First Published in 1995. Much of recent theory has characterized life in media-sophisticated societies in terms of a semiotic overload which, allegedly, has had only devastating effects on communication and subjectivity. In Architectures of Excess, Jim Collins argues that, while the rate of technological change has indeed accelerated, so has the rate of absorption. The seemingly endless array of information has generated not chaos but different structures and strategies, which harness that excess by turning it into forms of art and entertainment. Digital sampling in rap music and cyber-punk science fiction are well-known examples of techno-pop textuality, but Collins concentrates on other contemporaneous phenomena that are also envisioning new cultural landscapes by accessing that array--hyper-self-reflexivity in mall movies, best sellers, and prime-time television; the deconstructive vs. new-classical debate in architecture; the emergence of the "New Black Aesthetic;" the development of retro-modernism in interior design and the fashion industries. The analyses of these disparate, discontinous attempts to develop a meaningful sense of location, in an historical as well as a spatial sense, address a cluster of interconnected questions: How is the array of information being "domesticated?" How has appropriationism evolved from the Pop-Art of the sixties to the sampling of the nineties? How has the relationship between tradition, innovation, and evaluation been altered? Architectures of Excess investigates how these phenomena reflect change in taste and subjectivity, considering how we must account for both, pedagogically.
Table of Contents
Introduction After the End of Early Postmodernism, The Pragmatics of Excess, Home, Home on the Array, Cultural Geography and Ethnographic Mapping,or chacun à son theme park, Taking Time, English Music and Afro-Baroque Blues, Heal Estate is Not Reality, Figurative Mapping and Speculative Subjectivity 2 Appropriating Like Crazy, From Pop Art to Meta-Pop, Mickey is Taken to the Museum, Cindy Goes to the Movies, We Won't Play Other to Your Culture 3 When the Legend Becomes Hyperconscious, Print the..., 4 Retro-Modernism Taste Cartographies in the Nineties 5 Authority, Partiality, Pedagogy
Jim Collins is Associate Professor in the Department of Communications and Theatre at the University of Notre Dame.