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Title: ‘Nostalgia-tinted spectacles’ : image and memory across multiple media
Authors: Bugeja, Giulia
Keywords: Postmodernism (Literature)
Photography, Artistic
Communication in art
Issue Date: 2014
Abstract: Building on Fredric Jameson’s theoretical reference to ‘nostalgia-tinted spectacles’, this dissertation poses the question as to whether the image can evoke a sense of nostalgia. This enquiry into the relationship between the image and nostalgia seeks to investigate, not only whether the collective image can create personal nostalgia within the viewer, but also the role of the image in relation to nostalgia when presented across different media. As a result, the dissertation will question the role of the image across its relationship to nostalgia as well as the significance of nostalgia as a means of eliciting participation, as the image presents itself as a form of participatory art. Such an examination of the relationship between the image and nostalgia situated within different media also necessitates an analysis of the image in the context of the early twentieth century and of that of the contemporary age, in order to contrast and compare the image across time and media. Accordingly, the image will be examined in the form of photographic film through the case study of Kodak and will be analysed as a part of social media through an analysis on Instagram. In order to do so, Vilém Flusser’s view on photography and memory is set at the foundation of such an analysis. The theoretical work of Linda Hutcheon on nostalgia in ‘Irony, Nostalgia, and the Postmodern’(1998) will also be analysed in order to study the commercialisation of nostalgia. Roland Barthes’s study on the photographic image in Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography (1982) will be contrasted to Jameson’s study on the cultural representation of nostalgia in ‘Nostalgia for the Present’ (1991) in order to contrast subjective and collective nostalgia. Nicolas Bourriaud’s philosophies of participatory art in Relational Aesthetics (2002) will be applied in order to examine the response needed for the evocation of nostalgia. Whilst the objectives set into play through these main objectives centre around nostalgia and media, the scientific angle of memory or the affordances of each media will not be investigated. An overview of the dissertation will be presented in Chapter One, which defines nostalgia within the context of the dissertation, as well as examines the research questions, the parameters and the case studies. The initial focus which centres on the relationship between the image and nostalgia, with particular reference to different media, personal memory and participation art, will be explored. By setting Kodak as the basis of Chapter Two, an attempt will be made to demonstrate the relationship between the image and nostalgia across photographic film. The theoretical approaches discussed in Chapter One will be applied to Kodak as the advertising campaigns employed by the company will be analysed. In doing so, the chapter will seek to examine whether the collective images used in Kodak advertising generated a sense of nostalgia within the consumer as the customer attempts to recreate a sense of nostalgia through the personal image. In its analysis of Instagram, Chapter Three will analyse the theoretical discourse of Bourriaud across such new media platforms and evaluate the ways in which new media, such as Instagram, attempt to produce nostalgia through the photographic image. In this respect, the thesis will focus on the ways in which new media relies on the participation of their users and whether users’ participation in providing personal images creates nostalgia within the collective. By centring its inquiry on the marketing campaigns of companies within the photography industry, Chapter Four will assess whether different media forms can produce nostalgia within the directed audience, and compare and contrast the ways in which both Kodak and Instagram use the concept of nostalgia as one of their main focuses to elicit participation. As a result, the question whether the evocation of nostalgia can elicit participation within various media forms will be explored with respect to the above case studies. Accordingly an attempt is made to study the relationship of the image and nostalgia across society, history and culture in order to investigate nostalgia as a tool of commercialisation across different media.
Description: M.A.ENGLISH
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArt - 2014
Dissertations - FacArtEng - 2014

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