"Postmodern media manipulate time and space".

To what extent does this definition apply to texts you have studied? Postmodern media does manipulate time and space on a big scale. The manipulation allows modern artists to experiment and form products which are different to the perceived norm. These products make it clear to there audiences that there is no absolute within both time or space. This change in opinion and belief from within the intend audience gives artists within modern media the chance to create something innovative and special. This would not have been possible before. The byproduct of postmodern media has divided opinion on the contrary belief that ‘post modern media can manipulate time and space and wether this is a success or a pain to modern media. It has been said that postmodern culture is signified by the breakdown of the distinction between high culture and mass culture, the breakdown of barriers between genres and styles, mixing up of time, space, narrative and the emphasis on style rather than content. In Inception an obvious breakdown between high and mass culture can be viewed by the exemplar that is Edith Piafs - ‘Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien’ which was originally a piece of music that would be regarded highly within high culture. It is now evident following the blockbuster release of Inception in 2010 that it is now well known by the masses. It could also be said that it has made its way in to modern pop culture by being added to the films soundtrack released the same year. An example of where the barriers between genre and style have been obliterated can easily be affiliated with Tarentinos ‘Inglorious Basterds’. This film is ultimately an adventure/drama genre film which adopts styles from dated westerns and war films. Examples include the bricolage of spaghetti western music and Beethoven and the runaway scene which pays homage to John Waynes 1956 ‘The Searchers’ both within the first scene ‘Once upon a time .... in Nazi-Occupied France”. Inglorious Basterds can also be used when linking an example of where time can be mixed up within postmodern media. In ‘Inglorious Basterds’ Tarentino decided against historical accuracy and instead creates a plot which represents a fairytale in many ways. The use of Brad Pitts Tennessee accent and the incorrect death of Adolf Hitler shows the degree of fictitiousness within the film. Tarentino also destroys the usual convention of time within this film by using chapters like in a written story and by allowing the plot to move on in an anachronic way. Moving away from ‘Inglorious Basterds’, Christopher Nolans Inception from the year after shows audiences how the mixing up of space is apparent in postmodern media. During ‘Inception’ the mind is opened or 'entered' into another world where things and places can be seen as more desirable than what is 'Real Life'. Ultimately human beings are entering a different ‘space’ entirely. This is unlike other films of the same genre. Moving back to ‘Inglorious Basterds’ Tarentinos work is also a great example of how style is more important than substance in postmodern film. Tarentino (as mentioned previously) ignores historical accuracy and instead focuses on what will look good when filmed. An example of this being the death of Hitler within his executive viewing box. Tarentino decided that rather than being accurate a nazi blood filled action sequence would look better. Another example is that all characters are always well turned out. An example being that Lt. Aldo Raine always appears to look perfect, this is hyper reality. Know one would look that good in a war zone.

These elements play a part in blurring the distinction between representation and reality. These comments are lifted from the sociologist George Ritzer and the statement has been supported by the French theorist Jean Baudrillard. He also agrees that surface image is now increasingly difficult to distinguish from reality and stated that there is ‘all surface and no depth’. This hyper reality is relevant as the audience now view images that cease to be rooted in reality and the postmodern elements that are used in the texts help enhance how time and space is manipulated. It has also been said that “post modernism requires a highly literate audience”. This statement comes from the original point made from Jacques Derrida. He believed that “The center is not the center. The concept of a centered structure…is contradictorily coherent. And, as always, coherence in contradiction expresses the force of desire.” Derrida believes that postmodern products must be dissected down from the centre to really understand and respect the product. An example of where this highly literate knowledge is needed when watching ‘Inglorious Basters’ would be in Chapter 5 ‘The Revenge of the Giant Face’ when David Bowies ‘Cat People (Putting out the Fire)’ is played over the flame infested death scene or in Chapter 1 “Once Upon a Time .... In Nazi Occupied France” when Col. Hands Landa pulls out his Sherlock Holmes esque pipe. If Tarentinos audience is not literate these references, homages and pastiches will not be noticed and the intended viewing experience is not achieved. Additionally Steve Neale stated that 'genres are instances of repetition and difference' and so you must therefore know what has been repeated and what has not. To be literate and dissect a postmodern text you must recognise links between the genre(s). With ‘Inglorious Basterds’ a large problem is created. Tarentino references and uses elements from so many different genres that it is nearly impossible for his audience to dissect the text. Tarentino uses conventions from a different genre for each chapter. Chapter 1 uses Spaghetti Westerns, 2 uses War films, 3 uses multiple German genres and 4 uses fairytales. The chance that an audience member has experience and knowledge of all of these genres is extremely slim and this therefore means that links can not be recognized and a true analysis can not be created. Staying with the point Deridda makes ‘the centre has no centre’ this meaning that there is no centre to a specific genre. The task can not be done properly if this is the case. The fact that most if not all audience members do not understand all of the references placed within the product big or small indicates that summarisation is a pointless exercise which will only confuse and mix genres in the future. Another statement made regarding postmodern manipulation of time and space in the past is Frederick Jameson’s opinion on ‘historical deafness’. He believes that things are taken out of context within postmodern texts and therefore lack meaning. An example of where this is apparent in ‘Inglorious Basterds’ as mentioned previously is the fantasised and more interesting death of Adolf Hitler. Jameson also believes that this then has a knock on effect toward the audiences historical knowledge and belief in the future. In relation to the Hitler example, the audience of Tarentinos film may begin to believe that he was killed in a theatre in a rather far fetched way. Another point Jameson makes is that there is a breakdown of distinction between high and low culture. He feels that before postmodern texts there was a divide between a low cultured elements and high cultured elements. Now he feels that audiences find it very difficult to draw a line between the two, this relates to the example mentioned previously with the use of Je Ne Regrette Rien played throughout ‘Inception’ to create the ‘kick’.

Frederick Jameson also states that the manipulation of space and time within postmodern texts also creates a feeling of depthlessness. He feels that postmodernism is pastiche because it is always humorously referencing itself in an ever-moving cycle. Where will it end? Maybe it wont? The best way to put this statement in to context would be by using ‘Inglorious Basterds’ once more. In future texts directors may decide to may homage to Tarentinos film. This homage may be used whilst not actually knowing that Tarentino had included that element as a pastiche to another text. Ultimately this would make the new text (post Tarentino) irrelevant and rather foolish. Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Inglorious Basterds’ manipulates time and space in a huge and very obvious way. Tarantino mixes references from different time periods to create his media product. One way this is done is by recreating scenes and imagery from other films. An example of this being in chapter 1 ‘Once upon a time .... in Nazi-occupied France when Tarantino recreates Robert Wises ‘The Sound of Music’. This example includes a pan of the scenery in which Colonel Hands Lander then bombards to interrogate. This example relates to Derridas point in which postmodernism requires highly literate audiences. Some within the audience may not relate to the pastiche link and therefore not interoperate what the director intended them too. A similar example to this is in the very same chapter when Colonel Hands Lander withdraws his pipe, which is a direct reference to Sherlock Holmes. This homage, once again, can be linked to Derridas comments in which he states the sometimes illiterate audience members will not link the the image and reference together, to understand what is meant to be understood. These are examples in which space is manipulated with postmodern film. The space and time being a farming village in ‘nazi occupied France‘ and the year of the war SHOULD not reference a film within a different genre link ‘The Sound Of Music‘ or from different time period being Holmes in Britain in the 20th century. In chapter 2 ‘Inglorious Basterds’ Tarantino references a personal favorite of his in ‘The Dirty Dozen’. The plot within the scene (a mission briefing to kill nazis) along with the scenery (a courtyard) create a direct homage to Robert Aldrich’s iconic picture. This homage could again back up Derrida’s comments regarding the constant need for a literate audience. A huge percentage of audience members will have not seen ‘The Dirty Dozen’ and again will therefore not relate to the in depth references. Space is manipulated here because genre is ultimately a space with a centre and a modernist view is that everything belongs in a space or genre. Tarentino challenges this because he uses multiple genres or references from multiple genres to create a film which can not really be defined in to one single ‘space’. Time is also challenged in ‘Inglorious Basterds’ as Tarentino uses references and genres from a range of different time periods all coming together to create a modern film for the masses. Another example of the manipulation of time and space within chapter 2 is through the use of hyper reality. Hyperreality is used in semiotics and postmodern philosophy to describe a hypothetical inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from fantasy. An example of where hyperreality is used within ‘Inglorious Basterds’ can be given in the form of Lieutenant Aldo Raine’s harsh Tennessee Accent and the overly eccentric Adolf Hitler interpretation. This use of hyperreality within the film blurs the audiences view of what was or is real. The audience may find that they think the accent portrayed by Pitt is the norm and that the historical figure that is Adolf Hitler did actually behave like he does in the film. This blurred vision of history and culture links to Frederick Jameson’s ‘historical deafness’

theory. In relation to this example Jameson would believe that the postmodern audience of Tarentino are receiving a fake and rather misleading interpretation of fact. The manipulation of time and space is evident as the director enjoys changing historical fact, wether that is dates or imagery throughout and to a rather large extent. This manipulation creates an overall untrue representation of the war. This is through fake looking scenes of violence, inaccurate plot lines and characters throughout the entire film. In chapter 3 ‘German Night in Paris’ Tarentino includes and references multiple genres. Again this subverting of genre changes the space and center which would usually be assigned to this type of film. Tarentino clearly pays homage to german cinema and George Paps in particular. The space within most films is defined by a genre, this is not the case within ‘Inglorious Basterds’. Each chapter within the film is a different style and forcefully a different genre. An example of this being the ‘once upon a time’ introduction to chapter 1 and the shoe/cinderella reference in chapter 4. These all relate to the fairytale genre. This common shift in genre again links to Derrida comments. If the film is not one specific genre then there is not centre and no centre creates difficulty when attempting to breakdown a text. When manipulating space Tarentino does not stick to rules. He purposely diverts to different genres to create a sense of hyperreality and the feeling of the entire product being fake. ‘Inglorious Basterds’ also uses music within his film to manipulate time and space. The choice of David Bowie’s - Cat People (Putting Out the Fire) in chapter 5 uses multiple time periods and collaborates them to create a ‘postmodern’ piece of work. Another example of where this is evident is a track named “I Wish I Were a Chicken” which was used within the film. This was a track first used within a German propaganda film. This is a huge manipulation of time, because at first Tarentino is mixing to completely different items together but in the second example he uses two products from a similar time but in a different context. Another postmodern film is Christopher Nolan’s ‘Inception’. Inception also includes a sense of hyper reality within its plot and imagery. During the film, the mind is opened or 'entered' into another world or reality which in ways can be seen as more desirable than what is 'Real Life'. Nolan makes this world have a different ‘space’ entirely with each world measuring ‘time’ differently. Within Inception it can also be stated that what the audience knows is not reality, instead the film is made as if it is in-fact real, and this is portrayed to to the audience in such a way that they then start to believe it is real. When making the film Nolan intended to make the audience start to question when they are 'dreaming', what the repercussions of them being in a ‘dream’ are and of there perception of reality to change. This use of hyperreality can be linked to comments made by theorist Jean Baudrillard. He stated that the surface image is now increasingly difficult to distinguish from reality and stated that there is ‘all surface and no depth’. Inception uses the manipulation of time and space to mess with the audiences mind and make a long lasting impact upon them. Space itself has been manipulated here because the audience begin to question weather they are in fact dreaming and wether they are in fact in the space they thought they were at the beginning of the film. There is also a huge amount of Intertextuality within Inception. This again challenging space. Lionel and Roger Penrose were the creators of the Penrose or Impossible staircase which is referenced within the film. The reference in the film expands on the point that anything is possible from within the dream, and that these dreams can be moulded or shaped by the Architect - In this case Lionel and Roger Penrose. Nolan makes it apparent that space can be controlled and disformed. There is also a scene within the film that

references a film in which Citizen Kane sees himself reflected in a number of mirrors. In the film Ariadne takes Cobb to a point on a bridge where she manipulates the setting and space by moving mirrors referencing the 'dream within a dream' concept as it suggests there are a number of different realities that reflect of just one. Nolan again messes with space as we and his audience know it. Nolan also references Ori Gherst and his art in one of the scenes in inception. This could also be said to be a homage to the iconic artist. The use of intertextual references within Inception again link with Derrida’s theory that postmodern audiences need a highly literate audience to understand what the director intends his/her audience to understand. The integration of genres is also apparent within Inception. It could be argued that Inception incorporates a number of genres within the film these genres include Action, Thriller, Adventure, Drama & Sci - Fi. This is down to a number of certain elements that are commonly associated with these specific genres. An example of this being the countdown countdown or time period in which a mission or task must be completed can be typically associated to an action/thriller film and is also evident within the Inception plot. The characters find that that they only have a certain amount of time within each dream state. This example links to the theory that “We know the 'center' as genre”. Steve Neale has declared that 'genres are instances of repetition and difference' this meaning that the audience must therefore know what is repeated and what is changed. In relation to the manipulation of time and space Nolan mixes norms from different spaces (genres) to make one jumbled up multi genre space. This allows the film not be categorised and be seen as different to anything else that has been produced. When looking at the future of modern texts there are two sides to an argument. One is positive and one is negative. On the positive side postmodern texts will most likely continue to make its way in to mainstream culture like it has started to in recent times. Blockbusters and modern TV shows are now very post modern. The overpopulated post modern culture will allow more interesting texts to be created and genres to be merged. I think that a positive to postmodern texts is that a more creative way of working is available wether that is though bricolage from different time periods together or creating something special with products from the same society. This new type of product brings something new to the audience which without it they would not experience. There are also negatives involved with the future of postmodernity. Postmodern texts will be produced to a great number however there is a good chance people will no longer realise they are making a postmodern product. Instead products will include intertextual references which had already been referenced before. This will ultimately make any reference irrelevant and possibly against the original reference. This will also make it even harder for audience to understand what is being meant within the text. A clear negative to postmodern texts is historical deafness. If post modern texts overpopulate, audience will struggle to find fact in modern culture. They will struggle to understand what is fact and what is fiction. Ultimately future audiences may only be involved in texts which are fiction and so no fact can be gathered.

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