The Changing Face of Screen Performance
CHAPTER FOUR: The Self-Reflexive (Screen) Performing Subject 133
133 CHAPTER FOUR The Self-Reflexive (Screen) Performing Subject It is becoming increasingly difficult to separate ourselves from the media images and performances that surround us. Not only are these images and performances largely responsible for how we see the world, but it also sometimes seems that our own behaviours and re- sponses have become little more than their mirrored reflections. The increasingly seductive presence of media in our lives is rapidly dis- solving the boundaries between the real world and the virtual universe of media representation. The fact that we are now so thoroughly and ineluctably connected to media screens and networks suggests that this corrosion of the boundary between the real and the virtual has reached a critical point. It is important to bear in mind, however, that this is not an entirely new development that suddenly confronts us in the digital age of broadband, interactivity, and media convergence. While there are important distinctions to be made between our more or less passive experience of analogue media such as broadcast televi- sion and our interactions with screens in the digital present, some key thinking from the second half of the twentieth century about the im- pact of media still resonates strongly. In this context, we will briefly turn to the work of two French thinkers, Guy Debord and Jean Baudrillard, whose key works (in the 1960s and 1980s respectively) demonstrate their considerable foresight about our developing rela- tionship to media. Seduction by Spectacle — Guy Debord In 1967, Guy Debord...
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