From a sociological point of view, this is a truly challenging time: a time of ‘revelation’ as well as possible ‘revolution’, capable of revealing many of the pathologies of our lifestyle. The Coronavirus crisis has exposed the way oursociety works in a sort of a global social experiment, whichprovides the opportunity to question many of the categories and paradigms of our disciplines, aswell as our way of life. More profoundly, the virus has exposed the structural tensions at the basis of our social, economic, political life. Our duty as intellectuals, as teachers, and as academics is today to find a way to inhabit this tension in a more integral, inclusive, fair way rather than to dream to solve it by removing or suppressing one of the aspects at play. It is therefore necessary to explore the many possible ways to exit this situation, transforming this crisis into an opportunity for positive change. This polyphonic article, stemming from a moment of common discussion kept online, aims to be a contribution to this effort.
In the last fifteen years, Russia has started renovating its television system: new channels were developed and compete directly with the major channels of the Public Broadcasting System. A large number of foreign television productions were included in the schedules of most channels, both free and pay. State-owned and commercial televisions are strongly differentiated by the content they broadcast. While PBS has a wider variety, even though older, of television genres (information, talk shows, reality shows, factual entertainment, Russian TV series and movies), commercial channels tend to be more targeted and often offer a specific TV genre (cartoons only, TV-series or factual entertainment dedicated to women). Foreign products are evidently present in the whole Russian television system, but PBS is characterized by an older library that does not match the younger audience’s tastes. Commercial channels compete with the new OTT providers in order to broadcast the newest or, at least, the most popular Western series. Foreign content follows three different development paths once arrived on Russian television: ready-made (as to say dubbed or subtitled products), localization and ‘Russification’. These paths are connected to different television programs, such as TV-series and factual entertainment. Localization is generally connected to products tagged as factual entertainment, talent show and reality show (i.e. Russia’s Got Talent) as to say products that must match and represent the destination culture. Russification is a specific localization of foreign TV series, that has nothing to do with scripted series, because it is an unofficial new production of a very popular Western content (i.e. the Russian version of Chernobyl or The Americans). In particular, the Russification process offers not only a new vision of Russian television, but also different experiments, whether they are successful or not, and also a window for the viewer to the cultural substrate of this country. The intention is to map these paths and demonstrate that the products’ success only depends on professionals’ choices, since there is a lack of experience and professionalism in the Russian television system. Analyzing two important ‘Russification’ case histories, such as the remakes of How I Met Your Mother and The Nanny, the article constructs a scheme of successful and unsuccessful adaptation choices is built. This analysis also helps to understand how important this process is for the Russian audience, that remains very different from the European and American one, as far as free television (both PBS and commercial) is concerned.
A careful reassessment of Fritz Lang’s use of cross-cutting in M. (1931) allows for three levels of analysis. The first, theoretical and methodological, shows how related frames can be construed, from a psychoanalytical perspective, as the relation between subject-object. A second and more critical reading, stemming from the first, highlights the problematic (and in some ways perverse) dynamics of yearning in post-war Germany. Bearing this in mind, and with a new approach to the traditional appraisals of the film, we can see how the “monster” story is emblematic of the difficulties of an entire population and its institutions to find a psychological balance between personal will, duties and collective alienation. It is also possible, on the basis of these conclusions, to appreciate how Fritz Lang’s cinematographic production as a whole focuses on the controversial yet essential need to embody artistically the search for justice, possessing the un-portrayable traits of the Freudian “lost object” or the Lacanian Real.
In this paper we shall look Camus’ last text on dramatic art in order to introduce his most general thought about the deep and problematic relationship that exists between theatre, life and political action. Perché faccio teatro? [«Why do I deal with theatre?») is a speech that Camus prepared for a television broadcast transmitted on May 12 1959: the author not only explained where his profound passion for drama came from, but also explicitly answered critics who had accused him of backing out of his role of intellectual, due to his increasingly intensive engagement on the Parisian stages. Still, at that very politically critical time, Camus’ poetics gave a stronger and stronger importance to drama, not only as the place where political engagement and pleasure might find balance, but also for its innate capability of putting man in an experimental human and identity condition, plural and free from any monism. His “I rebel, therefore we are” is not only the statement of a thinker but also the claim of a playwright who, in a rather rhetorical way, asks himself and asks us: “is not the life on the stage a good formula for the future society?”. In this sense, his activity in the late 50s, which mainly focused on dramatic direction, proves that at that time Camus foresaw staging practice as much more than a metaphor of a political action, dominated by Gramscian intellectual positions: he considered it as the very way for experimenting (word for word) a communitarian practice through which he would carry on the research of the tragical emotion that he had already approached in his dramaturgy. By reflecting about this project of life, which was abruptly interrupted by the writer’s premature death (1960), it is possible to outline an idea of theatre that Camus more precisely defined during his last years but which had been, since the beginning, the source of Camus’ being an artist.
In this paper the contemporary museum is interpreted through the category of ‘living’: nowadays it is often lived as a place of performance, both individual and of the community, reconsidering its traditional role. Particularly, due to the presence of the collections of contemporary art, it is not any more a place of mere contemplation of the works of art, but a place where these works can be entered in and lived by visiting people. Referring to the theory of “relational art” by Nicolas Bourriaud and to the most recent theories of active heritage safeguarding (about intangible cultural heritage), the paper analyses same cases which show how museum is getting more and more a place to live and not simply a place to visit. Firstly, the paper deals with the artistic group Studio Azzurro who mixes visual arts, video, movie, performing arts and new technologies, and invites the visitor to become an actor and to live its works of art, which in some cases become even an entire museum. Secondly, the paper addresses to the MOA (Museum of Anthropology) of Vancouver, specifically to its policy of safeguarding the intangible collection: the museum becomes the place where the native community, who no longer can use its ancient places, can live and celebrate traditional rituals. It is like a second house for them, which allows a very fragile heritage to survive. Finally a third case-study illustrates how nowadays a museum can be considered not only a house but even a refuge for people visiting it: it is about a recent experimental workshop at MART (Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto) called indeed The museum as a refuge, conceived by a student of the Master of Servizi educativi per il patrimonio artistico, dei musei storici e di arti visive, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan. Partecipants created a personal refuge in the room of the museum after a personal and silent dialogue with the works of art hosted, following the invitation to disconnect in our hyper-connected world. During 2019 this kind of workshop will be organized again in other Italian museums, since the feedback has been very good. In conclusion, through the analysis of the cases presented and the contemporary theories about art and heritage, the paper tries to draw a portrait of the contemporary museum, specifically studying its relation with the public.
Over the last few years, attention to the concept of celebrity culture has grown exponentially both in the academic field and in the broader social and cultural context. The widespread diffusion of social media, nowadays considered an effective communicative habitat instead of the set of “new” means of communication, has brought out a phenomenology of celebrity, which includes different types of stars and celebrities. In this article we make an updated overview of the different study and research contributions on the theme of celebrities, trying to identify an ideal evolutionary path that goes from the concept of divism to that of celebrity culture. Furthermore, we present the main results of a survey conducted within the Italian context, focused on the dynamics of self-presentation developed within the Instagram social environment. Instagram is used as an object of study due to its prominently visual nature, making it particularly oriented towards the display of the Self.
The history of Italian cinema has taken inspiration from the coeval athletic culture, transforming its dynamics and values during the Twentieth and the current century. Starting from the latest series of Italian films about sports, the essay want to focus on three different kinds of sportsmen in the contemporary imaginary. The first example is called athlete and it shows classical elements but at the same time, it reshapes this model. Apart from the filmic representation, the second prototype is based on the image of the celebrated star; the football players are both visualized as human beings and divine heroes. The last figure is that of the anti-hero. Protagonist of coming-of-age stories, it becomes the mirror of a social crisis, cured by the sport values. These sports archetypes are analyzed from the perspectives of their aesthetics, the message conveyed to the audience and their cultural debts to the social imaginary.
The relationship between television and “live music” has been a weak one: the televisive dimension of music was mainly absorbed by the music video model, or by single performances in TV shows. The arrival of digital technology has profoundly affected the dynamics of the music industry: recorded music has undergone a sharp decline in sales while, at the same time, the relevance of live concerts has increased. Live music has become the pivot of musicians’ careers and of the music industry as a whole ‒ therefore the offer of tours and concerts has multiplied. In the last 20 years, the presence of pop music on television has intensified, forming itself as a genre in its own right: the talent show. This phenomenon produces a double movement of exchange and a mutual influence between television and the pop concert: the two areas of that will be the object of study of this contribution. After an introduction on the definition of “live” and “liveness” and after an overview of the relationship between music and TV and on the analysis of the current state of the music industry and its effects on music and media production, the paper will analyze some models of these new forms of transmedia narration of music and the new relationship between concerts live and TV shows. These examples will be aimed at showing both the hybridization of the productive forms and television/spectacular narration in concerts, and the presence of narrative and production forms derived from concerts in television shows. These pages will show how, in the years two thousand, “live” pop-rock concerts and visual and television entertainment converge on the re-discussion of what “live” means. The goal is to show how the relationship between these spaces has become a sort of oxymoron: the “live” concert is more and more televised, and the musical television show is more and more similar to the concert.
The article focuses on the relationship between fiction and reality on the XXIth century stage and explores how actors and spectators are changing and shifting identities in the contemporary theatre. Starting from three historical and theoretical paradigms, the Erika Fischer-Lichte’s aestheticsof performative theatre, the notion of participatory art focused by Claire Bishop, the Richard Schechner’s theory of performance studies, the article draws on a series of case studies that refers to the “dramaturgy of the real”. From the survivor in Rwanda 94 by Groupov, to the “experts of everydaylife” and the spectators who are protagonists in the performances by Rimini Protokoll, to the Estonian group TheatreNO99, the borders between fiction and reality and the roles of actors and spectators are challenged and transformed by theatrical experiences which show very intensive exchanges and interactions with visual arts and the media.
In Italy, as in many other countries, diversification in social campaigns against gender-based violence is slowly leading to a decrease in the use of images of physically abused women. Though such images are widely criticized, there are no empirical studies that concretely confirm their (in)effectiveness. In this context, the main hypothesis of the research presented in this article is that the representation of a woman as the victim of violence triggers strong emotions. However, compared with other new-generation campaigns, such representations are associated with a lower level of engagement. The study compared six social campaigns: two using images of women where one portrays a battered woman; two with images of men; one depicting a couple; and one that addresses the whole of society. The campaigns were included in a questionnaire administered to 386 people who assessed and compared them from the point of view of their emotional impact, and their ability to inspire thought and provoke action. The article’s research hypothesis is ultimately not proven; i.e., the image of the woman as victim of violence incites more of a reaction, makes one think more, and is associated with a greater level of engagement.
This article addresses the media coverage of the film Hacksaw Ridge by the French online press at the time when the biographical war drama entered the public discourse. While this film was welcomed by an overall positive treatment in the American and international media, the French media generally focused either on the exemplary nature of the message (through the character and the real story of Desmond Doss, who, due to his own religious beliefs, has defended pacifism and non-violence as a “patriotic conscientious objector”), or on the deconstruction of the pacifist and non-violent message of faith, in the complex context of the World War, by emphasizing (in prominent secular and Christian media) the violent (secular and religious) character of the film through a terminology which encapsulates representations of violence. Why did the French media favour two colluding perspectives, yet with a predilection for a critical-violent speech? To explain the choice for an analysis built on contrasting perspectives, this article prioritizes three explanations: a) the media discourse remains tributary to a particular French interpretation of secularism (laïcité); b) the media discourse represents and expresses a sense of bewilderment between the concepts of sacred, religion, and faith, a bewilderment deliberately created and maintained by the journalists (on their position of “cathodic clergy” playing the role of administrators of conscience, cf. Debray 2000); and c) the media discourse represents and expresses a conception of violence with modern origins, which traditionally opposes both secular violence and religious violence.
This essay focuses on the communicative implications stemming from the advertising campaign suggested in 2016 by the national archeological museum in Rome, entitled “Lucius Anneus Seneca dixit”. The choice made by one of the most important museums in the world to exploit Seneca’s semantic force implies a close reflection on the expressive impact of the Latin language to better probe our complexity, thanks to the relationship between expression, thought and wisdom. Furthermore, the English translation of those aphorisms sheds light on a communicative analysis of that publicity campaign, inspired by the semantic depth of Seneca’s writings. The advertising campaign used by the national archeological museum in Rome can be interpreted according to the strategies of museum communication, often characterized by a limited media relevance. Thus it may be useful to analyze the communicative function of Seneca’s aphorisms in times such as ours, featuring the speed of interpersonal exchanges and, therefore, the diffusion of epigrammatic propositions often lacking in the expressive originality of aphorisms. This is a factor highlighted by Marshall McLuhan in the Sixties thanks to his interest in aphorist communication, developed through the study of Senecan symbolism. Therefore, Senecan aphorisms may suggest further interpretative insights into our post-modernity, in compliance with the never-ending process of interactional innovation, including the strategies of cultural communication.
Over the last few decades, we have been witnessing a revival of interest in kinship and genealogical research: from family trees on the Web to documentary series, the ways of representing relatedness have developed thanks to the remediation of both ethnographic devices and media technologies. On the one hand, this suggests that the fact of visualising kinship connections deals with certain norms of selective remembrance implicitly embodied in social conventions. On the other, it seems quite surprising that such a visual equipment, being currently reinvented by audiovisual devices, lies mostly unexplored. The current literature describes the ways in which ideas of kindship, commonality and connection are taken into account within media fields, such as websites, newspaper reportages, TV documentaries, maps, material culture and science press. But a more systematic analysis of the formal patterns, which are applied to represent family affinities,would help to figure out which communicative and visual strategies could potentially mould the imagined relations users and spectators have with the lives of other people. By analysing two audiovisual products (i.e. the series Who Do You Think You Are? and Momondo’s campaign The DNA Journey), this essay aims to identify the visual forms that are currently matched to construct a real genealogical apparatus. These audiovisual products clearly interweave biological realities with the way they are socially narrated, which also applies to objective data such as records or maps of genetic relatedness. This is the reason why the essay will also explore the genomic imaginary that underpins the apparatus set up to find out individual’s ancestral affinity through DNA test results. Genealogy seen as an imaginative process plays an important role in today’s audiovisual production by affecting the spectator’s experience of an imagined ‘deep past’ and a new sense of identity based on shared roots.
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