Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill

Well, last night I went to see ‘The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny’ by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, as part of the ROH Live sees… so beamed in to my local cinema. I was surprised to see about 50 people there. I think people travel quite a way to come to these events.

Anyway it was a fascinating production of an opera that satirises opera and follows the building and collapse of a society based on consumerism. First performed in 1930 but unnervingly familiar in 2015....

Anyway, apart from it being ‘enjoyable’… (Christine Rice’s voice is astounding!… rich chocolate sauce) I did notice several musical references in the score.Kurt Weil is well know for mixing all styles in his music from Jazz to we’ll anything really but I was fairly sure ( not completely ‘cos I’m not a classical music authority) that I spotted nods to ‘ The Humming Chorus from Madame Butterfly, the final chorus of the released prisoners from Fidelio,and maybe a hint of Bach Passion or some other choral work….Mozart, Verdi?

These would fit with the satirisation of the common themes of opera… romantic love and being saved by God…. none of that here! Any, how I thought Gosh! remediation of old material… but does this count if it is a direct and satirical reference…. not sure…. does it matter.?….. Also,  Brecht liked the stage being visible as a stage so the opera is obviously ‘not real’ life. I think he called it ‘ alienation’ so that the audience recognise their separateness from the stage and their status as observer.

So this fits with the concept of hyper mediation and is used as a way of making the audience think rather than be absorbed and escape into immediacy … same as with video, cinema etc…. of course it would be as theatre came first…

It worked really well and had been exploited by the director who also used live projection of video of the death of Jimmy (emulating a crucifixion/electrocution) on to the scenery  to emphasise the sense of separation and also, voyeurism.

In the videos I have begun making at The Reading Room ( see example below)  I have allowed the occasional movement of the camera to be seen, sudden re -focus and camera operator and motor sounds etc to make it clear that there is a camera and observer and to reduce the immediacy, so it was interesting to see the above  and be aware of it other ways of achieving a similar thing.

See descriptions below.

Immediacy, Remediation, Hypermediation

By Roman Broberg and Lawrence Elezovic

Digital Imagining 1

Professor Claudia Jacques

December 12, 2012

Highlights of Immediacy: -The ability to immediately differentiate the scenery and objects in the picture with no confusion and to be in an immediate relationship with the contents of a medium.

-Has manifested itself significantly different from the Renaissance to the present day.

-Immediacy is also at work in two-and three-dimensional images projected on to traditional computer, film, or television screens.

Highlights of Hypermediacy: -In digital media today, the practice of Hypermediacy is most evident in the “window style” of the World Wide Web pages, the desktop interface, multimedia programs, and video games.

It is a visual style that “privileges fragmentation, indeterminacy, and heterogeneity and emphasizes process or performance rather than the finished art object.” (William J. Mitchell)

Remediation: -Remediation is when the content of a work has been borrowed, but the medium has not been appropriated or quoted to remake an older work.

-Always operates under the current cultural assumptions about immediacy and hypermediacy.

-The digital medium can be more aggressive in its remediation. It can try to refashion the older medium or media entirely, while still marking the presence of the older media and therefore maintaining a sense of multiplicity or hypermediacy.

Concept/Topic: Immediacy: The quality of bringing one into direct and instant involvement with something.

Remediation: is the incorporation or representation of one medium in another medium. The remediation of old content to new content.

Hypermediation: Media being affected by other types of media excessively. Ex. A web page (Text, images, sound, video…)

Media is constantly changing and affecting other types of media, causing the creation of new types of media.

Example at 6 seconds

Also  The Nether by Jennifer Haley  looks good and friend Andrea says so too!

Looking at themes of identity and morality in the digital world, I believe…..


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