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More than Fifteen Minutes of Fame

The Changing Face of Screen Performance


Ken Miller

More than Fifteen Minutes of Fame tracks screen performance’s trajectory from dominant discourses of realism and authenticity towards increasingly acute degrees of self-referentiality and self-reflexivity. Exploring the symbiotic relationship between changing forms of onscreen representation and our shifting status as social subjects, the book provides an original perspective through international examples from cinema, experimental production, documentary, television, and the burgeoning landscape of online screen performance. In an emerging culture of participatory media, the creation of a screen-based presence for our own performances of identity has become a currency through which we validate ourselves as subjects of the contemporary, hyper-mediatized world. In this post-dramatic, post-Warhol climate, the author’s contention is that we are becoming increasingly wedded to screen media – not just as consumers but as producers and performers.


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CHAPTER SIX: Performances of Mediatized Actuality 221


221 CHAPTER SIX Performances of Mediatized Actuality So far in this book, we have been exploring the idea that performance — especially media/screen performance — has become a major point of focus for how we now see ourselves in the world. We have become attuned to the idea that all behaviours are types of performances. Theoretical ideas of social performativity have made significant incur- sions into popular discourse, with the notion that we perform particu- lar versions/aspects of ourselves depending upon social context now commonplace. Beyond this, it could reasonably be argued that we live in such a performance-driven culture, that the need to show is now every bit as important as the need to be. This performance-driven culture is also a media-saturated one and, as a consequence, our own social behaviours/performances are strongly influenced by the myriad of media performances that surround us. Due to the ubiquitous pres- ence of media in our lives, along with an emphasis on the need to show who we are to others, it is apparent that the idea of having a media presence, and an audience to our performances, is an increas- ingly significant mode of validation in a culture that places such em- phasis on recognition, branding and celebrity. The performance of actors in fictional roles (especially in the cin- ema) has traditionally been the primary arena for thinking about screen performance, including our emotional engagement and/or iden- tification with actors, and the ways in which our relationship to celeb- rity and stardom fuels...

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