A Journey of Spectacle between London and Shanghai: (An)Other Hermeneutics of Spectacle

Huang, Gang. 2018. A Journey of Spectacle between London and Shanghai: (An)Other Hermeneutics of Spectacle. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis is aimed at exploring a different interpretation of the spectacle. The existing literature is based on Situationism and the Frankfurt School’s interpretation within which the society of spectacle is demonstrated to not only visually encapsulate the subjects in an enchanting commodification but also restrict the perceptual experiences to regular boredom through such repetitive and exclusive rendition. This criticism rests on a Hegelian and Marxist reading and suggests that the alienating and un-lifelike phantasmagoria of commodification haunts people's daily lives and subjugates the personal struggle that emancipates the subject from being reified in alienation to being unitary in intimacy. The dialectical negation imposed upon the spectacle is challenged in this work by a divergent hermeneutics, which relocates the spectacle in an epistemological complex drawing inspiration from Bataille’s general economy of excess expenditure, Foucault/Deleuze's genealogy, Benjamin's historiography, Barthesian semiological analysis, and Baudrillard’s hyperreal simulacra. Illuminated by this different hermeneutics, the spectacle is rather a kind of unproductive expenditure, which is heterogeneous to dissipate the excess restrictively exuded from the homogeneous mechanism of production in utility as irreducible to realistic production. Thus, the society of spectacle is not negative to the productive mechanism but inhabits it to have incapacity wherein an unreserved play of images is restricted by utility and territorialised fragmentarily by different political-sociological milieus to prohibit the channel of excess towards an unconditional expenditure as an unruly and destructive torrent. The solution is to blur and transgress the restriction, rather than negate it, whereby to fuse the prohibited and the allowed in restriction as a visual hybridity of incompatibilities. Then, a journey of spectacle between London and Shanghai is a concrete method of substantiating this visual fusion as an experiential and incommensurable distribution that drifts between different spatiotemporal fragments on the surface of multiple images. This optical disparity is not restricted to a bourgeois-ruled phantasmagoria but transgressive to uncover time flow to recollect and merge the hidden and accursed heterogeneities outpoured from revolution.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

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Political/social theory and cultural studies, or interdisciplinary studies between critical theory and politics

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28 February 2018

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Date Deposited:

16 Mar 2018 10:28

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2022 17:13



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