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Theodor W. Adorno - Wikipedia
[Section on standardization]

"The phenomenon of standardization is “a concept used to characterize the formulaic products of capitalist-driven mass media and mass culture that appeal to the lowest common denominator in pursuit of maximum profit” (Laughey:2007:204). It would suggest that in today’s modern society (edited in 2012), according to Adorno we inhabit a media culture driven society in which one of its main characteristics is product consumption. Mass media is employed to vehicle message about products and services to consumers in order to convince these individuals to purchase the commodity they are advertising. Standardization consists of the production of large amounts of commodities to then pursue consumers in order to gain the maximum profit possible.

They do this by, as mentioned above, individualising products to give the illusion to consumers that they are in fact purchasing a product or service that was specifically designed for them: Adorno highlights the issues created with the construction of popular music. Where different samples of music used in the creation of today’s chart topping songs, are put together in order to create, re-create and modify numerous tracks by using the same variety of samples from one song to another. He distinguishes the difference between “Apologetic music” & “Critical music”. Apologetic music is defined as the highly produced and promoted music of the “pop music” industry: music that is composed of variable parts and interchanged to create several different songs. “The social and psychological functions of popular music [is that it] acts like a social cement (Adorno, 1990)’ to keep people obedient and subservient to the status quo of existing power structures.” (Laughey:2007:125)[53]

Whereas serious music, according to Adorno, achieves excellence when its whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The example he chooses to expose is that of Beethoven’s symphonies: “[his] greatness shows itself in the complete subordination of the accidentally private melodic elements to the form as a whole”. (Laughey:2010:125)

Standardization not only refers to the products of the culture industry but to the consumers as well: consumers are daily, numerous times a day, being bombarded by media advertising. Being pushed and shoved into consuming products and services being presented to them by the media system. The masses have become conditioned by the culture industry: which makes the impact of standardization much more important. By not realizing the impact of social media and commercial advertising, the individual is caught in a situation where conformity is the norm. “During consumption the masses become characterized by the commodities which they use and exchange among themselves. “(Laughey:2007:124)"
theodoradorno  standardization  danlaughey  commoditization  culture  massmedia  media  capitalism  music  psychology  cultureindustry 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Dark Matter: Activist Art and the Counter-Public Sphere
"Like its astronomical cousin, creative dark matter also makes up the bulk of the artistic activity produced in our post-industrial society. However, this type of dark matter is invisible primarily to those who lay claim to the management and interpretation of culture - the critics, art historians, collectors, dealers, museums, curators and arts administrators. It includes makeshift, amateur, informal, unofficial, autonomous, activist, non-institutional, self-organized practices - all work made and circulated in the shadows of the formal art world. Yet, just as the astrophysical universe is dependent on its dark matter, so too is the art world dependent on its dark energy."

[Concept mentioned by Randall Szott here: http://intheconversation.blogs.com/art/2008/03/interview-with.html ]

[See also other articles here: http://gregorysholette.com/writings/writing_index.html ]

[Update 2 June 2014: Link is dead. Here's the Wayback: http://web.archive.org/web/20110911222745/http://www.journalofaestheticsandprotest.org/3/sholette.htm ]
art  culture  politics  media  activism  activistart  vernacular  counter-publicsphere  josephbeuys  proletarian  oskarnegt  alexanderkluge  resistance  subversion  outsiders  artcriticism  tinkering  amateur  glvo  bourgeois  darkmatter  gregorysholette  collectives  culturalresistance  hierarchy  gatekeepers  cultureindustry  artworld  invisibility  economics  temporaryservices  lasagencias  publicspace  tacticalmedia  deschooling  unschooling  zines  diy  outsider  shrequest1 
may 2011 by robertogreco

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