The 7th Principle of Mass Media is, A new mass media technology will initially borrow the content and imitate the conventions of the mass medium that is currently dominant in a society. As the technology advances, the new medium will consume the older medium, turning it into content. This principle and the media text produced in this manner is what is called Necro-Media. This post features some examples of Necro-Media.
While exploring posts from fellow photography bloggers, I came across some tagged as Polamatic. The Polamatic app enables you to convert your phone shots into a retro aesthetic that turns the shot into a composition that has the features and qualities of an old Polaroid picture. I have some experience producing the Polaroid look, and PaintShop Pro imaging software includes a simple Polaroid frame effect which allows for the creation of Polaroid Transfer effects. As a challenge and an experiment, I used two shots I had taken at the local bowling alley, when my daughter was participating in the weekly Special Olympics bowling night. I tried to emulate as closely as possible the frame & look produced by a Polamatic app. It took a bit of time to create & modify the frames, and the viewer can judge for themselves these first attempts.
Let’s now consider how this all fits in with the concept of Necro-Media. To begin with, the app itself is such an example. The app allows the user to take digital photographs with their phone and turn them into digital representations of old Polaroid pictures. The Mass Media technology allows the user to imitate the codes and conventions of an earlier medium, Polaroid Photography. What I attempted in my experiment was to use other software to imitate the app. In one sense I was just doing the same thing as the app, so that is an example of the same type of Necro-Media. In another way, I was applying the principle to the app itself, by trying to emulate the Polamatic app’s features, including the use of dirt/scratches/folds and colourful text font. The final compositions are Necro-Media of Necro-Media.
The Steppin’ Out title for the first composition, brought to mind the classic jazz/swing standard, Steppin’ Out With My Baby, composed by Irving Berlin in 1948 and first performed by Fred Astaire in the movie, Easter Parade. I selected the 1993 video of Tony Bennet ‘s rendition of the song.
The music video was very successful at the time of its release. Helping to bring Bennett to the attention of a much younger generation, it established him as an elder statesman of a passing generation of entertainers. It formed a bridge bridge between very different times. We can see this video composition as both a homage to the past, and as an example of Necro-Media.
The first obvious component is the use of B&W to emulate the old classic Fred & Ginger movie musicals of the 1930s. The choice of wardrobe combines the Fred & Ginger style with elements of the contemporary look of when the video was released. The choice of camera angles, distances and staging also plays homage to the past. The mix of the older tap dancer ( could not find his name ) and the younger contemporary black dancers widens the target audience, while acknowledging the past and visually reflecting how much has changed in both the American entertainment industry & society.
As the technology advances, the new medium will consume the older medium, turning it into content. This is both figuratively and literally true in this video. Besides all the aesthetic imitation and use of codes and conventions, take note of what is included in the limited number of props. Included were, the early phonograph with the horn amplifier, the large records, the microphones included both 1930s nightclub that Bennett walks up to begin singing and a close-up of a radio studio microphone. The later goes with the old radio being tuned . The other technological prop was the fan typical of the early movies as a symbol of emotional heat and cool music.
Mass Media technology and the forms of media it generates are constantly changing and adapting. New art forms are created and old one respond to the impact, some adapt while others disappear, still others become specialty forms of art and communication. The recent changes in the WordPress Reader demonstrate this, but that is for another post. So now I will conclude & post this analysis; let’s see how it looks on the Reader.