

Play with the distinction between reality and representation – the artist is often an actor in the narrative?

They blur the lines between high art and what is considered low art.

Examples:

See how many intertextual references you can see in this Taylor Swift video. You do have to be a bit of a Taylor Swift fan, as it refers to all her previous videos, songs – cultural competence the order of the day.

The 1975 are a really interesting band. The approach their music with a wry sense of intellectual cyncism and often end up evidencing postmodern trends in their work.  Here is Matty Healy talking us through his music videos.

Here is one example in full.

This music video is self-reflexive.  Draws attention to itself in a shameless way.  Pokes a finger up at celebrity culture – he ‘ribs’ himself about his celebrity lifestyle.  Read this Article for more background.

And this is what happened at the Brits in 2017. Not strictly a music video but it evidences a self-referential nod towards the music industry.
This is a little old now but it shows a self-referentiality but it also points the finger at a wider postmodern scope i.e. the idea that people are lost in their hypereal worlds, unaware of their real lives and surroundings.  We will look more at this later.

Top 10 Music Videos inspired by Movies: they are all examples of how music videos pastiche, parody previous texts. Again, you have to be culturally competent to ‘get it’ but you could also argue it is singers being lazy and unimaginative – why not just copy someone else’s art?

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/all-movie-references-ariana-grandes-thank-u-next-video-1165490 – all the references in the video about movies and think of all the references to her various partners – all require cultural competence and a knowing nod towards all those intertextual references.

 

 

Music Videos – so postmodern

As a media art form, music videos are often conduits for various elements of postmodern culture. Sometimes they also, point a self-accusing finger at themselves for doing so and sometimes the videos and lyrics are about postmodern society too.

 

 

Andrew Goodwin, a renowned media theorist sums up the postmodernism of music videos:

  1.  Blurs high art and low art – it is media for everyone with no boundaries.
  2.  Abandons/challenges grand narratives – incomplete narratives, no sense of resolution, rejection of the overarching ideologies of society/history – love conquers all, men are the breadwinners, god is the answer etc.
  3. Intertextuality – borrows from other texts; deliberately, unknowingly, alludes to, knowing nod to – all of which fits with Jameson’s ideas on ‘nothing new, a flatness’ or as he puts it ‘blank parody’.
  4. Loss of Historical reality – pastiche and intertextuality blur history and chronology so that conventional notions of past, present and future  are lost in a melange of images, all of which appear to be contemporary.

 

We will be studying in depth some current music videos, one of which you should choose to focus on as your 2nd media text in your essay (the other one will be Nosedive, Black Mirror by Charlie Brooker).


Music Videos are often examples of postmodern media, not only because their place as a recognised art form has come about in the postmodern era but mainly because they evidence a range of ideas about what makes a text postmodern.

Intertextuality

  • Pastiche – use of a previous text as the basis for the whole music video – in the style of
  • Parody – making fun of a previous text
  • Homage and Quotation – sampling
  • Weaponised intertextuality – those deliberate Easter Eggs – we will look more closely at Ariana Grande and This is America as a detailed texts later in the term.

Bricolage

  •  a melange, mixture of styles – cartoons, animations, dance, drama, acting, documentary, other footage.

Self-referential

  • think of Katy Perry breaking the 4th wall at the end of Chained to the Rythmn – let’s draw attention to its own construction.

GENERAL SIGNIFICANCE relating to Music Videos and Postmodernism

  • They manipulate time and space – flashbacks, incomplete narratives usually present and they often challenge the grand narratives (more on this later) – there is not always a happy ending, a dominant male, success after working hard for a living.
  • Play with the relationship between audience and text – breaking the 4th wall and there is often a presumption they are culturally competent, deliberately playing with their expectations.
  • Play with the distinction between reality and representation.
  • They blur the lines between high art and what is considered low art.
  • This is a little old now but it shows a self-referentiality (this is a music video that we have constructed) but it also points the finger at a wider postmodern scope i.e. the idea that people are lost in their hypereal worlds, unaware of their real lives and surroundings.  We will look more at this later.

Scattergun examples

Remember, intertextuality is apparent in a wide range of media texts, not just music videos, adverts or music.

Here are some more examples that will help evidence, and illustrate texts that Jameson would critique as being flat and unoriginal.

Try and find your own examples from your own film and TV consumption. There are loads of examples out there and the more you can evidence your ideas in the exam and support your two main texts, the better.


Are we losing our sense of historical reality as a result of postmodern media? Does blur high art and low art.

TOWIE AS SHAKESPEARE


A recent mini series on BBC 3 highlights the absurdity of the Vloggers we are all so involved in on youtube. Using mockumentary (bricolage of documentary and parody) it highlights how the industry works.  Lots of self-reflexivity as it shows that it is making a documentary on Vloggers but also shows how highly self-reflexive Vloggers are (shows the sound boom, shows the camera, includes the outtakes and how they bend, play with representation through editing, post production and distort time and space etc).  It is subtle because you have to be in it, to get it i.e. culturally competent to get the nuance references and jokes.

A postmodern take on a postmodern phenomena! Great example of how postmodern media plays with time, space and the audience.

Have a look at it – it made me laugh, especially Episode on Health and Beauty.

Useful article on mockumentaries.


And another mockumentary currently on TV, really does run the risk of completely skewing our understanding of history. It parodies the documentary tropes but also parodies the intellectuals associated with dissecting history for the ‘sheeple’.


Self reflexive? Authentic? Presenting the pretence?  Some youtube vloggers reflecting on the self-reflexive nature of their presentations. Fake/Real/Authenticity – is that possible?


The Big Short – breaking the 4th wall, self-reflexive

Good scenes.


Weaponised intertextuality is now almost a well recognised convention of modern movies. Do you think this is a good move and how does it manipulate the relationship between text and audience?


A really interesting analysis of The Lego Movie and why it is a postmodern film.

The Lego Batman Movie 

Postmodern? or post-postmodern?

Reasons by The Lego Movie is a postmodern masterpiece

Try and find your own examples from your own film and TV consumption. There are loads of examples out there and the more you can evidence your ideas in the exam with up to date examples to illustrate your debate, the better your mark will be.


It seems hard to escape the postmodern ‘flatness’ that Jameson argues is prevalent in postmodern media texts of today.

Kingsman – postmodern or just cynical?

 

Deadpool – you either love it or you hate it!  (see what I have done in terms of a postmodern quotation?)

Deadpool – postmodern and loads of other ideas about postmodernism

 


It’s all connected – movie links across the genres


And finally, it’s nearly Easter so why not celebrate and see how many Easter Eggs you can see in these Pixar clips – this is now an interelated universe of ‘knowing nods’ to their brand.


Postmodernism Theory Recap

There is a lot of competing ideas and concepts in Postmodernism and we have bombarded you with many of them over the last week.

It is time to review those ideas and summarise the key concepts from our three theorists:

  1. Jameson
  2. Lyotard
  3. Baudrillard

You be writing you first essay soon with the title:

With examples describe what makes a media text postmodern.

You have been assigned a document in Classroom, which asks you to complete some sentence stems, which require you to describe the theories proposed by those three cultural theorists.

To help you recap your should review the following resources, from previous lessons:

Jameson – Handout

Lyotard – Handout

Baudrillard – Handout (39&40)

How TV lies to you.

Reality TV editing/How TV lies to you and TV News

Watch these Charlie Brooker critiques on TV. There may be some soundbites you can use in your writing. He has a fantastic turn of phrase and you can quote him too.


 

Watch any of the other ‘scripted reality’ TV shows – The Real Housewives series, Geordie Shore, The Only Way is Essex and you will see exactly the same elements that indicate they are part of this type of postmodern phenomena.

The other TV shows – so called ‘reality fly on the wall’ shows – that are less scripted i.e. KUWTK, Dance Moms, Teen Mom are still no less constructed.  See an extract below from an article that outlines how the new series of Teen Mom will now be produced without the 4th wall.

Are you happy this season breaks the fourth wall and shows production?

Maci: I love it. Before, such a huge part of our life was hidden and it was hard to be 100 percent real because we’re pretending we’re not on TV or that we don’t have a million followers on Twitter. Also, there are many situations in the past when we’re filming a scene and we’re aggravated and all of our anger is escalated because there are people in your house, audio, lights, cameras and then you have a kid running around who can’t get up because [production] doesn’t want to mess up the scene, so on top of the aggravation from what’s really going on, you have all this other sh–. It’ll really show how overwhelming being on a TV show is.

This is evidence that the TV show was completely constructed – think about it – the baby is crying but the camera crew is not ready so you can’t pick up the baby to comfort it.  How ‘managed’ ‘unreal’ the footage must have been.


Consider the ways in which even the news media can be described as an example of hyper-reality and blurring the boundaries between a media constructed reality and the real life..

Is it possible that we know far more about the media, celebrity news & popular culture than we did about significant events and people in the ‘real’ world.

It is important to consider news values and understand how some important pieces of news are pushed off the news agenda because they don’t fulfill the editorial agenda and so the news we do consume is highly selected. This selection is often about what will make a popular / entertaining story rather than reporting other bigger world events but ones that are more remote, ‘foreign’ and ones for which they don’t have pictures.

Finally, the news is packaged up into easily understandable narratives, indeed news items have narrative structure, ‘characters’ cast into simple types & roles and there is often highly emotive use of language and symbolic imagery in order to represent the events / people in a particular way.

Here is a really funny and insightful video from TV critic Charlie Brooker, who incidentally wrote one of our key texts Black Mirror. Here he is talking about the formulaic structure of a TV news item and how they are neatly packaged up for consumption.

This is a really up to date news story on how a recent BBC documentary has been uncovered to have constructed its narrative in a wholly unacceptable fashion to create a narrative that wasn’t exactly true.

 

 

 

Hypernormalisation – hegemony in action – spectacle, confusion, simulation in action.

HyperNormalisation wades through the culmination of forces that have driven this culture into mass uncertainty, confusion, spectacle and simulation. Where events keep happening that seem crazy, inexplicable and out of control—from Donald Trump to Brexit, to the War in Syria, mass immigration, extreme disparity in wealth, and increasing bomb attacks in the West—this film shows a basis to not only why these chaotic events are happening, but also why we, as well as those in power, may not understand them. We have retreated into a simplified, and often completely fake version of the world. And because it is reflected all around us, ubiquitous, we accept it as normal.
This epic narrative of how we got here spans over 40 years, with an extraordinary cast of characters—the Assad dynasty, Donald Trump, Henry Kissinger, Patti Smith, early performance artists in New York, President Putin, Japanese gangsters, suicide bombers, Colonel Gaddafi and the Internet. HyperNormalisation weaves these historical narratives back together to show how today’s fake and hollow world was created and is sustained.
This shows that a new kind of resistance must be imagined and actioned, as well as an unprecedented reawakening in a time where it matters like never before.