Mediums of Trash/Trash Mediums (Trash Culture Edited Collection)
"The medium is the message", declared Marshall McLuhan (1967) in his now famous book of the same name. He writes: "Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication" (2008: 8). Seemingly, the elements of Trash Culture have always prioritised the content over the medium, the supposed vulgarity contained in objects such as comic books rather than the aesthetics of the object itself, and the 'crude' programs on television rather than the television as a medium of communicating trash. The medium itself has therefore been a neglected element of Trash Culture, and in this way the notion of 'trash' must be discussed through lenses of technological and/or cultural determinism. The medium associated with Trash Culture continues to transform; comic books, now revered even in academic circles, were initially deemed juvenile material. With the advent of television, a new brand of trash was established amongst detractors. Newspapers have long been associated with exploiting trash, but how is tabloid news now received with the advent of online news? With the growth of social media and the internet, the spotlight has been temporarily taken off the television and newspapers, with Youtube, Facebook and Twitter now at the centre of the debate. This leads us to ask what happens to trash content that appears in non-trash related mediums, such as pornography in books or in the theatre? And what happens to high-brow content that appears in trash-related mediums, such as James Joyce's Ulysses being adapted for comic book form, or art photography on Tumblr? Does the medium make the trash, or the trash make the medium?
While Henry Jenkins declares that old media never die, only transform, so too does the medium of trash. Thinking of the way in which low-brow content has persevered through various technologies, what can we glean from the relationship between a certain medium and the development of trash content? To what extent does the medium influence content, and vice versa? Does something become more or less trashy in one medium over another? Do certain forms of trash inform the aesthetics of the medium used to exploit it? Or does the actual appearance of a certain medium lend itself to the dissemination of trash? Crucial to this debate is the notion of dissemination and absorption. How have our consumption habits changed with the advent of newer mediums, and does this impact the way in which we perceive and interact with society? Are we more susceptible to messages through particular mediums? As Theodor Adorno would have it, the culture industries have a negative impact on social conscious, and yet others would advocate that we, as consumers/prosumers, are more active than passive. But how does the medium change the nature of the product? Are we more inclined to dismiss trash content from the digital realm, or in tangible form, such as pulp comics and magazines? How does the medium interact with and influence our relationship to the content?
Influenced strongly by McLuhan's notion of the medium, this themed issue of Trash Culture Journal (or for a possible book publication) aims to discuss how certain technologies and media have influenced and shaped the structure and development of content described as trash, and how certain trash content has influenced the construction of various mediums. Do we conceive of all elements of trash in the same way regardless of how they are disseminated, or does the medium incorporated truly alter the existential nature of the object/content itself? Are we more forgiving of content depending on the medium used to communicate it, or does content remain trash in all mediums? As we look to a dramatic shift in the way in which individuals consume their media, away from the broadcast model towards greater interconnectivity and participation, how do forms of trash reflect or reject this technological shift?
We are looking for academic papers (5000-8000 words) that address but are not limited to:
-Assorted mediums of trash
-Thing Theory and the philosophy of things and objects
-Visual translation of trash content
-Technological Determinism and trash culture
-Print media/mediums and trash: books, comic books
-Electronic mediums: internet, phones, gaming consoles (Nintendo, PlayStation, Gameboy)
-Visual mediums: television, cinemas, theatres
-Newspapers and the 'tabloidization' of culture through print media
-Musical Trash: records (vinyls), CDs, mp3, ipod, instruments
-Pornography: Playboy Magazine, internet, books, comics
-Marxism and theories of mediums
-Fan fiction clubs, and online
-Television as 'idiot box'
-Older methods of Trash
-Histories of trash mediums
-Hierarchies of Trash (Comic, Radio, Television, Internet)
-Youtube and Viral Culture
-Philosophical approaches to content creation in the media
-Sociological theories of consumption
-Culture Industries and the re-shaping of consumption habits
As well as this, theorists relevant to this theme include: