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MAD MEN: between historical fiction, transmedial world & pop-culture phenomenon

Presentation @ Transmedial Worlds in Convergent Media Culture. Winter School at the Graduate Academy of the University of Tübingen, Feb. 24-28, 2014
by

Sebastian Armbrust

on 1 June 2015

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Transcript of MAD MEN: between historical fiction, transmedial world & pop-culture phenomenon

MAD MEN
Between historical fiction, transmedial world[?] & pop-culture phenomenon
Introduction
Implications
Sebastian Armbrust
sebastian.armbrust@uni-hamburg.de

Transmedial Worlds winter school
Tübingen, February 24-28, 2014
Challenges:
Social media content for MAD MEN
Marketing for primary product
Character driven drama (plot-centered, cf. MLR)
Period drama w/ historical references
TM Content that does not
adapt
expand
modify the storyworld (cf. JNT)
but references the storyworld for other purposes
(casual consumption, user participation)
MAD MEN Storyworld & TM Extensions
Historical
references

Existing media content
Contemporary
culture

Social Media
extensions

Remediation
Historical events
e.g., election and assassination of
J.F. Kennedy:
TV and radio material
mainly auditory
visuals focus on reactions
Fictionalized historical
advertising campaigns
1960s social mores
1960s fashion
& design
Bolter/Grusin:
How media draw upon other media
and their ways of mediation
Here:
How existing content is repurposed,
and reshaped by the logic of the
new medium,
i.e.: serial tv drama | social media etc.
MAD MEN

in social media marketing
MAD MEN
actual world campaigns
& cultural impact
AskMen.com
MAD MEN
party tips
& fan
performances
exhibited on the web
MAD Me
mes
#draping
scandalization of 1960s mores
vs. nostalgia
Mad Men ... suffers from a hypocrisy of its own.
...a kind of dramatic having your cake and eating it, too: even as it invites us to be shocked by what it’s showing us (...) it keeps eroticizing what it’s showing us, too.

Daniel Mendelsohn
In: The New York Review of Books

Experiencing Transmedial Worlds:
Worldness = Experiential quality?
stories are accounts of what happened to particular people -- and of
what it was like
for them to experience what happened
in particular circumstances
and with specific consequences
understanding how
characters feel and why
(incl. enjoyment of negative emotions & tragedy)
experiencing
positive
qualities associated with the show in actual world performances inspired by the show
experiencing
positive
qualities associated with particular media practices drawing upon elements of the show/transmedia world
(Herman: Basic Elements, p. 2, 14)
(cf. Fludernik)
Lookalikes & social media comments
Double logic:
reference vs. sense
Media
text
References to
fictional world
actual world
(historical, contemporary)
Qualities, evaluations, emotions associated with the referent (F/A)
abstract reference points,
intersubjectively recognized
meanings, subject to cultural, individual, medium-specific, and situational interpretation
-> reference & sense (Bedeutung & Sinn, G. Frege)
denotation & connotation (J. S. Mill)
Adaptation?
Extension?
Modification?
References to MAD MEN storyworld w/o primary purpose to develop storyworld or universe
UGC
etc.

Negotiation
specific media modalities,
specific functions
visual:
verbal:
eroticization, nostalgia
evocation of character attitudes, mores,
scandalization
TV Drama Worldness:
Norms > History and Topography
mythos
topos
ethos
(Klastrup/Tosca)
1960s events and backstory
social mores
+ Behavioral patterns (-> character identity)
+ Social norms (-> contextualization of behavior)
+ Aesthetics
Medial norms or
modes of representation
Norms of cultural uses of referential artifacts
Storyworld norms
Normative domains
storytelling sytem | abstract content system?
blueprints for situations that involve world-specific norms
Full transcript