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«UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED ARTS VIENNA & UNIVERSITY OF VIENNA, JUNE 1-2, 2012 INVITED SPEAKERS Braidt, Andrea B. (University of Fine Arts Vienna, Austria) ...»

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PURSUING THE TRIVIAL

INVESTIGATIONS INTO POPULAR CULTURE

UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED ARTS VIENNA & UNIVERSITY OF VIENNA,

JUNE 1-2, 2012

INVITED SPEAKERS

Braidt, Andrea B. (University of Fine Arts Vienna, Austria)

Melancholia at the End of the Series

Friday, 01.06.2012, 17:50 – 18:10, Panel: Nostalgia

According to psychoanalytic-semiotic Apparatus theories of the 1970s, spectators get expelled at the end of a filmic narrative in which they were “stiched/sutured” in due to the mechanisms of the seamless narrative. They remain wanting and broken subjects, at least for a little while. For narrations lasting not only 90 minutes but several seasons consisting of numerous episodes, this feeling of melancholia must be all the more dramatic – not only, I would like to argue, in a quantitative sense, but also in a qualitative, phenomenological way. In my paper I will explain in what way the specific narrative techniques of the serial induce the feeling of sadness and melancholia at the end of a series. I will look at The Sopranos (USA 1999-2007, 6 seasons) and at Friday Night Lights (USA 2006-2011, 5 seasons) for exemplary analyses.

Andrea Braidt is currently the Vice-Rector for Art and Research at the University of Fine Arts Vienna. She previously worked as a Senior Scientist in Film Studies at the Department of Theatre, Film and Media Studies at the University of Vienna.

Her research interests include feminist film theory, genre theory, and queer film theory.

Evans, Caroline (University of the Arts London, United Kingdom) The Peculiar Invisibility of the Fashion Model Saturday, 02.06.2012, 15:20 – 15:40, Panel: Paraphernalia The earliest fashion models were considered disgraceful by their nineteenth century contemporaries.

In the early twentieth-century, by contrast, the professional fashion model was seen as an interesting modern type. Scandalously dressed at the races, startlingly on show on the modelling stage, she was much written about in the press. She remained curiously invisible, however, as this short paper investigates. Spectacular yet anonymous, she had talent for objectifying herself, and a gift for ‘becoming’ the dress she modelled. Ultimately, the modernity of the mannequin lay in her paradoxical agency whereby she constituted herself as an object through the eloquence of her mute performance.

Caroline Evans is Professor of Fashion History and Theory at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design (University of the Arts London) where she teaches and writes on twentieth-century and contemporary fashion. She is a visiting professor at the Centre for Fashion Studies, Stockholm University. Her recently completed book The Mechanical Smile: Modernism and the First Fashion Shows in France and America, 1900-1929 is due from Yale University Press in spring 2013.

Huck, Christian (Christian-Albrecht University of Kiel, Germany) Inside/out. Public Cocooning as an Example for the Transversality of Popular Culture Friday, 01.06.2012, 11:50 – 12:10, Panel: In/Outdoor The paper will present transversality as a central attribute of popular culture. Whereas official culture is characterized by a will to cultivate, administer and maintain borders between different spheres, systems or discourses, popular culture is either indifferent to such borders (and becomes trivial) or attempts to cross such thresholds (and become subversive). Examples of transversality are manifold: pop music is both artistic and commercial, music videos ignore the distinction between diegesis and reality, fairs invite rich and poor alike, carnivals invite to transcend gender categories, football combines entropy and negentropy, blogs blend earnest topics with easy language, etc.

One of the borders patrolled by those legitimizing official culture is that between the privacy of the home and the public sphere outside. In my talk I will present different historical examples of how popular practices and media have transversed this distinction by enabling mobile cocoons: car driving, for example, allows to dwell in a home away from home; reading creates private spaces within crowded trains and noisy airports; listening to Ipods shelters the urban walker from the demands of city life, etc.

Christian Huck is Professor of Cultural and Media Studies, as well as Head of the English Department, at the Christian-Albrechts-Universität in Kiel. His research interests lie in theory, practice, and history of popular culture; pop-music, musicvideos, documentaries, fashion, and football. His publications include: The Medial Limits of Culture (2006), Documentary Films and the Creative Treatment of Actuality (2007), Postmaterial Britishness: Playing Football Like a Gentleman (2008), Rockumentaries: Documenting Music on Film (2007 and 2008), and Fashioning Society, or, The Mode of Modernity: Observing Fashion in Eighteenth-Century Britain (2010).

Monk, Claire (De Montfort University Leicester, United Kingdom) Web 2.0 Fandom and James Ivory’s/E. M. Forster’s Maurice (UK, 1987). Or What Tumblr, LiveJournal and YouTube Can Teach Us About the Life of Texts, Transnational Reception and the Redundancy of ‘Heritage Film’ Criticism Saturday, 02.06.2012, 17:50 – 18:10, Panel: In/Outdoor In a Web 2.0 sequel to the study presented in my monograph Heritage Film Audiences: Period Films and Contemporary Audiences in the UK (Edinburgh University Press, 2011), this paper draws on my ongoing research to explore emerging forms of 21st-century online audience activity, fandom and fan productivity around quality period films. More specifically, it considers the 21st-century reception and (re-)appropriation of key films originally released in the 1980s to early 1990s which academic





criticism has routinely constructed and dismissed as prime exemplars of the heritage-film ‘genre’:

Merchant Ivory Productions’ cycle of adaptations from the novels of E. M. Forster.

My case study is the current and seemingly growing phenomenon, and specific forms, of online fandom and (often passionate) fan investment around Forster’s gay male bildungsroman and love story Maurice and its 1987 film adaptation, 25 years after the film’s initial cinema release. This paper explores the forms of Maurice’s 21st-century reception, (re-)appropriation and remixing as evidenced in Web 2.0 activity, and reflects on some of the implications: whether for our understandings of Maurice (Forster’s novel/Ivory’s film) as a cultural– historical object and a far from fixed or closed text, or for our wider understanding of fan engagement and productivity as expressed within participatory Web 2.0 cultures. The specific forms of this appreciation, appropriation and creative activity – among surprisingly young audiences, substantially female but sexually diverse – and in a markedly transnational context – demonstrate how far the label ‘heritage film’, and established framings of the Merchant Ivory films in relation to English heritage, may have become all but redundant in the age of digital convergence.

Dr Claire Monk is Reader in Film & Film Culture at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK, and a founding member of DMU’s Centre for Adaptations and CATH (Cinema & Television History) Centre. She has published widely on the cultural, socio-political and contextual understanding of post-1970s British film and is known especially for her contributions to the debates around the cultural and sexual politics of the ‘heritage film’. Key publications include Heritage Film Audiences: Period Films and Contemporary Audiences in the UK (Edinburgh: EUP, 2011) and British Historical Cinema (London & New York: Routledge, 2002), co-edited with Amy Sargeant. Prior to her full-time academic career she was a film critic for Sight & Sound for much of the 1990s.

Spitaler, Georg (University of Vienna, Austria) Fictional Political Theory? Relating Theory and ‚Subversive’ Pop Culture in Dietmar Dath’s Novel Für immer in Honig Friday, 01.06.2012, 15:20 – 15:40, Panel: Fiction In the last decades, debates on pop culture and the political have transgressed academia and have also been prominent in pop(ular) media. Amongst the various contributions at the intersection of art, theory and entertainment are the novels and essays by the German authors Thomas Meinecke and Dietmar Dath. Taking the example of Dietmar Dath’s novel ‘Für immer in Honig’ (Berlin 2005/2008) the paper tries to identity specific literary forms of political theory. Drawing on Thomas Ernst’s conceptualization of ‘subversive writing’ it will be discussed how the novel reloads and ‘theorizes’ relations of pop culture and radical politics. How does the fictional text give life to theory and which aesthetic strategies are adopted in the course of this? How on the other hand does fiction uncover contradictions and blind spots of political theory?

On a general level, the paper focuses on the possible insights of reading fictional texts and genres for political theory.

–  –  –

Storey, John (University of Sunderland, United Kingdom) The Game of Love Saturday, 02.06.2012, 11:50 – 12:10, Panel: Games My paper will present the theoretical framing and some of the research findings of a research project called Media Love. The project (which I am working on with a colleague) looks at how young people (aged 18 to 25) use media when they fall in love. By use we mean two things: the use of media discourses and the use of media technologies.

The paper will be divided into two parts. The first part will present the theoretical framing of the project, including a) claims about the ‘mediatization’ of romantic love, and b) our understanding of the romantic power of the media. The second part of the paper will focus on some of the findings of 38 discursive questionnaires, and 10 semi-structured interviews (almost 15 hours of recorded material).

John Storey is Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Sunderland.

Director of the Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies, his research focus is on cultural studies, especially cultural theory, cultural history and theoretical as well as historical approaches to popular culture. His extensive list of publications on Cultural Studies includes: Inventing Popular Culture: from Folklore to Globalisation (2003), Cultural Theory and Popular Culture (5th ed. 2009), and Culture and Power in Cultural Studies: The Politics of Signification (2010).

POSTGRADUATE SPEAKERS

Armbruster, Stefanie (Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain) Re-Interpreting the Past. Nostalgia and Reruns of Popular Television Series Friday, 01.06.2012, 16:30 – 16:50, Panel: Nostalgia Today, television is a field of hard competition in which innovation is demanded in order to gain the central good of desire – the attention of the audiences. As Kiefer highlights, while the entrance of an artwork into the archive is more likely to be a stimulus for the commercial art market, the declaration of a popular culture artefact to the category of the well-known things rather means its loss of value for the media industry (see Kiefer 1998, p. 102). However, above all since privatization, television channels relied increasingly on reruns. Audiovisual content each time occupies more space in the world-wide-web with `old´ television series as one of its priorities. This paper wants to focus on this phenomenon without highlighting it as an economical praxis.

Interestingly, already the philosopher of art Broder Christiansen has hinted to the fact that a piece of art may `grow´ and gain new “differential quality” within the course of time (see Christiansen 1909, p. 124). With a look on the macro-level, Kompare (2005) argues that reruns are more than a mere repetition of the ever-same for its viewers. He explicitly refers to nostalgia. This paper wants to bring these thoughts together. Focussing on the micro-level and within the frame of a media and cultural studies perspective, it scrutinizes how the television reruns may appear with new `differential quality´ when they undergo a nostalgic re-interpretation from the side of the audiences. Drawing back on the literature on nostalgia (see e.g. Davis 1979, Tannock 1995, Sprengler 2009 or Jameson

1991) and television reruns (see e.g. Kompare 2005) I will intend to work out how and on which layers – from the rerun as an artefact as such to the single layers of the audiovisual text – a once popular television series put into a new (temporal) context may favour such a subsequent shift of meaning.

References Christiansen, Broder (1909): Philosophie der Kunst. Hanau: Clauss & Feddersen.

Davis, Fred (1979): Yearning for Yesterday: A Sociology of Nostalgia. New York/London: The Free Press.

Jameson, Fredric (1991): Postmodernism or, the cultural logic of late capitalism. Durham: Duke University Press.

Kiefer, Marie Luise (1998): Die ökonomische Zwangsjacke der Kultur. Die wirtschaftlichen Bedingungen der Kulturproduktion und -distribution durch Massenmedien. In: Saxer, Ulrich (Ed.) (1998): Medien - Kulturkommunikation. Sonderheft 2/1998. Wiesbaden/Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, pp. 97-114.

Kompare, Derek (2005): Rerun Nation. How Repeats Invented American Television. New York/London: Routledge.

Sprengler, Christine (2009): Screening Nostalgia. Populuxe props and Technicolor aesthetics in contemporary American film. New York/Oxford: BerghahnBooks.

Tannock, Stuart (1995): Nostalgia Critique. In: Cultural Studies, Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 453-464.

–  –  –

Cachola, Ana-Cristina (Portuguese Catholic University, Portugal) Pursued by the Trivial. Joanas Vasconcelos’ Public Artworks Saturday, 02.06.2012, 14:00 – 14:20, Panel: Paraphernalia Any material is possible, any technique is possible, you can draw from fashion, from music, theatre, even from MTV, but the problem is, in the middle of all that, what makes this or that a work of art?

–  –  –



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