Lecture Seven: Celebrity Culture

History of the celebrity, development of television, film and photography and the cultural significance of celebrity, why are they important? What does that status of the celebrity say about the culture and society

A celebrity photographer, an idea that has been around since the invention and inception of photography. Julia Margaret Cameron, creates celebrity portraits in the pictorialist tradition

Actress in the image, acting the part of the role and the image, these people were the celebrities of the time, writers, actors and artists.

Graham Clarke’s book notes the different ways in which Cameron photographs the male and the female figure, this is a treatment of the male sitters are photographed for what they are known for, not for what they look and appear like as women are photographed, pose is less staged and mythical, a portrait of the person rather than a staged a position like within photographs of women

Invention of moving images, Louis Aime Augustin Le Prince created the first moving images, in the form of images of carriages moving of the leeds bridge

The artist, 2011, a black and white silent movie, the story plays the rise and fall of the two main actors within the film, the film examines the inevitability of celebrities in and out of fame/fashion.

Josephine Baker, early celebrity of film, american of mixed heritage, became famous as an exotic dancer in France. The portrayal of the exotic was very popular at the time. She was an attractive women who made her money from her looks, but also worked for the resistance in the second world war, she used her position as a celebrity to spy for allies and gather information. She planned events so she could gather information and aids the resistance effort.

Beyonce wears an outfit that mimics the banana skirt worn by Josephine baker, Beyonce uses many references to Josephine Baker within her appearance and attire.

The Jazz Singer, is the first feature length film to include dialog, invisible editing which makes us forget about audio and image synchronization

The 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s actors become examples of how everyday people should act, behave and want to be like.

Clark Gable, known as the ‘king of hollywood’ he known as an on screen hero, but also an off screen, real hero - he fought in the army core.

Bette Davis, interesting approach to acting and role, known for her willingness to play unlikeable characters and roles, Davis seeks out roles of a less attractive, more evil character. Her attitude to fame - she married a man who had never heard of her. She started a canteen/restaurant where men who has served in he army could be waited in by celebrities. Celebrities volunteer to do this.

The opposite of Bette Davis is Marilyn Monroe, she is there to be enjoyed her physical presence and appearance. Interesting in that we have a sense of her private life coming through her life on film. Conspiracies about her death, these events freeze her in history because of the age she was when she died, Warhol refers to this in his pop art works of Monroe. Image of her face endlessly repeated, this is comment on how we can not conceive past the person being this is elevated status.

Warhol also gives Elvis Presley the same treatment, the role of Elvis as the cowboy, Warhol repeats this image, which suggests how we can not see past the role and the ideal of the celebrity. Hollywood churning out stars, and the factory of hollywood, and that it is all about money. Elvis the man of all trades, acting, singing etc.

Warhol also coins the phrase ’15 minutes of fame’ he created the factory, as a place for alternative expression, he encourages sub cultural characters to hang out, encourage the bohemian lifestyle, the irony of him calling it the factory, a comment on the creation of the star and how those of low society can be turned into celebrities, through film, being photographed and associating yourself with people, people on the edge of society being made into stars.

The Kennedy’s the original celebrity politician, good looking, beautiful wife, they also become the subject of Warhol’s works. Setting up of the drama of his destruction, he survives the Marilyn situation but ends up being shot in public, it was not filmed by camera crew it was filmed by public. The film of this is valued at $16 million.

Advent of television, Kennedy appears on television, he is broadcast on television this is how he become this popular character. Television then replaces the act of going to the cinema, takes it from the public domain into the private domain of the home.

Space for television to start to influence people’s everyday lives, the Jackson family, in 1976, they act as themselves, in scripted situations for comic values. Michael emerges a the key character.

Michael J. Symbolic of a society obsessed with looks and their value.

Madonna, celebrity and identity is played with by artists like Madonna, she changes her image for each tour and each album. Madonna recycles the looks and aesthetic of the 1940’s and 50’s of when it was important to advertise your wealth. By madonna doing this she makes herself into an icon.

She looks completely different from one essay to another, this is a post modern recycling of the past. Madonna as a post modern icon, Lady GaGa as a post post modern icon. Lady GaGa recycles her image every time she appears in public, this is an acceleration of change of image.

Mutability of image - Lady GaGa’s meat dress, a feminist statement? Celebrities as a piece of meat? Created for financial reasons. Is it a statement about meat? Our contemporary need for conveniently packaged food. Perhaps it has no meaning? There for shock value? Elevates GaGa’s appearance to the statement and level of art.

Barrack Obama, a pop president, young, good looking and musical, politicians want to reach out to the public by popular culture.

Ordinary people can use politics for there own self promotion, through mediums such as youtube.

Princess Diana, a celebrity status attached to royals, Charles and Diana as royals, figures of status for us to look towards in a nationalistic way. She is younger than him, she not in the social ranks, like Charles is, she represents an innocence, she is seen as a fitting match for him. The relationship deteriorates, she then reinvents herself, as a fashion icon and as a beauty. A slide towards her death, she continue in the position that she is in, leads to conspiracy about her death. Diana’s death create the start of this mass morning, this idea that the public own as this morning happens on mass scale. We the public want to share in this grief, the greater the status of the celebrity, the greater the scale of the morning.

David Beckham - contemporary everyman, crossing of the ordinary, the council estate boy into the a celebrity icon.

Beckham as a brand, an untouchable status.

Imitation of celebrity - Elvis impersonator, bands how imitate bands, tribute acts, a commercial value added to this. An industry involved around this market.

Alison Jackson’s book, Private. Celebrities in compromising positions, in private moments. Jackson is using the language of the paparazzi, a long lens has been used, a spied on moment. She has actually used lookalikes in her work, she provides us with voyeuristic moment, allows us to see beyond the mask.

ASOS, As seen on stars, you can wear the clothes that celebrities wear, you can become the celebrity, have a piece of them.

Twitter, since 2006, is the way we get in contact with celebrities, we learn about their home and private lives, we can subscribe to their inner most thoughts. A line can be crossed, using twitter to share private information. Twitter is a replacement for the magazine that publishes information on celebrity. Twitter is a direct connection between the public and the celebrity.

People sell artifacts of celebrity, going for lot’s of money such as Britney Spears chewing gum.

The more we look at images, the more we consume them, the less we do in our real lives, and activities and decision making. - Society of the spectacle. Society becoming more about looking rather than doing.

Study Task 3: The Panoptic Institution of Facebook

In Michel Foucault’s writing about Panopticism, he describes how ‘Jurists...dreamt of [a] state of plague. Underlying disciplinary projects the image of the plague stands for all forms of confusion and disorder. Rulers in the nineteenth century embraced idea of mass plague that could disease an entire population in order for them to justify the introduction of panoptic methods of control and discipline within society. Similarly in modern times, Facebook legitimizes it’s decentralised panoptic power by giving the means of surveillance that Facebook allows accessible to everyone, therefore, like an inmate in the Panopticon ‘he is seen, but he does not see’ , whereas the user’s of Facebook’s social network see but are also seen by other users creating a society of web based voyeurism. Contrastingly to the conception of the original Panopticon, Facebook to an extent operates a more democratizing and equalizing version of Panoptic ideas, in which users openly share their informations, publicly. Facebook also relies ‘on a system of permanent registration’ in that by using Facebook, the users are subscribing to both the distribution and surveillance of their personal information as well as the ability to view the profiles of other when and how often they chose to.
Members of the Facebook community can view friends profiles without their knowledge, depending on the privacy settings they have employed but potential anyone can have access to their information, making Facebook uniquely different to Bentham’s Panopticon in which the power is hold by authority figure whereas on Facebook the watchers are random people within the Facebook community. Furthermore confirming the principle that members of Facebook take on both the role of the prisoner and the guard. The users of Facebook self-regulate their information based on who they think is looking at the information however this is always ‘unverifiable’ leading users to behave as if they are being watched by other users and simultaneously users watch the profiles of other users, imposing the initial sense of being watched. Users divulge their personal information and make visible a construction of their identity on Facebook in luxury users are then returned with in the ability to browse the profiles of others. On Facebook ‘visibility is a trap’ everyone has become ‘individualized and [is] constantly visible’ as the sacrifice of the information they share.

Lecture Six: Critical Positions on Popular Culture

Theoretical discipline of cultural studies, the idea and notion of culture as a posed to popular culture, high vs. low, throw away culture or mass culture

Who decides what is important and what is not, how does this affect us, and the way we think and its social function

Culture is complex, Raymond Williams, complex works in the english language, hard to define culture, more definitions occur, a culture that people have or a rarified set of ideas, body of artistic works, process of intellectual production, in a society in a particular time

Marx, dialectical materialist method, firstly thinking about the base and the super structure, the base is the economic reality, tools and technology, forces, what are the societies labour relations, these make us the make up and reality of the society, everything else comes as a result of this base, laws, cultures, forms of consciousness, the way we think about the world, all as a result of the conditions of the base. All forms of culture, art, design are a direct reflex of the base

Social organization of society, this produces, law, religions, culture and politics in the form of superculture,

How capitalism produces capitalist culture, would be seen as determination

The dialectical method suggests culture suggests that the vase strengths supports and maintains the culture it has created, the superculture legitimizes the base conditions, Culture maintains capitalism

The base of pyramid, the workers, holding up the system and is also made up of the higher class society. This hold up the systems of law, religion, the state and politics, the army, but these maintain the system.

Culture is produced by the material reality of the world, if we have culture which is a product of the base, then what is popular culture? Popular culture, culture that s popular? But this is imprecise? Popular culture, people make value judgements, popular culture is inferior to base culture. Populism, culture that aims to be popular for commercialist ideas and goals. Popular culture can also been seen as culture made by culture made by the masses for the masses.

A street, organic culture that graffiti or hip hop, what happens when this gets stolen by culture? Is graffiti or is it art? Is culture or popular culture?

A class divide between culture and popular culture, that can be taken back to a specific moment in history, in the mid 19th century, ‘The Making of the english working class’ In this period, heavy industrialization, heavy industry, process of urbanization, the growth of the city, a hyper development of hyper capitalism. Very clear class divides started to emerge, mass factory work, clear who were the workers and the bosses. Clear who the rich and poor were, this was physically visible, working class areas, and high class areas, Physical divide. Before this there was a shared common culture, for all the country but in reality on the elite made this culture, the aristocracy made this because they didn't have to work, so in reality culture has always been produced by the rich, but this created an illusion that it was for all. Organically because of the forced separation of the class, due to the need for profit, culture was never made for profit, but now it begins to be created in the ideal of profit. High class still thought culture had nothing to do with money, but in working class culture political and class writing began to emerge, this made by people for people, with a political edge. Culture for masses by the masses.

Matthew Arnold ‘Culture and Anarchy’ a man from the ruling class, tired to define culture and what is great about culture, it is the most important thing in the world, the ultimate achievements of man kind, the perfection. Culture is disinterested, it is more important than the day to day running of the world, or anything to do with agenda is not culture. ‘Minister the diseased spirit of our times’ the world wouldn't be such a horrible place if everyone cared about the things the higher class cared about and not care about the mass popular culture that people were producing, this is like a disease as he refers to it.

Popular culture is a de-based form of real culture, a ghost in people’s judgements of popular culture even today.

Leavisism, with the growth of industrial capitalism, hollywood, all forms of popular culture, throughout the 20th century the world has been in a decline into the gutter, and away from the beautiful intellectual culture and society, as culture has become mass produced its become more insignificant and become a downwards spiral, return to a situation where ‘Culture has always been in a minority keeping’ this is because the elite has been challenged with collapse in there power.

Frankfurt School - critical theory, equally critical of popular culture but from an opposite position, engage with a study of popular culture, when they went to new york, they saw the high point of popular culture, radio city, hollywood, celebrities, new forms of popular culture. They argued that popular culture was not a threat to culture, it maintains social system that we live in and perpetuates and strengthens the system of capitalism, its a tool in which capitalism can employ to perpetuate itself.

Culture is now produced under anything that is as a result from the base and superculture. All these cultural forms turn out the same thing, with minor differences, every is pre scripted and pre digested. This is making profit for big businesses, people are sucked into a vacuum where something is newer and better, but it really all broadly the same. One song after another, people are feed a monotonous stream of rubbish, when people are feed this endless stream of the same thing, people get no options, its broadly the same this then reduces peoples ability to think and broaden there views, this then supports the system and make them into an affirmative society. Teaches prescribed attitudes and way of thinking about the world, creating incorrect and false view of the world, this makes people one-dimensional, we have limited view, more like zombies rather than being people that are multi fasciated. Culture acts as a flog and a blankets over real society, making it like the world is ok, but really it is not. Popular culture therefore serves to depoliticize us, it stops us rebelling.

Culture industry, mass culture that churns out mass commodities. The x factor as a product of the culture, that disguises the reality of the world and creates an affirmative culture.

Adorno on popular music

Design For Print: Collecting Images

Within my publication I have chosen to introduce each section within the booklets with a larger image that fills the double page spread, this image signifies the content that section will deal with, I have chosen to this as the images will act as a sort of introduction but will also allow me to include real world images of process such as printing methods in the publication without it taking up space within the spreads that have the information on, as I want to include diagrams and such like here. Using image site Flick I have gathered a selection of secondary images. I have chosen images that are close up, almost macro like shots of processes I think this simplicity that is present within the images as they focus on specific parts of machinery and process and I think this will compliment the simplicity of my diagrams I have used within the publications. I also like the interesting perspectives that is present within the images they really show the beauty in processes which are mechanic like lithography, similar to beauty that is present within processes like screen printing.

Lecture Five: Subculture And Style

Subculture, a group of people which differentiates them the larger culture in which they belong, subculture being separate from style, have the style without the sub culture. Is style sub cultural?

Skateboarding, parkour and free running, subcultural reaction to the built urban environment

The riot Grrrl movement, a model for present and contemporary female subculture

Portrayal of youth culture though film and subculture

Dogtown and Z boys, uses a mix of original photography and up to date documentary footage to explore the zephyr skateboard team, skate culture from the 1970’s an original nerdy past time into a subcultural arena and sport where sponsorship is involved

Zephyr skateboard team using an empty pool as a skate arena, development from original subculture into contemporary subcultures

Peggy Oki not exclusively male, female were involved but the clothing is more practical then for style, therefore no difference between male and female members of the group, not a feminine aspect, girls were not excluded

Ian Borden’s book performing the city, a political statement, he argues that street skating gives the body something to do other than to passively consume the cityscape, taking in advertising and the architecture, an alternative to this experience, this makes in a subculture experience, its a way of resisting the architecture of the city, broaden puts forwards that skateboarding changes this urban space, hand rail to navigate stairs, its used as a place for the board to travel, a definition of contemporary space

Slate culture as a substitute family, 2006 remake Lords of Dogtown, replaces life with a whole new way of life from the normal within this subculture, for many reasons this may occur such as a broken family situation

Parkour essentially is based around moving around obstacles with speed and efficiency whereas free running is more a creative activity which is about pose and freedom of movement

Yamakasi 2001, a story creates a group of super heroes who fight injustice in the paris ghetto’s, use parkour to steel from the rich and give to the poor, a political element involved

Jump London, a documentary film and spawns the sequel jump Britain, chasers navigate buildings famous in London, creating a challenge to architecture

Graffiti is also a redefinition of space as way of claiming ownership to public space, tagging, you are in some way claiming that space, wall or a building, claiming the public space back to the individual, it’s done at night which make it very subcultural, this is not about style but about a subcultural activity taking place

*Nancy McDonald quote here*

Black graffiti quotes here, erases the border of how you looks, racism, graffiti and separating from you visual appearance

Miss Van, female graffiti writers are judged on there physicality whereas this is not the case for men, miss van uses overly sexualized figure reads as a focus on appearance but also putting felinity in peoples faces, its an assertion of femininity

Swoon, us graffiti artist, black women resting on the top of the city, swoon is ver politically motivated, she works in urban regeneration, works in areas in need of this, uses graffiti as a way of allowing people to claim back space

Angela mc Robbie and jenny Garber says girl sub culture become more invisible, because the term sub culture has a strong male over tone, in 1977 this may have been this case, but not the case in post sub cultural theory?Lolita fashion as a subculture

Motorbike girls, the female as she appears in the motorbike culture, a powerful sexual deviant, biker female, not really true to the femininity of the time, in this culture girls are an add-on, they ride pillion, not an involvement in the mechanical side of the subculture, exaggerated masculinity and femininity that separates this from other cultures

Mod culture rather than extremes of males and females amorphous culture appears in which males and females where similar clothes, there is neatness which the motorbike culture doesn’t have they are more scruffy

Mod culture more easily fitting in to the parent culture of which the youth are from which the motorbike culture couldn't do

Working class had jobs, which meant they had money for socializing, develop a group identify which they developed which was separate from the parent culture

Quadrophenia (1979)

Status within a subculture which creates factions, which results in smaller factions being developed which tear away from the main subculture which also results in people being originals and followers

Hippy girl, subcultural stereotype, the mod girl british working class, the hippy girl is more middle class, comes out of university education, middle have a space and time for leisure, through education and travel, there is time for personal expression before you settle down.

Good hippy vs. Bad hippy, bad symbolized by the rock and roll hippy who is thw mistress of her own discretion the good hippy more about flower power

Riot grrl, underground punk movement, based in washington in the 1990’s, a type of feminism, but they didn’t class themselves as feminist, by issue they dealt with were very feminist, rape, male power and control etc

Bands within the Riot grrrl, less about the music and more about the protest, about an anti authoritarian and approach/attitude which addresses these issues. The assertion of the female figure in the music industry, this culture was influenced by the female punk rock culture which came before

Riot Grrl comes from that Jen smith said to Allion wolfe, ‘this summers going to be a girl riot’ they produce fanzines which deal with some of the issues they are dealing with, these reproduce a punk DIY aesthetic deal with body image, eating disorders, issues which affect females

To a truly subcultural activity it needs have a political influence as part of what they are doing

Media attention towards the grunge scene, not a political movement but a distortion of the riot grrl subculture, the style without the subculture, even more distorted when it comes to the UK in the form of the spice girls, girl power, which offers little empowerment in real life, reduces any political message and understanding of what power might be, to a comment on what power might be?

Hebdige, sub culture represents noise not sound which interferes to an ordinary society, society’s ills are focused on within a sub culture to rebel against parent culture

Elements of a sub culture are quickly commercially, and turn into commodities, items become mass produced, this is where style overtakes a subculture

**A treat to the family slide here**

Objects associated with rebellion, punk culture transforms an ordinary item and use it pierce the skin or clothing within the items, they do this as a rebellious statement

How quickly the subculture is absorbed by the commercial world, a 9ct white gold safety pin is produced

21st century denomination, the hoodie has become a symbol of demonized society, a bullet proof hoodie, association with a garment which is to do with lawlessness, now a badge and way of belonging to a group, its means you can be unidentifiable within this group

Hebdige also looks at a bricolage within fashion, teddy boy, a meaning of the clothing changes as its context changes, coat moving from high class item, and then moving into mass produced and then moving through to the working class

Teddy boy sub culture, girls as small part of the sub culture, women might get into trouble if they are out on the streets where the teddy boy culture plays out

Skinhead culture starts with the mod culture and deviates from it, photographers work within this culture, Gavin Watson, This is England film from 2006, the new kid transforms himself into a british skin head, takes on the style of the group, example of an individual how is alienated from the traditional family culture, his new friends in the film because his new family, a right of passage movie, the movement from young boy into a man. The skinhead style and the politically movement of the national front, the film is clear in conveying this difference between the two movements.

Design For Web: Websites

For the design for web brief I have been looking into a series of website that feature a technique called scrolling parallax which is where the content of the site is presented in sections, but these sections act as layers and layer on top of each other to create a 3D effect. I think this type of web design is fitting for the content that will be on my site as often these sites are just on page and the content of my site does follow together from one element to other. Furthermore my publication is very image heavy that is complimented by type this type of layer also works with my pre existing design style I have created for Abandoned. Furthermore I the site to be an immersive experience which I think this type of site design offers as the images and text are the full size of the browser so the user immediately become engaged and immersed in the content. 

Design For Print: Layout

My diagrams maybe effect if they were designed in this way they are clear and simple. 

I want to keep the design of my print manual simplistic and easy to use, but I also understand that the content of my print manual is very text heavy I have been researching into different ways I can use the format of page to present text heavy piece of information. The key elements I can take from this and bring into my own work is to provide plenty of white space around the text so that the page doesn't feel cramped and also keep colour absent as this distracts from text or to keep the page is one colour + stock. I also think for the A5 format in which I will be working a one column layout would work best as two columns I don't feel is need and wouldn't make best use of limited space available. 

Design For Print: Sets and Series

My content is going to be split across severl volumes are short smaller booklets I have been looking into how these booklets can then work together as a set or series. I think the obviously path to take is that a different colour represent each booklet, but I don't think this is necessarily that effective as the content is different in each booklet but not dramatically and they connected in ways they more of a series that link and follow each other rather than a series of different information.


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