Tuesday, April 5, 2011


12" As a Medium Techno: From Youth Culture to Cultural Constitution
Lily Galef

This article, published in Nettime Magazine in 1998, attempts to trace Techno music from its origins as a 'fad' in youth culture to what the author, Mercedes Bunz, terms 'Cultural Constitution'. Bunz asserts that because Techno was regarded as a fad, it was not given attention and therefore was able to grow into a part of society. The most unique aspect of techno, which Bunz uses as evidence that it has become a cultural constitution, is the fact that the artists are insignificant. Techno music is not a medium through which individuals can express themselves, it is pure art, with "no perpetrator behind the art".

Key Terms:
"Hiding in the Light": termed by Dick Hebdige, referring to the phenomenon of Techno being regarded as a fad, which actually fostered its growth into a cultural constitution.
Cultural Constitution: Techno being a 'cultural constitution' implies that it has become a part of society. It bridges the gap between highbrow culture and subculture and "offers us a new view of culture".

Mallarmè and La Dernier Mode

Lily Galef

This scholarly book, written by P.N Furbank and Alex Cain, is a translation of the Fashion Magazine La Dernier Mode, which was written, edited by, and created by Stephane Mallarme. The introduction, which we read for today, gives a brief summary of Mallarme's literary career and then mainly focuses on La Dernier Mode. He is mainly known for being an ironic and enigmatic poet in search of "l'oeuvre pure, yet the focus of this book is on his much lesser known work with La Dernier Mode. The book poses the question of why, "such a work of genius has received very little attention". The only other scholarly work on this subject noted by these authors is Jean-Pierre Leclercle's Mallarme et la mode, published in 1989.

Mallarme was the main contributor for the fashion magazine, yet he wrote all of his articles under different pseudonyms. The authors here discuss his love of decorative art, yet his strong criticism of its inability to innovate in his time. One of the most interesting aspects of this introduction is the comparison the authors make between Mallarme's interpretations of fashion and those of his contemporaries. The three main contemporaries are Gautier, Bauldelaire, and Barthes. The most interesting contrast made by these authors is how the these three poets were simply critics of fashion, whereas Mallarme explored it from the inside.

The concluding paragraphs of this chapter discuss Mallarme's motivations for starting the fashion magazine. The authors analyze Lecercle's interpretation and conclude that it is half right in its assumption that he created the magazine to "create a desperate hunger for poetry". The authors also analyze Dragonetti's interpretation that Mallarme's creation of La Dernier Mode had nothing to do with fashion at all, but had deeper literary meaning. The authors conclude that this interpretation is wrong, and biased by Dragonetti's disbelief that Mallarme could possible be interested in fashion. What struck me most about this chapter was the implication that fashion is something modern and intellectual that is worth analysis by some of the greatest minds of the nineteenth century.

Key Terms:
"Paradox of the New": The concept that fashion changes each year, yet stays the same within that year.

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