Spectacle – Process and Development

Thinking of an idea for the spectacle artefact proved to be the most challenging. At first I was unsure on whether I should create a spectacle myself or base my artefact on a past spectacle, but after consideration the former choice sounded more interesting to do – I would prefer creating something myself. The obstruction however, was to look at one of the propositions from Guy Debord’s ‘Society of the Spectacle’ or Jean Baudrillard’s ideas, these narrowed things down a bit and allowed me to focus on something more specific.  The quote that fascinated me the most was number 9 from Debord:

“In a world that really has been turned on its head, truth is a moment of falsehood.”

This can be interpreted in many ways. Certain horrific actions or events that could occur in the world never get out to the media. Everything bad that one can think of has actually happened – some might think that hell doesn’t exist, yet we already live in it. Snuff films are a good example, they are supposed to be urban legend but they do exist, and in more volumes than you can imagine. The media is constantly talking about how murderers are convicted and how crime statistics are going down, but in reality people are still committing atrocities.

Baudrillard explored reality TV shows in the late 1970s and argued that it demonstrated ‘the mutation of the real into the hyperreal’ and later on returned to the theme that ‘when everything is on display (like Big Brother type reality shows) we realise there is nothing else to see’. Baudrillard insists that there is a direct, logical connection between ‘reality’ TV and snuff movies, ‘at the same time as they try to make it (death) disappear technologically, death will reappear on the screen as an extreme experience’.

So thinking further about these theories I thought about creating a snuff film (the ultimate reality show) which showcases a spectacular serial killer and the spectacular interest that people might get in their quest to find and see what he does. A snippet from a snuff film which shows the ‘spectacular’ serial killer taunting and then killing his victim. The start of the artefact will feature ‘police evidence tape’ to imply that is real.

Why is society so interested in gruesome things? We are so hateful of death and killing yet we can’t take our eyes over some crazy footage that occasionally leaks onto the internet.  Murderers can be seen to make a spectacle of their murders and can even become celebrities in a way, either by their code or method.


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