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.

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.

 

 

 

The Allegory of the Cave – Plato

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 ‘sheeple’
  • 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.

Re-read the Rizzlekicks lyrics – any links to Plato’s cave?

BACK UP YOUR WORK…..REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT!

We have got a temporary solution in place to back up your work from the D Drive.

You need to put your whole project folder in a new folder in the D Drive called “Backupfolder”.

This will mean that the next time you start InDesign or Premiere Pro you may have some issues with links or missing media.

  • If in Premiere it will ask you for the link to a list of missing files. Once you have located one, Premiere will find the rest.
  • If in InDesign it says there are missing links, you can reconnect by clicking on the yellow triangle in the bottom right hand corner of the image and locating the file. InDesign should find all of them if you have used multiple images, if not, you will have to locate them individually.

Please do this asap to ensure that we have got a back up of all your coursework files and Adobe Projects.

Digipak Draft 1 and 2 and 3

Draft 1 needs to be assessed in relation to the assessment criteria in the powerpoint in the blog – you need to award yourself a grade once you have assessed it. You can simply cut and paste the analysis and then insert your own examples from your text.

Draft 2 needs to be up Monday or Tuesday so that your teacher can do a screen castify on it.

Draft 3 needs you to print it off and then put it in a case – take a photo – then do a quick survey amongst friends asking which of the 7 genres it represents. Present this research as evidence that your star image, metanarrative, branding works.

We move on to the Social Media page next week – SO LOTS TO DO.  Tuesday afternoon would be a good place to start?

WE MOVE CLASSROOMS IN 2 WEEKS SO ALL YOUR PRODUCTION WORK NEEDS TO BE COMPLETE BY THEN UNLESS YOU ARE PREPARED TO SPEND LUNCHTIMES, AFTER SCHOOL HERE….WHY NOT?

Make your video look SPESSHUL

The only way you will get a top grade video, is to play and experiment. Look around the effects section of the programme and try them out. Then look at youtube tutorials to help you out.  Your teachers, know the basics but ever year our students come up with more exciting, innovative and crazy effects. Just do it!