Reading ‘Postmodern Vitualities’ written by Mark Poster, I think he expected exactly what happening right now, because this article was written around 2000s, and he expected that virtual reality devices (which can be talk about smartphone these days) will be common in daily life. It was interesting about thinking of the social media/internet as the medium for few-to-many communications. When Poster was talking about few-to-many communications I was connecting the thoughts to what is happening in facebook/instagram/tweeter.. which people constantly post their thoughts or expression to the open crowd.
Dick Hebdige’s reading – I had a feeling because ‘postmodernism’ is hard to define to one clear concept, Hebdige was trying to analysis narrow down and clarify the idea of postmodernism by analyzing the given text of postmodernism(by Jean-Francois Lyotard, Derrida, Jameson…). And at the end Hedbige highlights the word ‘articulation’ as a key of postmodernism, which bridges the two different concept. (for instance, ‘structualist’ and ‘cultualist’) I am still trying to understand the whole concept of postmodernism, but I know for sure that postmodernism is some sort of mixture/blending of studies/theories from different field, so it is hard to understand with only one strict perspective.
I found the article Postmodern VIrtualities, by Mark Poser, to be an interesting read when relating it to what we talked about during the last class. It made me think about postmodernism in a different way. It seems accurate to link postmodernism to current technologies and to the internet in particular, mostly because in order to meet some of the characteristics attributed to postmodernism, such as intertextuality, it makes sense that some kind of technology would be involved and/or necessary. Now, with easier access to different kinds of content, it is more likely that artists will create something that references another piece, movie, work of art, etc. because they are more likely to have come into contact and have been exposed to a variety of ideas and images. It is also easier for them to be able to integrate these things into their work because so much of this content is so readily available. I find that this is an idea that I think will be helpful in my research because it reminds me that I need to keep these new technologies in mind.
I also really enjoyed the reading on Mexican cinema this week. Obviously, I’m familiar with most of what the author talks about, so it resonates with me, but while I have watched Mexican films before, it’s not something I have ever done with the intention of analyzing them. I thought it was really interesting how the author brought up issues of colonization, religion, identity, the native cultures of Mexico and the Mexican Revolution and how all these tie into this type of films and their portrayal of female stereotypes.
This week, I found Mark Poster’s article an interesting read, especially because what he says seems so prophetic. The connection between technology and identity that Poster talks about is so relevant these days and most of what he says is applicable to the way in which we run our lives through technology, particularly social media. I watched a film called “Her” recently and that film actually takes the connection between technology, identity and relationships to an extreme. It is about a man who falls in love with an operating system. Reading this article made me think about how Poster’s views at the time he was writing may have seemed bizarre to some people, just as the concept of the movie seems extraordinary now. However, just as most of what Poster has said in this piece is actually taking place now, there may come a day when we do have normative relationships with operating systems. That would be truly “postmodern”!
The other article I liked was Dick Hebdige’s Postmodernism and ‘The Other Side’. It really helped to clear out some of the questions I had about the concept of postmodernism. His ideas about intertextuality was what I enjoyed reading the most. I have always been interested in studying how films make intertextual references to other films and what this may mean within the film text. I don’t know if this is really significant, but I have noticed that in a lot of recent Hindi cinema that is not mainstream there are references made to popular Hindi films in one way or the other. It seems to me that this is done to establish difference and is not just incidental. Intertextuality is a concept that I do see myself coming back to for my research on Hindi cinema.
A general and wide-ranging term which is applied to literature, art, philosophy, architecture, fiction, and cultural and literary criticism. Postmodernism is largely a reaction to the assumed certainty of scientific, or objective, efforts to explain reality. Hebdige asserts, that certain kinds of postmodernist writing will be used to license a lot of “lazy thinking”. I agree and take the position that words do have a tendency to linger in the space of ambiguity. Everyday new words are introduced into the mainstream media for us to decipher, analyze, contextualize and ultimately define.
Terms and word combinations have taken on a culture of semantics that is becoming increasingly mysterious. Words like Selfie, Cultural jamming, ratchet, Yolo, or intersection feminism have become transported into academic discourses; so much so, that a person may find great difficulty ascertaining exactly what’s being discussed as the terms are being stretched beyond meaning, crossing semantic boundaries back and forward in our everyday existence. Confusing use, stifling communication, and leaving many of us lost in translation.
Dick Hebdige describes postmodernism as a “buzzword” in his article Postmodernism and the Other Side. Ironically, his sentence structure is long-winded, often using only one to three sentences in a paragraph. His break down of components of postmodernism provided me with more clarity on how postmodernism can take so many forms. It works against totalitarianism, redundant modes of production, and the ideal world. This makes more sense why Hollywood conventions are such an easy target for postmodernism. Under this understanding would blaxploitation be considered postmodern? I’m still a little confused.
In her article Tears and Desire: Women and Melodrama in the ‘Old’ Mexican Cinema, Ana M. Lopez first breaks down how the melodrama is considered the ‘woman’s film”. She then describes the relationship between melodramas and women in Mexican society. The Mexican melodrama is linked to religion, nationalism, and modernism. Lopez attaches the idea of sin in christianity to the convention of sinful passion and punishment with in the melodrama. She discusses the victim blaming of Malinche (the Chingada), and how her rape is seen as her own betrayal to her nation. On the reverse side of the Chingada there is the Virgin Gaudalupe. Lopez goes on to say the colonial heritage and the revolution play a roles in the construction of the Mexican melodrama. Mexican cinema reproduces images of the saintly mother figure. The opposite of the saintly mother is the felix, who Lopez describes as a vampiric antifamily woman. The felix is a victim to the male gaze. She focuses on the cabaretera films of the 1940s-1950s which punish the Malinche/prostitute character. I loved the historical exploration of Mexican culture and how it connects to conventions of the melodrama. Especially since I haven’t studied Mexican cinema. It was interesting to see how universal the virgin/whore divide of female representation is in cinema.
I forgot that I hadn’t posted a comment this week which is unfortunate because this week’s readings were some of my favorite. After reading the piece by Hebdige I ended up making a piece that was influenced by the piece. It was about my worries that my work is about nothing and has no valid content. The piece was an oversized diving helmet form constructed as a wire cage and heavily covered with thousands of mirrorized seed beads. It was meant as a shell or mask in which to hide my lack of content.
When I start to peel back the layers of why I want to make something I often find that the inner most core of “why” is just that I wanted to see how the object would look in the real world and that I wanted the pleasure of the process of making it. When I was younger I didn’t think that was a good enough answer but now I think maybe it is not helpful to look for some kind of deep meaningful core of answer. I think that maybe all the layers of “why” that I have been peeling back and throwing away are the important part.
I am realizing that the choices I made in the making of the object are an important part of why I made it. I could have made anything in the world but I made choices which resulted in a specific object. The reason for each small choice becomes important.
The whole thought process that I went through while making the piece really seemed to tie in with the readings this week.
I thoroughly enjoyed Hebdige’s thoughts on postmodernism, however misunderstood I may be. In my experience with it, postmodernism has been a buzzword and over used by those who purely enjoy irony. Frankly, postmodernism doesn’t say anything to me; reading Hebdige jaded me even more.
I really enjoyed Lopez’s piece on the melodrama as I find the genre of melodrama in general to be a beguiling thing. Peter Brooks description of it as being a ‘fictional system for making sense of experience as a semantic field of force that comes into being in a world where the traditional imperatives of truth and ethics have been violently thrown into question’ really sells the melodrama for me in a way that the films themselves haven’t. Lopez cites the Mexican revolution as being a linchpin in creating this world in which truth and ethics are thrown into question. That makes me believe that melodramas are intrinsically historically linked as the history surrounding the personal circumstances informs the drama of the situation, something I never really put together before now. I’m reminded of All that Heaven Allows, a movie I really hated, and how it uses domestic life to critique the patriarchal culture (not in Mexico of course) while still implying that the main character needs a hunky Rock by the end. Thinking in a post-modern context, I find that Far From Heaven fairs far better. Rather than made during the time it presents, it is filmed after which allows for a post-modern critique of the hypocritical visage that the fifties propagates. It also doesn’t cheapen the history either with Moore not ending up with her black love because of the social burden surrounding their blossoming relationship. Lopez piece makes me want to see more Almodovar and Haynes films as they seem to be the masters at this genre. Monsoon Wedding is another movie that comes to mind from a not-American perspective.
I loved Hebdige’s definition of postmodernism when he says it is modernity without the hopes and dreams which made modernity bearable. I’m reminded of Tomorrowland when Hebdige talks about this sort of anti-utopia thinking and how we as a society are attracted to skepticism and conspiracy. Hegel always seemed the like the most naive of philosophers to be probably because I live with a postmodern viewpoint.
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