Spectacle notes, themes and an idea: Verb world problems.

The lateral term of spectacle means “a visual striking performance or display” I think nine times out of 10 I would go with that. In my last post I mentioned other words which I define as a spectacle or spectacle theme related. Either way the above definition works for me.

The work and theory that I have come across when looking at spectacle is from Guy Debord. His work is very much around the ideas of spectacle and the effect on society and then the extent of the media on society itself.

One video (above) watched explains the ‘society of the spectacle’ and says that media defines us, creates who we are, it tells us why, who, when, what and how. Billboards, adverts, television, internet, it all creates these false realities that we live in. Consumer fetishism becomes normal as we are constantly pleasured from buying and absorbing culture and commodities. Mindless consumption and mindless dreams, it tuns us into zombies – we gain this prestige though gained commodities -it’s powerful stuff.

When researching I think and I know that I am a zombie. Yes I admit I’m a sucker for everything, what these theories and notions are saying are however accepted and understood but I can’t help it, I won’t change who I am, I like being a zombie in this sense, but I understood and agreed completely about what is going on here.

I also fully understand the power and reasoning behind ‘cultural jamming’. I don’t like it, I think it’s a very dark way of looking at things and the approach play by many is just sort of scary. People like Banksy for example, is defacing the world we live in, its not constructive, it’s supporting this kind of social revaluation where chaos is king, these people try to take me away from who I am regardless of what is going on in the media. I enjoy being trapped in my own world with my own ‘mediated’ values – I am also very sure that many others would agree.

Going back to Debord then, I kind of feel on the fence, I agree with what is being said in terms of creating an identity out of us and have to almost accept it however it helps keep the world going round economically, it helps businesses, it gives people a personality and sense of being and relation to what is around them.

Moving this on then to my idea and what I wanted to look at was these ideas of commodity fetishism and move it on into the realms of religion and pseudo-religion. Religion itself is a ritual form, rituals are therefore repeated and much like religion we actively engage in ‘stuff’. Shopping, buying, watching, doing, we are living in the verb world here. Religion also requires sacrifice and belief and I’d say much of these examples, shopping, buying, watching, doing – they all require sacrifice of time and a belief to commit, therefore in a logical conclusion sort of way, parts of our everyday life are on par with the practice of religion.

Football and sport in general has been coined as one such example of where it is a religious ecosystem. Take football for an example:

Stands – Pews

Stadium – Place of worship

Fans – worshipers and preachers

Players – Gods

Match day programme – Holy Text

The list goes on, but these are just lateral conversions, the emotional state conversions are quite fascinating as well:

Enlightenment of winning

Cursing the loss

Rivalry of religions and the one true path

Euphoric, Holy representation

Awe in the house of the Gods

It seems I am not the only one who agrees, as these articles suggest:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/3828767.stm  – this article has more representations than I have included too.



I don’t want to go much further because my point is clear, people die for their religion as people die for their team, people travel thousands of miles from around the globe to watch their team just how religious types would. Sport and their teams are powerful, powerful entities, they control the followers just like they would a television programme or an advert. The commitment to football, sport, teams, is strong within many of us, it’s for some, ingrained into us from birth.

What I am planning to do initially is take an observed look at how football is, dare I say it, a religion in itself. What compares it? What defines it?

I think as well, this works alongside my FMP film too and will give me an opportunity to explore some  of the themes as well.

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