Fabe, Marilyn. “Film and Postmodernism: Woody Allen’s Annie Hall.” Closely Watched Films: An Introduction to the Art of Narrative Film Technique. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2004. pp. 173-190.
In this chapter, Marilyn Fabe considers postmodernism in Woody Allen’s films, particularly in Annie Hall. She begins by pointing to postmodernist themes like skepticism, irony, and depression, and notes that these themes are often key components in Allen’s films. Generally, Allen looks at the predicament of humans living in a post-sacred world. But Allen specifically reflects on this work in a parodic way. Allen mirrors life as it is presented in other films in his own films. His works are extremely self-reflexive and, at the same time, utilize traditional forms. However, he uses traditional forms in an ironic manner, to undercut their realistic pretentions. Annie Hall is the perfect example of Allen’s parodic style as it relates to postmodernism. In it, Allen undercuts his own pretentions by providing audiences with a filmed autobiography (which can be considered to be simply another fictional work). Fabe mentions many particular reasons why Annie Hall seems to be totally autobiographical, but notes that the story is still fictional. Within the fiction of the movie, Woody Allen seems to be confessing everything through the fictional character of Alvy Singer, who is constantly trying to work out his inner problems. Imbedded in Alvy is a serious level of emotion that seems relatable, even if it is fictitious. Thus, Annie Hall revolves around truly postmodernist themes in that each character, particularly Alvy, are extremely skeptical about the world in which they live and approach it with an ironic attitude.
Like all of Allen’s postmodernist films, Annie Hall is not about love but is more about its impossibility, which is a theme to which all audience members can connect at some point or another in their adult lives. Fabe confirms the reasons why Allen’s films, most importantly Annie Hall, make such strong connections to their audiences. Annie Hall stands today as one of the best comedies of our time because its themes are ones which occur often in the postmodern lives of every viewer. Allen presents the characters and their relationships in a very revolutionary way – one which brings out the insecurities and instability in each audience member, letting them know that they are not alone in their thoughts.
However, the rise of postmodernist theory (Lyotard) challenges and criticizes the given metanarratives enforced by the mainstream discourse. Postmodernist sensibility suggests a deconstruction of any foundational conceptions of knowledge. It opposes the indoctrination, the imposing of social representations operated by the saturation of rhetoric images hidden in the cinematographic medium. By reformulating the approach to these images, post-structural discourses give way to the complexity and multiplicity of the reality.
“Film Narratives and Historical Representation” provides a theoretical understanding of the articulation of Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song in its discursive and historical context. The film appears as initiating a new way of cinematic representation which breaks with the positivist dominant discourse. Through a deconstruction of the images of Black people or the use of collage/bricolage (and through maybe its French New Wave influence), Van Peebles opposes the mainstream discourse and frontally displays the complexity of the world. He presents a distinct mode of representation which allows a multiplicity in the interpretation of reality. The director abandons the former “total representation” which “solidify” any identity in a type. If not directly addressing Van Peebles’ production, Gazetas proposes a powerful theoretical perspective on the philosophical stakes raised by Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.
tagged postmodernism representation van_peebles by thomleon ...on 09-APR-08
One could argue that is almost impossible to attempt to understand the complex relationship between fashion bloggers and the fashion industry without an understanding of postmodernism. Frederic Jameson posits commoditization at the base of a postmodern culture, arguing that aesthetic and cultural production has become integrated into commodity production generally. The need for profits drives corporations to bombard the market with new products for eager consumers, yet in order to develop new products, there is a constant need for new ideas that will translate into marketable goods. Thus, Jameson grants “aesthetic innovation” an important structural role in driving the market.
This aesthetic innovation, however, takes on new forms in the late capitalist society. While the complex, amorphous nature of postmodern culture makes it difficult to define, Jameson is able to identify several key (if often contradictory!) characteristics of postmodern aesthetic innovation, including a focus on pastiche, nostalgia, schizophrenia, euphoria, ahistoricism, fragmentation and camp. He also argues that because economic motives drive the creation of culture, as well as that of political, social and commercial discourse, postmodernism witnesses a melding of all of these discourses into one. Thus, while postmodern is on one hand increasingly fragmented and diverse, its complete commoditization closely aligns it with the creation of the social and political sphere.
If we apply Jameson’s theory of cultural creation to the world of fashion, we encounter a society in which fashion arises from a population whose fragmented, yet global world view results in styles that are part kitschy, part retro and influenced by international as well as local trends. Jameson might very well be describing the large varieties of looks that one finds on Face Hunter (a popular Paris-based fashion blog). A furthering of his theory would put forth these looks as a type of highly valued aesthetic innovation, which would then be adopted by the fashion industries in order to produce marketable goods. Jameson’s theory seems to accurately describe the relationship between the trendsetters (Gladwell’s innovators) and the fashion industries, yet leaves the relationship between the fashion industries and the masses unclear. Always and ultimately a Marxist, Jameson grants the masses little control over cultural creation, arguing that they are tools of the capitalist machine. However, in a world where the variety of choices means that the masses can select freely among different fashions, the masses seem to have more agency that the industries, who must invest time and energy in hoping to capture a mass audience. Jameson’s granting of cultural discourse a spot among social and political discourse however appears to hold true with regards to fashion; a tie-dyed shirt and love beads conveys political messages, just as a designer suit and expensive handbag convey social and economic ones.
Rogers V Koons. No. 234, 388 and 235. United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. 2 Apr. 1992.
This is the 2nd Circuit's appellate ruling on Rogers v Koons. The introduction states that the "key" to the suit "brought by a plaintiff photographer against a defendant sculptor and the gallery representing him, is defendants' borrowing of plaintiff's expression of a typical American scene — a smiling husband and wife holding a litter of charming puppies." It calls the copying deliberate goes on to give the background facts of the case. It first describes Rogers' work and reputation, followed by an account of how the "Puppies" photograph was created. It then does the same for Koons and the creation of "String of Puppies." It goes back over the "prior proceedings," giving the history of litigation between the two parties and affirms the district court initial ruling.
Moving on to the discussion section, the court eleaborates on the ownership of copyright in an original work of art, which Rogers has, discusses unauthorized copying by defendant, which Koons is held guilty of, and defines the fair use doctrine. It then enumerates the four criteria required to satisfactorily pass as fair use. Under the Purpose and Character of Use criterion, the court says, "Relevant to this issue is Koons' conduct, especially his action in tearing the copyright mark off of a Rogers notecard prior to sending it to the Italian artisans. This action suggests bad faith in defendant's use of plaintiff's work, and militates against a finding of fair use." Essentially, they are saying that he was underhanded about his method of copying. As far as Parody or Satire as Fair Use is concerned, the court says "that even given that "String of Puppies" is a satirical critique of our materialistic society, it is difficult to discern any parody of the photograph "Puppies" itself." They argue that Koons was motivated more by profit than satire. The court also holds that Koons copied far more of Puppies than necessary to convey his point. "Koons went well beyond the factual subject matter of the photograph to incorporate the very expression of the work created by Rogers," says the court. Lastly, the court orders that the effect of the use on the market value of the original has been harmed, and "there is simply nothing in the record to support a view that Koons produced "String of Puppies" for anything other than sale as high-priced art. Hence, the likelihood of future harm to Rogers' photograph is presumed, and plaintiff's market for his work has been prejudiced."
Blanch V Koons. No. 05-6433-Cv. UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT. 26 Oct. 2006.
This is the judgment on the appeal for the Koons v Blanch case with the opinion of Judge Sack. The appeals court rules that Koons’ work was indeed a fair use. Koons was commissioned by the Deutsche Bank and Guggenheim Foundation to create a painting, “Niagra” in which he used Blanch’s “Silk Sandals by Gucci” ad. The court gives background on Koons’ life and work, saying that he is “known for incorporating into his artwork objects and images taken from popular media and consumer advertising, a practice that has been referred to as "neo-Pop art" or (perhaps unfortunately in a legal context) "appropriation art."” It describes both Koons’ painting and Blanch’s photograph and Koons’ use of the photograph in his painting. The two artists’ economic gains and losses are then detailed: Niagra has been appraised at $1 million, while Blanch was paid $750 for her work.
In meeting the criteria for fair use, the court finds Koons’ work transformative, saying it “adds something new, with a further purpose or different character, altering the first with new expression, meaning, or message." The court ignores the effect of commercial use because Blanch admits that Koons’ work did nothing to detract from any financial gains Silk Sandals brought her. It does, they say, meet the requirement for parody: “Koons's use of a slick fashion photograph enables him to satirize life as it appears when seen through the prism of slick fashion photography.” Bad faith is cited as the last criteria of fair use. Here the ruling holds that Koons only exhibited bad faith in not first asking Blanch’s permission to use her photo. What I wonder, though, is whether than would have made any difference to her. The other major reason that Koons’ work is said to be acceptable is that he uses only a portion of Blanch’s image, and places that portion with other elements that are not part of her photo, thereby substantially transforming it. In conclusion, the court rules "promoting the Progress of Science and useful Arts," U.S. Const., art. I, § 8, cl. 8, would be better served by allowing Koons's use of "Silk Sandals" than by preventing it.”
Greenberg, Lynne A. "THE ART OF APPROPRIATION: PUPPIES, PIRACY, AND POST-MODERNISM." Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal 11 (1992): 1.
Greenberg calls appropriation art a “wide-reaching trend which has arisen as a response to post-modernist criticism.” She says its reaction to the formalism and aesthetics of a media-saturated society. Most importantly, echoing Koons claims about the school of thought he belongs to, Greenberg says, “Aggressively and self-consciously derivative in its ideology, post-modernist art critiques the very attributes that copyright law uses to define art: namely, artistic creativity and originality.”
In the introduction, she says the article will focus on the challenges postmodernist art poses on copyright law and argues, like the Columbia Law Review editorial that visual art requires a different set of rules than other copyrightable entities. In the section of her piece about the infringement vulnerability of photography, and “its relationship to the originality requirement” she uses Rogers v. Koons to illustrate her point that we need a different way to interpret copyright as it interferes with the objectives of postmodern art. In her analysis of the case, Greenberg maintains that the court’s perspective is skewed because Koons’ work is so expensive. She says that although the court claims that Koons’ work has an economic impact on Rogers, “It seems farfetched to imagine that Koons's "high-priced" kitsch, sold in the elite world of the art gallery, could even tangentially affect the market for either Rogers's commissioned photographs or Rogers's postcards, sold predominantly in gift shops”. Basically, she concludes, the court ruled fairly according to current laws, this case shows that these doctrines are in need of revision in order to make allowances for appropriation art. “The recent decision of Rogers v. Koons simultaneously underscores the precarious position occupied by artists practicing radical appropriation strategies, and accentuates the consequences of so rigorously enforcing the limited monopoly rights granted by copyright law,” she explains.
Call#: Van Pelt Library HM449 .D39 2004