Task

L'AppelDuVide

L’appel Du Vide

 

Call of the Void

 

Inspired by the French saying l’appel du vide, this images reflects the void in aura of material we as the audience receive today, through outlets such as the screen. Like the voice which says ‘what if’ when standing on top of a cliff, some individuals confront this lack of authenticity and originality; rejecting the ideal passive stance and fighting against the boredom of consumerism. As the image depicts, the screen is a void and the void is empty, reflecting only itself as a material object. There is no aura here.

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Group One – Review

In May 1968 there was a student-led revolution, which began initially when university students felt sexually oppressed not being able to share dorm rooms. The revolution itself was not expected, France was in an economic boom and rebuilding itself steadily after WWII. The movement had a political purpose initially; the students and workers of the left bank standing against the conservative right bank, however this gave way to a wider ideology which has been sustained.

May 1968 has been described as the first ‘post modern’ revolution, because it was fuelled by creativity, the population were rebelling against the boredom of being passive citizens. Situationist Guy Debord explained this ideology as ‘The Society of the Spectacle’, where consumerism and capitalism requires docile acceptance. The arts had a big role in the 1968 revolution; the group of artists named the situationists supported the cause of the students and the two produced collective works of art based on the slogans of the revolutions. The inclusion of the arts widened the parameters and reach of the revolution; the boundaries of the arts are not the same as that of politics. There was a notion of accessibility in this revolution, which encouraged other groups of people to be involved; at its climax, university students, the situationists and workers from everyday jobs, were fighting for change.

The 1968 revolution didn’t appear to achieve anything in the short term, it did provoke a response to explain the failure, developing new ways of thinking about society and how its structures are maintained and reinforced, creating a lasting legacy. Philosophers like Louis Althusser developed Marx’s work to move away from a model of economic determinism, to develop a more complex model where ideology shapes society by controlling what people think and limiting their ability to question pre-existing structures. Other philosophers, sociologists, psychologists, such as Jacques Lacan and Michel Foucalt, were also prompted by May 68 to develop arguments to provide a rationale for the failure of the movement to change society and new ways of thinking about how society functions at many different levels. This liberation was also seen in the cinema, with the development of the French New Wave. This technique that has been picked up by Hollywood and widely used in the film making industry was born out of the riots of May 1968. These films idealized the freedom and liberty that they were fighting for. They expressed a Marxist view of politics but decadence in cinema; they put their voices out there in its plainest form.

 

 

 

Buying Up Love

Continuing on from the first lecture, where we established that Paris is widely regarded as a romantic city, the city of love; in this session the concept of love itself was the focus. In the 12th Century in France, a musical group called the Troubadours travelled from court to court, playing music about the nature of marriage which was heavily based on class. Love existed and was defined in 12th Century France as adultery, the singers sung about the exciting, secret love that inspired affairs. It was this interpretation of love through language that allowed us to create an understanding of it, ‘love’ didn’t exist until the Troubadours actually created the definition.

We got into our project groups and were asked two questions:

  1. What is our understanding of love?
  2. How does this change with influence from culture, institutions, social relationships

Our group response was as follows…

Love:

  • commitment
  • exclusive
  • priority
  • romantic/platonic different types of love
  • stable relationship
  • sacrifice
  • compromising/tolerance
  • responsibility
  • deep meaningful connection
  • obsessive
  • shared interests

Influence:

  • In Nigeria, before it was about marriage then love grows, but now it’s more about love first
  • Where economic power lies between the sexes, that has influence on what the status on marriage and love is
  • In history in England there were arranged marriages in classes
  • In religion, the Christian church structures love to be eternal and secured by marriage, making the vows to each other
  • As equality grows between men and women in a society, women have a greater choice to choose when to get married, or whether they want to at all

 

Everyone has different understanding of love, and it is really important to appreciate that love is full of complexity. Two things to avoid are the idea that love is universal, that everyone will fall in love find ‘the one’, which they will continue to love with the same intensity forever. Similar to this it is important not to go the other way and maintain that love is an evil notion, simply created by capitalists for their own game. Something like love which doesn’t have a concrete definition, or a physical manifestation we can all understand in the same way, there needs to be a variance and an acceptance that people’s definitions and interpretations will be different.

Eva Illouz is a female theorist interested in the way society and capitalism creates the context for you to ‘feel’.  Her book Consuming the Romantic Utopia is available online in the Coventry library, it was highly recommended so I will definitely be reading it to find out more about this concept. Illouz states that capitalism hasn’t destroyed love, it has exacerbated it; created more ways for us to feel and interpret/understand those feeling. In addition to capitalism, Illouz also believes that consumerism doesn’t get rid of those original emotions. In Britain, the leisure class were those originally targeted by capitalism and consumerism related to the concept of love. The railways, the printing press and the telephone were utilised as sources of promoting love through romantic trips away, romantic novels and the encouragement to develop a relationship with people over the phone. It is these structures of feelings which is how institutions create the ‘feelings of the age’, in contemporary society there a number of structures which influence the way we ‘feel’. Contemporary structures we identified as a group in a discussion were family, social media, class, race, nation, and commercial influences such as TV, film and music videos.

To understand how these structures are created and maintained we were introduced to two concepts that are intertwined and interdependent.

  1. The romanticisation of commodities
  2. The commodification of romance

These together create and develop the intensification of emotion.

 

Romanticisation of commodities refers to the romanticisation of items, for example these two chewing gum adverts, which imply that this product is the key to finding romance.

 

There are so many objects that have romantic associations to them such as hearts, flowers, chocolates and even the colour red. This concept is something that companies have held on to and utilised as a selling method, which in turn encourages the continuation and development of these associations. Celebrity culture has many associations with romance, as we can relate to these people and even feel like we know them because of the huge media following which details their lives. Cities have romantic notions assigned to it, this is largely because this city is a massive place of consumption. The final step of this process of romanticising objects is naturalisation; although we are assigning a romantic value to an inanimate object, the notion has become accepted in society as the norm. Love and consumption become inseparable now, we also love our objects, as is demonstrated in digital culture.

 

The very experience of love has changed now, intimate relationships have become public with PDA’s (Public Displays of Affection) becoming widely encouraged as a normal element of a loving relationship. We are also not supposed to just love other people and objects, we are also supposed to love our work, with acronyms like DWYL (Do What You Love) dictating and encouraging this concept. Within this idea there have been attempts to quantify this love and enthusiasm for the job, a ‘smile for the camera’ system created by Omron was established in a Japanese station, where employee’s smiles were scanned and their happiness evaluated and quantified.

 

TASK

In project groups, choose a film, an object and a city, discuss the romanticisation of the commodity and the commodification of romance in relation to each one. Then make a vlog (video blog) which covers your analysis of each element and post a link of the published video by Monday evening.

CCM Induction Week – Interview with a professional

To start the week of induction the group were split into groups and tasked to interview a different person in our group, either someone who is a professional in their field or about a professional experience they have had.

I interviewed Mary about the professional work she has completed in China: being a producer of documentaries and reality TV programmes. To be a professional in this field the basic skill of management is really important, however you also have to follow the trends of the industry and not be afraid to create something that is challenging and different. These skills are essential in becoming a professional producer, to enable you to manage the creation of programmes that both appeal to the audience and represent a new form of programme.