[rumori] re: Advertising

Boster, Bob [rumori] re: Advertising
Thu, 12 Feb 1998 10:59:43 -0800 (00887338783, c=US%a=_%p=HIII%l=MAIN_SERVER-980212185943Z-8918ATserver2.orban.com)

>Hmm. So you're saying the media environment is now aesthetically pleasing
>to you, so you have no complaint about this phenomenon?

Not no complaint, I just see where we are as an inevitability based on a
political state of affairs ("Late Capitalism" if you'd like to use Jameson's term) and one that is so deeply entrenched as to be
unassailable. I see the sellout of "art's" ownership of modes of expression as problematic, but also creating a window of opportunity for
non-elite culture makers to get some soot in the cracks of the face of
capital along the way. When someone who's art is about challenging the
status quo gets appropriated it does send a significantly conflicted
message out to the audience and that conflict makes the product seem
"cooler", but it also plants seeds of doubt and dissent. In the face of socialism's collapse and the media blanket's extension over every inch
of real and imagined space a crack in the wall now and again is as much
as we can hope for.

>Hmm again. I think there's two different problems snarled together here.
>One is the elitism of the "Art World". The other is the coopting of
>counterculture by "The Media". IMHO, just because The Media grabs a
>certain motif or style and uses it for their own ends doesn't mean its now
>a populist movement. I think it tends to homogenize culture, give us a
>"monoculture", and a "top-down" one, at that.

But the monoculture that it gives us is one with a million messages
floating in it like the snow in a cheap piece of tourist schlock
(snowball) you'd get at the Empire State Building. The whole can be
viewed from outside as a homogenous mass of water and plastic snow, but
from inside each of those "tchockes" is bits of plastic is coming from a different direction, at a different rate, with a different shape. It
may be top down, but it doesn't feel that way when you're in it.

>I'd rather the farmboy in
>des moines come up with his own homegrown culture than see something that
>looks hip on mtv and emulate that. Although hardly anyone just makes
>stuff up from a vaccuum...

Yeah exactly, there's no zero point for cultural expressions.

>But, the zeigeist that the MFA student
>gleans from Art in America (if any) gets inevitably warped and sanitized
>by MTV anyway, so your farmboy is still getting something different.

I agree again, but the farmboy's take on MTV is inevitably distinct as a
result of his own experiences, even if those are from other points of
top down media dissemination. What is his parents watch Billy Graham on
TV for four hours every Sunday, doesn't that change his take on MTV? In
a sense "unsanitizing it" in a viral sort of way? Aren't there a hundred of those sources of viral infection daily?

>good point. (although some folks enjoy being freaks. :] ) it changes the
>name of the game, basically. I once asked Lloyd Dunn in an interview (its
>up on his website now, at http://soli.inav.net/~psrf/tb_interview2.html ),
>whether there was something inherently revolutionary in appropriation. (I
>might have phrased it a bit differently, but that's basically it) I
>think maybe the answer to this used to be yes. But now appropriation is
>simply another tool, not even avantgarde anymore, and so the task for
>people trying to do something subversive is to actually make the contents
>of the work do the subversion, rather than the technique or form.

Here here. Although the idea that simple juxtaposition calls the
audience to a critical relationship with the subjects probably isn't
even enough anymore either. But political mallets don't seem to do the
trick. I'm still working this one out for myself. So far my best
answer has been to try to make the content just get people's brains
started at all. I'm a bit worried about the fact that sounds tend to
make people shut off their thinking and just get caught up in the ear
candy and that some composers set up for this by eschewing any attempt
at clear message construction for pure sonic abstraction (Songlines this
at Mills last night for example).

>->Postman's problem is that he's never read Michel de Certeau. He assumes

de Certeau feels that it's almost impossible for people to not subvert
the cultural products they consume into their own experiential paradigm,
thereby challenging the entire "top-down" view at it's core. Great read...I only buy it to a certain extent, but his point is a good one.
Another handle on this is a book called Textual Poachers which pitches
this analysis at a number of sub-threads of fandom.

>thanx. He was referring to a Marianne Amacher concert at Mills a few years

I was in the light booth during that event and I had my fingers in my
ears at a couple points (behind a double pane of glass.)