IAFOR Journal of Media, Communication & Film: Volume 5 – Issue 1
Editor: Dr Celia Lam, University of Nottingham Ningbo, China
Published: August 17, 2018
Guest Editor’s Introduction
This fifth issue of the IAFOR Journal of Media, Communication & Film features contributions from multiple disciplines and nations from around the globe, and reflects upon the concept of reality.
From Plato and Aristotle to Bazin and Baudrillard, reality and realism have been topics of reflection, debate, articulation and re-articulation in (among other fields) philosophy, media, communication, and film. Photographers and documentary filmmakers, theorists, and writers have pondered the indexical connections between image and mechanical reproduction; the construction of subjective reality; and the attempt to capture reality. In contemporary journalism “fake news” is a topic of (occasionally politicized) discussion. While television genres capitalise on a “reality” that is often more akin to fiction than fact. The articles in this issue present ruminations on the notion of reality in television, film, music, and literature.
The issue starts its exploration of reality with two articles that reflect upon the intersection between notions of reality and the production and consumption of texts. “Documenting the (Un)official Kevin Carter Narrative: Encyclopedism, Irrealism, and Intimization in House of Leaves” explores the ways in which the novel House of Leaves finds stability within interconnections of the (unstable and) numerous paratexts of the novel. Adopting critical theory and documentary theory, the article posits the reader’s relationship with the text to be one that transcends boundaries between fiction and fact, and one that is grounded in belief. In a context when realism is a construct (as documentary theory argues), belief becomes central to the coherence of the text as well as anchoring it between official-unofficial and fiction-nonfiction binaries. In “Reality of Trap: Trap Music and its Emancipatory Potential”, trap music which originated in the South of America becomes a lens through which to reflect upon the “reality” of late capitalism. Adopting the perspectives of Foucault, Mbembe, Balibar, Marx, Moretti, and Deleuze and Guattari, the article argues for the emancipatory potential of identification with trap music, through which Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of “becoming-minoritarian” can find expression.
The next two articles explore the relationship between fiction film and reality. “Whose Story is This? The Non-existence of The External Gaze in David Lynch’s Films” attempts to locate the relative viewing position of the audience of Lynch’s films. It argues that, in a Lynchian universe, attempts to seek truth and reality through an external gaze is futile as the construction of Lynch’s films highlight and reveal the artificial nature of material reality. Exploring the view of the audience thus exposes the lack of boundaries between fictional and material reality, and the subjectivity of the experience of reality. Conversely, the material world is considered a forceful presence in the article “The Chronicle of Yerevan Days: Spatial Representation and Authentic Realism”, which examines the mediation of the city space and its impact on the narrative. Through the integration of “documentary narration” of the physical spaces of buildings and streets, the article argues that the real city gains agency as a character within the film, as well as infusing the action and (fictional) characters with a form of historical, cultural, and emotional authenticity.
Finally, two articles explore the presentation and representation of elements of reality on television. “Metaconsumption, Convergence and Stylization in the “Real” Teens of Laguna Beach” examines the portray of the real in the reality series Laguna Beach, arguing that the stylization of consumption in the series evokes the metaconsumption of a convergence culture, ultimately serving to reinforce the reality of the series’ cast and the believability of their actions. Finally, “Sexualization of the Journalism Profession: TV Representation of Female Journalists’ Intellect, Labor, and Bodies” examines the representation of female journalists in the television series House of Cards and The Following, analysing the ways in which mediated representations of women in the profession contributes to the gendering and sexualisation of female journalists in “reality”. Through thematic content analysis, the article argues that femininity, sexuality, and the bodies of the characters appear at the core of discourses of female journalists, and considers the implications of such representation on the journalistic profession.
The IAFOR Journal of Media, Communication & Film is an internationally reviewed and editorially independent interdisciplinary journal associated with IAFOR’s international conferences on media, communication and film. Like all IAFOR publications, it is freely available to read online, and is free of publication fees for authors. The first issue was published in August 2013, and the journal continues to publish annually. The Publication Timeline for 2019 and theme of the next issue will be announced in November 2018.
Dr Celia Lam
IAFOR Journal of Media, Communication & Film