Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Three Upcoming Book Chapters: Pink Floyd, Anti-Production, Urban ‘Situations’

Hey You: Subjectivity and the ideological/repressive state apparatuses in Pink Floyd’s The Wall

This chapter examines the representations of Louis Althusser’s state apparatuses in the album lyrics and film of Pink Floyd’s The Wall. By considering Althusser’s discussion on the repressive apparatuses (for example: the army and the courts) and the ideological ones (such as the family, education and communication), the author critiques how, in The Wall, they operate on the subjectivity of the protagonist Pink and how this leads him to an existential crisis.

In his 1970 essay, Ideology and the Ideological State Apparatuses, Althusser provides us with a useful allegory to explain how the individual becomes a subject by offering us a situation whereby a person in the street is “hailed” by a policeman. “’Hey, you there!’”, the shout rings out, and the hailed person turns towards the call: “By this mere one-hundred-and-eighty-degree physical conversion, he becomes a subject” (Althusser 1970). However, Althusser explains that the individual is “always-already” a subject and that “ideology has no outside”, providing us with the example of the child in the womb who will be assigned the surname of her/his father even before birth (ibid.).

In The Wall we are not only taken through Pink’s life in flashback, but we are also made aware of the various repressive and ideological structures that have formed him as the individual we see in front of us. The Wall provides us with an insight into Pink’s psyche, making connections between the state apparatuses and their influence on him. Pink’s journey – his attempts to unshackle himself from the apparatuses and his ways of coping by creating repressive structures of his own - demonstrates the tension between conformity and freedom, leading the viewer/listener to question if anything that resembles a free subject can ever exist. This chapter discusses Pink’s subjectivity in the context of these apparatuses in regard to ideological recognition and the consequences of a rejection of that interpellation.

Book: Pink Floyd: A Multi-Disciplinary Understanding of a Global Music Brand

Psy(co)motion: Anti-Production and détournement in affective musical cartographies

This chapter discusses the musical compilation series Psy(co)motion in the context of a schizocartographic analysis. It introduces the set of psychogeographically-oriented CDs within the mix-tape/CD phenomenon while situating it as a form that challenges ossified systems of power. Considering concepts such as aesthetics and affect, the mix CD series uses Félix Guattari’s theories concerned with production, singularization and reterritorialization. The chapter goes on to discuss whether Psy(co)motion manages to successfully recuperate itself through the molecular creation of the object, and via its virtual and physical dissemination.

Book: Non-Representational Theory and the Creative Arts

Creating a Situation in the City: Embodied spaces and the act of crossing boundaries

This chapter addresses the history of what appears under the general term of ‘urban critique’ in its many incarnations, such as the flâneur, psychogeography, place-hacking, DIY urbanism, guerrilla urbanism and urban exploration. Going back to the late 19th century flâneur of the Paris arcades, there is a lineage of urban critique characterised by the act of placing one’s body into the space under examination as a way of understanding the dynamics that operate on both a material and abstract level. Urban space is a mediated space that enables a form of reflexivity to take place when the individual engages with it in a critical way. This affective process allows a form of rewriting of the space to occur, such that it is momentarily changed to fit the subjectivity of the specific individual who is placing it under scrutiny. This process can be undertaken and expressed in multiple ways depending on the approach taken by the person or group. Nevertheless, what is consistent across these alternative methods is a challenge to the taken-for-granted view that urban space is just empty space surrounded by the built environment – something that is immovable, and yet also innocuous.

By providing examples of the different forms of contemporary urban critique, the discussion will focus on how some people actively seek to question the way urban space is manifest and why it appears the way it does. It will examine the methods used, the types of questions asked and the different outputs of the practices themselves. By providing examples of contemporary practices and forms of urban critique, this chapter will look at their underlying philosophy and will review how successful they are in their objective.

Book: The Routledge Companion to Urban Media and Communication

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