For the last Popular Culture class we visited Tate Britain to find examples of Popular culture, pop culture and not pop culture. I chose this piece by Ian Kiaer – the inflated Korean packaging which has been simply sello-taped together – as an example of Pop Culture. The piece is fun, it attracts attention as the audience try to work out what it is and what it’s purpose is, and in the end is a fairly pointless piece of art – in my opinion. Much like pop culture it will amuse, interest and raise questions, before disappearing and being easily replaced with another such piece of work – and in the case of this piece it may actually go POP.
Thinking in relation to the Wild Thing post I have summarized what I believe POP CULTURE to be .
Pop Culture is a pattern, a simple repeat. A standard hook that regenerates with each translation, creating an infinite possibility.
As Wasburn and Crowe state in Symmetries of Culture: Theory and Practice of Plane Pattern Analysis (1988):
“We reserve the term pattern or (repeated pattern, for emphasis) for those designs which have translation symmetry… A pattern must conceptually extend to infinity; otherwise it cannot have translational symmetry” [ Wasburn, D & Crowe. D, (1988) Symmetries of Pattern: Theory of Plane Pattern Analysis. University of Washington Press.]
The real or original therefore become insignificant to the hook in defining popularity, thus Pop Culture, by the symmetrical sameness.
As Parry-Giles states:
“Hyper- realism is often spoken as something that involves images and is assumed to be more real than real where the ability to discern the real from the unreal or images becomes impossible and in many ways insignificant” [Parry-Giles, S (2007). Email to the author. 10th October 2007]
Pop Culture is something in current society that is embraced by many people. It could be a fashion style, music style, meme, artist, artist movement, a saying or word pairing. This thing is attractive and catches on to a wide group of people and typically has a life span of when it is regarded as “hip” or “cool”.
Here is an example of pop culture from the late 80’s
Pop Culture is often criticised for not being serious; a dumbing down of Culture. However, it is not in the nature of Pop Culture to be serious; its purpose is to be enjoyable, fast fun which passes as quickly as it arrives. As Kevin Lause states “Popular Culture can be very enjoyable, but is only “mindless” if we deliberately refuse to think about it”
“Taking popular culture seriously means a deepening of the fun, not a destruction of it”
“The commercial nature of popular culture helps account for the way in which it embodies the zeitgeist of its era, while the imitative and repetitive nature of mass culture enables it to provide a soothing reassuring familiarity to it’s public.”
Kevin Lause – Popular Culture: An introductory Text
This piece from the exhibition was my personal favourite; visually it’s striking and pulls you in as you attempt to work out what it is and what it represents – something I would not have realised if the curator had not explained. It is a repeated and stylised version of the “Anarchy” symbol, usually associated with the Punk subculture. I like the piece not only because it is visually interesting and intricate – but because it is a complete contradiction – “Controlled Anarchy”. This is an interesting concept as it can be applied to Popular Culture – often crazy and shocking but within certain limits.
Red, White and Blue explores relationships, influences, and appropriations in political, pop and punk imagery. Critically positioned in the context of this Jubilee and Olympic year, the exhibition reflects upon corresponding historical moments: the 1951 Festival of Britain, the birth of punk and the Silver Jubilee. Picking up where our last show, DOME, left off Red, White and Bluelooks again at how the recently re-emerging themes of austerity, legacy, and national identity have resonated across the last half century, both in the UK and internationally.
Red, White and Blue combines film, photography, graphics and contemporary art to expand the relationship between pop and punk culture, politics and place, reflecting back upon the past as well as examining the present. Whilst ideas of Britannia and Britishness permeate this exhibition, the show includes international perspectives of place and political defiance from Sao Paulo, Sarajevo, New York, and Ljubljana.
The exhibition begins with plasma screens and video projection; a control room or nerve centre; a video immersion tank. Next, a kind of billboard alley of photographic images, pop art, graphics and posters; imagery piled high, international, and layered with histories. Anti- government protests from South America and civil war in the Balkans are depicted through posters and the moment of the Royal Jubilee of 1977 and the emergence of a Punk sensibility is evoked in black and white photographs.
At the end of this graphic walkway a TV on the floor acts as an abject sentinel, a cathode tube at the end of the tunnel. In the main space, ideas of pop, punk, politics and place are consolidated within vivid, colourful artworks. Emptied out and cleaned up abstracted details of political symbols and music related graphics find new materiality and new meanings in a contemporary context.
Curatorial concept and design: Donald Smith with Daniel Sturgis
information from: http://www.chelseaspace.org/archive/redwhiteblue-info.html
High end fashion designers creating affordable lines for high street chain stores. Is it affordable luxury on the high street for the masses? Or is it just the same as always but with a new label? Designers expanding their markets or selling out?
“normal” people feel they are gaining designer clothes at high street prices – sell out items
items are generally cheaper, less interesting and of lower quality (obviously); but thats the point of designer items – beautiful design and quality COSTS – exclusivity
true Lanvin = High Fashion/Culture
Lanvin for H&M = Low Fashion/Culture
Veins & Arteries – The messengers sending all the aspects of pop culture around the body to all the various parts; the media, internet, television.
eyes – absorbing information and inspiration
nose – sniffing out whats new and exciting and different
eyelashes – protection and sorting through the information/inspiration so only the best remains
feet – supporting pop culture; allowing it to move around
fingers – reaching out and spreading it throughout the world
tongue – tasting whats good and bad
hair – catching and tangling up inspiration (that’s why her hair’s so big – it’s full of secrets!)
cheekbones – highlighting the best pop culture has to offer
This introduction to Pop Art video is a nice concise summary of Pop Art from it’s origins in the 1950s to it’s more contemporary followers. I personally know very little about Pop Art in the wider extent, my knowledge consisting mainly of Andy Warhol screen prints with a few Lichtenstein’s throw in, so I found it very informative and interesting. It was interesting to see that Pop Art was influenced by consumerism yet encouraged consumerism at the same time – the pieces were accessible to “normal” people everyday people, as they were made up of images they come across everyday. The part of the video that focused on Keith Haring and his work was the most interesting; I recognised his work yet knew nothing of him and his tragic life – his work to highlight AIDs and his sudden and young death as a result of the same disease – a harrowing story that makes you think about and understand the fragility of life.