Geomedia Speaker Series - Philip Auslander (University of Georgia, US)
Barbie in a Meat Dress: Performance and Mediatization in the 21st Century
Although mediatization is a permanent condition of modern societies the particular forms it takes on are historically contingent. The processes of mediatiza- tion derive from the workings of the culturally dominant media forms of a particu- lar time. Over two decades ago, I felt comfortable in positing the televisual, defined in terms of Raymond Williams’s concept of flow, as central to mediatized culture. This is no longer the case, as the televisual has clearly yielded sway to the digital in all its forms. In seeking to understand the implications of this transition for performers navigating this new cultural terrain I focus on two currently successful pop music artists, Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga. Whereas the performers I chose as my original examples, performance artists Spalding Gray and Laurie Anderson, each developed a single, largely consistent persona that proved adaptable to differ- ent media and cultural contexts, both Minaj and Gaga create multiple personae that morph with astounding velocity. Gaga, in particular, takes this strategy so far that she seems to have no stable performance persona or brand image at all. Her constantly changing appearance and image suggests instead the urgency and fre- quency with which we must adjust our self-presentations to the multiple platforms on which we continuously perform them.
Date: November 12, 2018 at 13.00-15.00
Venue: Minerva, Karlstad University