The society of the spectacle…

Today’s lecture was on spectacle. Until now we only looked at spectacle from mediums like films, T.V, newspapers, etc but today we looked at things like the houses of parliament, big ben, and other monumental things which in essence are spectacles.

Dadaism – 1916 – Was an anti war movement which started in Zurich but then later mover to Berlin, Germany. Marcel Duchamp was a major part of the whole movement which had political affinities with the radical left and was also anti-bourgeois.

Surrealism – Founded in 1924 By Andre Breton. This was also an art movement filled with expression and spontaneous ideas. Some of which was from unconscious dreams. Paintings were used to sustain hierarchy, not everybody could afford them so if you could it said a lot about you. It is also apart of the spectacle. Paintings of Henry VIII and the Mona Lisa spring of well kept paintings and ultimately spectacles. People view these paintings as sacred.

Guy Debord 1931 – 1994 – Founded the situationist international in 1960, seven years later he published the society of the spectacle. The international was an art and political movement similar to Dadaism, and Surrealism. It was antibourgeois, radical, avant- grade. It was a revolution of everyday life, against old marxism and against communism. It used old images and remixed to show his message.

Détournement is taking popular images and recreating them with a message, it draws from the Brecht and marxist alienation techniques.

Commodity fetishism – We tend to think products appear magically. The new Citroen by Roland Barthes ‘He supreme…’. We looked at an iPad or any apple product and there’s this idea that it floats and it is magical. Even the helpers in the apple store are called geniuses to heighten this false consciousness of magic and spectacle.

Debords argument – In societies where modern conditions of production prevail. All of life presents itself as immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that has directly lived has moved away into representation. He argues that socialist and capitalist were all about power and control. In 1968 a lot of student led groups aimed to revolutionise the world.

In our seminar groups we were given segments from Guy Debord’s ‘The society of the spectacle’ to re-edit along with the audio and subtitles of the original text. Unluckily we were given the last and longest piece to edit but I feel like we did a decent job at it. We hope you enjoy our modern day representation of ‘The society of the spectacle’.

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