Haley Allen- Quiz #3

Posted: November 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

absolute vodkaIn this week’s reading by Kalle Lasn, Lasn discusses society’s “spectacular” level of commodity consumption and hype. In the article, Lasn describes the Situationists’ notion of the “spectacle” of modern life. This spectacle covers almost every facet our lives. It is this “spectacle” of the object that conceals the truth. It is the way we cover up the flaws and underlying issues and implications of something for the purpose of making it something spectacular for sale. You can see this idea of the spectacle in almost every single advertisement in today’s society. Advertising is about putting on a show, putting on a creative front, which shows off the product in the best way possible with hopes that people will be attracted to it and purchase it. By putting on a fancy display, the underlying implications of that object/product are concealed and hidden as we are distracted by the spectacle and fluff that is presented within the advertisement.
To Lasn, culture jamming is the idea of stopping the flow of the spectacle and showing a new path to how things could be/ should be. When reading this article the absolute vodka advertisement and its culture jamming counterpart came to mind. In the original advertisement the product is made to see glamorous and spectacular, using words such as “homage” to declare the decadence and honor of this product. In the advertisement we can see martini glasses bowing down to the bottle of alcohol, showing “homage” (or public honor and respect) to the product. This is an example of the spectacle. The product is creatively made to seem like something so special and amazing, something that should be publicly honored and respected, when if reality this idolization of the alcohol is all a result of creative and carefully planned marketing strategies. In the second image we see the culture jamming. This image shows the bottle of absolute vodka bent over and looking “deflated,” with the words absolute impotence written under it. This culture jamming was done by a health company that wanted to demonstrate the health risks associated with this product. The original image conceals this hidden truth of the product through its spectacle while the culture jamming demonstrates a brief break from that spectacle, revealing the underlying truths of the object. These images show both the spectacle of commodity that Lasn discusses as well as the culture jamming that gradually breaks down the spectacle. I believe that advertisements use the notion of the “spectacle” to hide the unattractive features of a product for the purpose of sales. Culture jamming is used to break down what is constructed by the spectacle, revealing the truths and unfavourable attributes of products/objects that have been concealed.

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