Thursday, October 8, 2009
Thoughts about Access and Limits
Doing the readings this week, I had to think of limits and access. When we have seen thinkers open up new categories, i.e. the scapes, Jameson's postmodern reality or Kill Bill as pastiche, they have usually been defined pretty concretely. However, the texts assumed a certain audience and a specific reader that would understand these descriptions of the world, which was seen as multifaceted and interlinked but also universal. The easiest example is one we discussed in last week's section: Kill Bill. We raised the question of how what is shown and is related to what is perceived, why certain scenes worked and what Tarrantino's responsibility was when he decided to "translate" and "import" certain styles and themes to Hollywood. However, this issue goes deeper than this. In Jameson, we get to a poitn where we need to ask, "who experiences Jameson's reality?" If we think of the Bonaventure, it is interesting that it is an expensive hotel in an expensive city and thus only a select group of people will ever be able to experience this space, which is seen as symptomatic of a changing reality. There is another level to this thought, which is about language itself. Jameson is aware of this and specifically says that in the case of the Bonaventure, language fails to describe the experience. I am not saying that what Jameson says is not true or not worth saying, but there was something missing from this. This is probably the anthropologist in me speaking, but where are the people in Jameson? Where are the actual lived experiences? In Jameson, and to some extent in Appadurai and other texts as well, we are shown a relatively empty space. The internet is filled with networks and not people in networks. Art is never shown as created and tied to context. There is a lot of talk about embededness and performativity, but few actual qualitative accounts of the people's experiences. When words fail, the fault may not lie in the words themselves, not in the reality they try to describe, but in the way this description is conceived.
Posted by bw at 9:38 AM