Death, beauty, and iconoclastic nostalgia: Precarious aesthetics and Lana Del Rey
Cultural analysts awake to these and related developments have responded with a series of productive interventions. Drawing on many of these, I propose a media aesthetic approach where the disruptions in question are conceived as involving instances of precarious mediation to be examined within a precarious aesthetics. The music videos of Lana Del Rey effectively articulate ways in which precarious mediation is used in contemporary popular culture. In many of her music videos, like Summertime Sadness (2012) and Summer Wine (2013), the precarious mediation is given a nostalgic inflection, where an ambiguous yearning for the past is imbricated with cunning attempts to perfect imperfection. This nostalgia appears iconoclastic on the level of mediation as well as in its yearning for the past greatness of America. Thus, Del Rey may not merely be taken to contribute to the exploration of precarious mediation with a nostalgic inflection but also to touch on, in conflicting ways, aspects of the precarity which provides an important part of the experience of the present moment.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Arild Fetveit is Associate Professor in the Department for Media, Cognition and Communication, University of Copenhagen. He has published in the field of reception studies, convergence, medium-specific noise, music video, and digitalisation of film and photography as well as written a dissertation on the discursive possibilities between documentary and fiction film. He is currently directing an international research project on precarious aesthetics.
Publication date: September 1, 2015
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