What makes the Gangnam Style so funny

-Jiarui Zhang

Back in 2012, the music video Gangnam Style by the South Korea rapper Psy became a global hit; it became the first YouTube video to reach 1 billion views and has gone viral on YouTube with more than 730 million views in four months. Psy not only cross over the mainstream of Asian audiences but also capture the Western audiences. The song is catchy, and the video is cut to fit the rhythm perfectly, making the most of the interaction between the two. It is silly, but it is a pure pleasure to watch. But from an academic view, what makes the video so funny?


After the Second World War, South Korea was facing the grave economic problem. The country experienced an economic boom In the 70s and 80s, but it was on the verge of bankruptcy by the end of 20th century. As a result, it is causing the widening gap in wealth. In South Korea, the music video of Gangnam Style is satire at the so-called ‘Gangnam adorer’ – those who try to match the exclusive lifestyle in Gangnam district (which is a wealthy ghetto of Seoul. Class differences are continued to increase in this country, just like they are elsewhere in the world. Expect the sarcasm of social class; many other controversial elements could be seen in the music video, for example, the gender differences, vulgar and tasteless (Cheah and Kim, 2014).

The music video was a local hit in South Korea, and it hit the West by storm after an American rapper shared it with his followers on social media. Among the Western audiences, it breaks the cultural conventions, something similar with the Bollywood movies. It is a pop music video, but Psy is acting with a typical Western pop singer in an entirely different way. Quite a few scenes are unclear and make viewers wonder what is happening? Like when he is dancing with a man in a flashy yellow suit (Hollis, 2012).


A silly dance move and a funny music video, Gangnam Style is a poking fun on South Korean society






Cheah, J. and Kim, G.J.-S. (2014) Theological reflections on ‘Gangnam style’: A racial, sexual, and cultural critique. Basingstoke, United Kingdom: Palgrave Pivot.

Hollis, N. (2012) 10 reasons why Gangnam style became a global hit. Available at: http://www.millwardbrown.com/global-navigation/blogs/post/mb-blog/2012/11/21/10-reasons-why-Gangnam-Style-became-a-global-hit.aspx  (Accessed: 28 February 2017).

officialpsy (2012) PSY – GANGNAM STYLE(강남스타일) M/V. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7q19f0  (Accessed: 28 February 2017)


The Cove: Media Archaeology in Documentary storytelling



The documentary has a long history of using an archival material as one of its naSnip20170306_5.pngrrative resources. “The Cove” (2009) is a documentary film which analyses and questions dolphin hunting practices in Japan-Taiji. There are two storylines in this film. One of them is that of O’Barry, who is prominently onscreen in the archival footage from his decade with “Flipper” – TV show, to his reborn, 38 years as an activist fighting dolphin captivity and working for their welfare.

As Jussi Parikka states that “Media archaeology has been interested in excavating past in order to understand the present and the future.” (Parikka, J. 2012, p2)

My point is that some of the functions of media archaeology in documentaries are able to offer the evidence and foundation for continuities between old and new media. There are some examples of that point can be observed in “The Cove” (2009).

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Director uses these video archives to show the origins of critical issues that the Japanese hunt and kill dolphins in a crucial way, and the process of which people from Oceanic Preservation Society utilise special tactics and high technologies to secretly film what is taking place in the cove.

As Sean Cubitt mentions, “The major advantage of digital editing is that it allows compositing of live-action and digital components, and the mixing, in layers, of cinematographic, bitmapped and vector graphics.” (Cubitt, S. 2002, p25)

To sum up, it is no doubt that the archive is becoming a vital role in understanding a digital documentary, and its practices are worthy of investigation in the context of media archaeology as well.


Cubitt, Sean. (2002) “Digital filming and special effects.” In: Harries, D. (Ed.). The New Media Book. London: British Film Institute.

Parikka, J. (2012). “What is Media Archaeology?”. Croydon: Polity Press.

Toumarkine, D. (2009). Illuminating ‘The Cove’: Louie Psihoyos’ activist documentary shines light on dolphin slaughter. http://www.filmjournal.com/illuminating-cove-louie-psihoyos-activist-documentary-shines-light-dolphin-slaughter [Accessed 28th February]

A post-cinema as game – EXISTENZ


In [Post-Cinematic Affect], STEVEN SHAVIRO map the flows of affect in four dimensions, there are Control, Flows, Media Ecologies, Gaming. Let’s focus on gaming. Gamer posits a social space in which the ubiquity of gaming has become nearly absolute.” It’s a trend that life and media become like a game. (Shaviro, 2016)

Today I will discuss a post-cinema as game – EXISTENZ. “This film described a story A game designer on the run from assassins must play her latest virtual reality creation with a marketing trainee to determine if the game has been damaged.” (IMDB, 1999, p. 1).


David Cronenberg is a very famous director in Canada who is good at shooting thriller. Post-cinema is a good way to described his film, non- liner structures, the plots are unexpected. Cronenberg’s film are not telling technology can lead people to a better world, but destroy the law of nature. It is negative but rational. TXISTENZ is also talk about people are dependent on technology, lost in the game and can not distinguish reality and virtuality. Just like media can destroy people’s judgement, you can’t use your brain to think.

Existenz is reflecting the new technologies of post modernity using the structure of game. It is positive critics of internet culture, and taking cyber culture with virtual reality and biotechnology.

Written by: Chengxi Li



Steven Shaviro, “Post-Cinematic Affect,” in Denson and Leyda (eds), Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film (Falmer: REFRAME Books, 2016). Web. <http://reframe.sussex.ac.uk/post-cinema/2-2-shaviro/>. ISBN 978-0-9931996-2-2 (online)

IMDB, 1999, eXistenZ, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120907/?ref_=nv_sr_1.

Youtube, 2016, eXistenZ 1999 1080p https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_kHXnPk0X0&t=920s

Transmedia: Americanized Chinese Film–Mulan

Mulan is a musical action-dramedy feature film produced by Walt Disney in 1998. This animation adapted from a real story: the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan which is a typical hybrid cultural production. Based on the original version, Disney also created some new plot and characters for entertainment in their own American-style. Like Muxu, a small dragon who is very cowardly but he also helped and encouraged Mulan at the end.


In order to satisfy the audience’s address about the oriental fantasy, this film is inundated with a plenty of traditional Chinese elements, like the calligraphy drawing in the start scene, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall etc.

According to the culture values, Disney change the filial piety and compliance in Asian values qualities into feminism and individualism which is rather popular in Western culture. For example, Mulan change her personality from elegant manners to undisciplined behaviors. Especially in this film, she abandoned the traditional quality and image of a Chinese woman and even become more independent and intelligent in this film rather than the legend.

images5                    7

This is an animation for children, so Disney use many humanized designs to change and cover the dark side. For example, this is a typical story about the war and battle, but we didn’t find any bloody scene. The director used the avalanche to destroy and demolish the final enemy instead of fighting scenes with weapons. They choose to use the white snow to cover brutal war. The last example is the death of Khan, the antagonist, he turns into the colorful fireworks and disappears in the middle of the night sky. At the end, Mulan returned to her female identity and married to general Li was the highly recommend part. “Prince and princess get together at last”. Obviously, this is the American faire tale’s happy ending which is not exist in the legend version


written by Xi Chen




Impure Cinema of Mani Kaul

Andre Bazin’s 1951 essay ‘Pour un cinema impur: défense de l’adaptation’ which implies hybridization of cinema with other art forms expresses his disagreement of film as a self sufficient medium. Using the term ‘cinema impur’ to contest the polemical slogan in avant-garde film known as ‘cinema pur’, attributed to Henri Chomette, his essay states that ‘we must say of the cinema that its existence precedes its essence’ (1967c, p71)

One way in which cinema precedes its essence could be ‘pre-cinema’ as cinema is considered an extension of painting and photography. Indian experimental film-maker Mani Kaul’s films were adapted from Hindi literature and exhibited an intimate relationship with Hindustani music and representational forms from India which he used as multiple intertexts in terms of subject matter and construction. His oeuvres are literature (The Cloud Door), painting (Duvidha, Dilemma, 1973), architecture (Satah Se Uthata Aadmi, Arising From The Surface, 1980), music (Dhrupad[1], 1983) and poetry (Siddheshwari[2], 1989). It could be implied that for Kaul, cinema was not merely a combination of disciplines to arrive at specificity.


Like Godard, Kaul begins with the image. His acclaimed film Duvidha commences with a Godardian image of a woman in a red saree (a garment traditionally worn by women from South Asia) positioned in front of a white wall, gazing into the camera with Rajasthani folk song playing in the background. It implies a dilemma directed to the audience like the frozen frame of Truffaut’s adolescent criminal. Kaul adopts narration rather than storytelling as it provides him the freedom to emphasize on the image. Kaul uses a series of photographs, freeze frames, jump cuts that demonstrate the film’s fundamental notion of temporal and geographical dislocation to manipulate time. His “image track ‘inherits’ the history of painting and the visual art while the sound track ‘inherits’ the history of music” (Stam, 2005, p7).


By Sagar Chhatwani


Nagib, L. and Jerslev, A. (2014). Impure Cinema: intermedial and intercultural approaches to film. London, New York: I.B. Tauris

Srikanth. (2011). The films of Mani Kaul. The Seventh Art. Available from https://theseventhart.info/2011/06/19/the-films-of-mani-kaul/ [Accessed 25 February 2017]

Filmistaan. (2015). Duvidha. YouTube. Available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuN2U4-njjQ [Accessed 25 February 2017]

[1] Dhrupad is a documentary about Dhrupad, one of the oldest forms of compositions in the classical Indian music.

[2] Siddheshwari is a documentary on eminent classical singer from Varanasi, India, Siddheshwari Devi.

Mapping Post-Cinematic Affects in A Wednesday (2008)

Media theorist Marshall McLuhan had observed that every new medium “shifts the ratio among all the senses” (1964, p13) leading to a change in the nature of experiences. McLuhan’s reference point was the growing impact of television at that time. However, the same logic helps us to approach and understand the 21st century Post-Cinema multimedia regime. This is the age dominated by globalized communication networks, computation technologies, mobile phones, internet, digital international financial, trade and commercial networks. What is the impact of this globally connected digital world on the aesthetics of cinema?

In Post-Cinematic Affect Steven Shaviro (2016) explains a shift in the structures of feelings generated by the neoliberal technological and financial networks which define the post-cinematic visual medium. He argues that “Just as the old Hollywood continuity editing system was an integral part of the Fordist mode of production, so the editing methods and formal devices of digital video and film belong directly to the computing-and-information technology infrastructure of contemporary neoliberal finance”(Shaviro,2016,p131).


Neeraj Pandey directed Hindi feature film A Wednesday (2008) can be said to have been made only in this age of neo-liberal communication infrastructure and global terrorism. A Wednesday revolves around an unnamed common man played by Naseeruddin Shah who is so frustrated with recurring terror attacks in Mumbai that he takes upon himself to kill terrorists. The story as narrated by a voice-over, takes place between 2 pm to 6 pm on a Wednesday afternoon where he calls up the Mumbai Police Commissioner to inform that he has placed bombs at various locations which may explode if he doesn’t release four terrorists. He has set up his own control room at the roof-top of an under construction building. He uses multiple mobile phones, sim cards, laptop, speaker and other gadgets. He doesn’t belong to any terrorist group but programmes a bomb himself. Where does that knowledge come from? Internet is the obvious answer.

The visual aesthetic of A Wednesday doesn’t overturn the cohesive flow of images but it does combine the multiscreen culture of a tele-series like 24 and generates the urgency of news casting during a terror attack. Digital composition of the film allowed for “assembling together a number of elements to create a singular seamless object.”(Manovich, 2016, p139).Surveillance, phone tapping, hacking and tracking are common words in the world that we live in and this film significantly remediates them with ease. Terrorism, counter-terrorism and reactionary violence are the concerns of A Wednesday and it showcases a participatory regime of post-cinematic media ecology which affects one to reorder sensory experiences.

By Swati Bakshi


McLuhan, M. (1964). The medium is the message. Available from http://web.mit.edu/allanmc/www/mcluhan.mediummessage.pdf  [Accessed 26 February 2017].

Manovich, L. (2016).What is Digital Cinema. In: Denson,S. and Leyda, J. (eds.) Post Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film. REFRAME books, 20-50. Available from http://reframe.sussex.ac.uk/post-cinema/ [Accessed 03 February 2017].

Shaviro S. (2016). Post-Cinematic Affect. In: Shane D. and Julia Leyda (eds), Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film. Falmer: REFRAME Books,129-144.

Krrish, A. (2016). YouTube. Available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxrrURM7c4M [Accessed 25 February 2017].

Change: Good or bad?

Usha Sharma

Hollywood has always catered to demand and supply and thus the intensified continuity had replaced classical continuity. The popularity of Mtv, proves that this millennial generation that has grown up on 30 second TV commercials, can process information faster and therefore demand it.

Intensified continuity has also gained popularity as it gives the director more options on more shots in the editing room. The shots become shorter and the cuts are more frequent giving the film a more “intense” feel. The viewer has less time to engage as they are quickly taken from one scene to another …and these are the technological advances which try to keep up with their fast moving audience as Bordwel states, is that “when an independent goes mainstream, the cutting is likely to accelerate.” This basically implies that everyone in the audience wants the same thing–a fast pace.


Cinema has lost the long deep focused take, which implies body language and allowed meaningful staging to be employed. Intensified continuity had evolved beyond classical requirements to create new exciting visuals, however pushing or breaking classical rules risks spatial or temporal discontinuity, a problem many film theorists believe has pushed boundaries. In classical continuity the editing process was more absorbed in creating an illusion of time and space to satisfy the desire for realism, however intensified continuity struggles to do this as we become aware of its overt construction. The visuals are scattered and move at a high pace and the viewer is left with very little time to absorb each shot. The viewer is not allowed to be absorbed by the visuals. However, the new generation is now used to a “fast pace” and the success of Lord of the Rings, Avatar, Black Hawk Dawn, Die Hard, Speed, all suggest that this is the demand of the new generation and Hollywood has adapted to it.


“A paradox seems to emerge in the case of intensified continuity: it draws our attention to the screen exogenously, but at the same time it also blinds us to the formal reasons why our attention is being drawn. Our mental capacities/cerebral bandwidth are more taken up with trying to work out what is going on (following the story/narrative), than with working out why we are so aroused. “









Dial History (1997) and The Archive

Archive material is an important narrative resource for films and filmmakers, especially as some documentaries filmmakers usually use archives and the footage to present some historical facts in the film to audiences.

 “Traditionally the archive was a place for storage, preservation, classification and access” (Røssaak, 2010b: 11).

Filmmakers use archive material to link the present, the past and the future to recount a period of historical time or disrupt temporality and be media archaeological.

“Media archaeology has never been only a purely academic endeavour, but, from its early phases in the 1980s and 1990s, has also been a field in which media artists have been to use themes, ideas and inspiration from past media too order to investigate what the newness in ‘new media’ means”(Jussi, 2012: 2).


For example, Dial History is a film that incorporated archival footage and this is a media archaeology archival film. The director, Johan Grimonprez, collected some footages that are about the history of airplane hijacking. According to the director, “Dial History narrative is based on an imaginary dialogue between a terrorist and a novelist where the writer contends that the terrorist has hijacked his role within society. The film’s opening line, taken from Mao, describes the skyjacker as a protagonist. Interspersing fact and fiction, Grimonprez said that the use of archival footage to create “short-circuits in order to critique situation”(Bernard, 1998).

Archival material in this film is not only to record a historic time. Grimonprez  used some original video sequences to reveal the theme of the film. The original video footage records plane hijackings in this film and the director relied on the footage to describe politics and terrorism in a current global context. Although the director used these archival materials, filmmakers just organized the original footage to reflect some new ideas. The use of archival material should not be the limitation of time and filmmakers can use freely montage to meet the requirement of the plot and reflect the theme.

Written By Dandan Li


Jussi, P. (2012). Introduction: Cartographies of the Old and the New in: What is Media Archaeology? Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. 1-18

Bernard, C. (1998). An interview with Johan Grimonprez in:Supermarket History. Available from

http://www.johangrimonprez.be/main/Film_DIALHISTORY_Story_4.htm [Accessed 27 February 2017]

Transmedia storytelling of Marvel Universe

In order to determine the basic features and symbolic functions of film genre, it is necessary to research the image symbolism, such as the superhero’s tights. The genre of the images is not only used to make sense in the use of a particular style of film, but is essential to the exposition of the story being told. The Marvel superheroes movie is a part of a film genre based on the Marvel Universe transmedia storytelling. Transmedia storytelling requires a complete and unified view of the world. The Marvel movie is adapted from Marvel comics, which already have many complex characters with developed relationships and backgrounds. The Marvel Universe is a standard specification, which is also the basis of the Marvel film formation as an industrial chain and business model (Schatz, 1981).


The Avengers (2012)

In The Avengers, the causality of the plot may be common to other transmedia storytelling works. Thor appears suddenly in a flash of lightning and kidnaps another character, Loki. Only audiences with a prior knowledge of Thor would know that Loki is Thor’s brother, who has exiled Thor to the earth. Hence Loki also comes to the earth for revenge on Thor. In this form of transmedia storytelling, the core elements in the construction of a complete world view through different media are the characters.


Thor (2011)

Jenkins notes in his book that “A transmedia story unfolds across multiple media platforms, with each new text making a distinctive and valuable contribution to the whole. In the ideal form of transmedia storytelling, each medium does what it does best—— so that a story might be introduced in a film, expanded through television, novels, and comics; its world might be explored through game play or experienced as an amusement park attraction” (Jenkins, 2006:95-96).


The unity of the characters provides modeling and visual symbols. In transmedia storytelling works, the audience are able to enrich their understanding of the characters through different media.


The network of Marvel’s transmedia storytelling utilizes almost all of the audience platform. In the era of media convergence, the use of the multimedia platform and the concentration of capital has become an inevitable trend. For example, even computer generated pictures are comparable to real life scenes in high-definition movies, but film and games obviously have different media characteristics. Transmedia storytelling uses the advantages of the different medium which influences the audience’s emotional interaction with the characters. This draws audiences to explore the story one more time, and results in higher sales (Long, 2007).

Written by Yilei Peng


Eco, U. (1985). ” Casablanca”: Cult Movies and Intertextual Collage. SubStance, 14(2), 3-12.

Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide. NYU press.

Long, G. A. (2007). Transmedia storytelling: Business, aesthetics and production at the Jim Henson Company (Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

Schatz, T. (1981). Hollywood genres: Formulas, filmmaking, and the studio system. McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages.


https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=transmedia+marvel&rlz=1C1CHWL_zh-CNGB716GB716&espv=2&biw=1536&bih=740&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiG1LOE_LDSAhVrEpoKHS10BSsQ_AUIBigB&dpr=1.25#tbm=isch&q=the+Avengers&*&imgrc=pEOKe2kUTRALPM: [Accessed 26 February 2017].

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=thor&rlz=1C1CHWL_zh-CNGB716GB716&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi0oZSy_7DSAhWJBywKHUDWDrYQ_AUICCgB&biw=1536&bih=740#imgdii=T4MJ6jY0MSJAfM:&imgrc=-T_8JJ_o0sZJNM: [Accessed 26 February 2017].

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=phone+game+iron&espv=2&biw=1536&bih=779&site=webhp&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiqxJ6z0bDSAhXCbhQKHY1uAjMQsAQIGQ#tbm=isch&q=animation+iron+man&*&imgrc=ygg98AdnD5H-DM: [Accessed 26 February 2017].

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=phone+game+iron&espv=2&biw=1536&bih=779&site=webhp&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiqxJ6z0bDSAhXCbhQKHY1uAjMQsAQIGQ#imgdii=Nyz78e6uymXpFM:&imgrc=3ilrov5UTdUHCM: [Accessed 26 February 2017].

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=phone+game+iron&espv=2&biw=1536&bih=779&site=webhp&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiqxJ6z0bDSAhXCbhQKHY1uAjMQsAQIGQ#tbm=isch&q=film+iron+man&*&imgrc=LTcKtz78AV8ZIM: [Accessed 26 February 2017].

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=transmedia+marvel&rlz=1C1CHWL_zh-CNGB716GB716&espv=2&biw=1536&bih=740&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiG1LOE_LDSAhVrEpoKHS10BSsQ_AUIBigB&dpr=1.25#imgrc=6wg0XzVmQbeqhM: [Accessed 26 February 2017].

Orphan Black: a TV global phenomenon?

Amandine Gros

Now recognized as an international TV series coproduction, the Canadian science fiction thriller Orphan Black presents a narrative with multicultural characters from different countries. Their particularities are that they are clones being because of genetic experimentation. All the different characters are interpreted by the same actress, Tatiana Maslany who plays twelve protagonists Sarah, Beth, Cosima, Alison, Helena, Rachel, Jennifer, Katja, Tony, Aryanna, Danielle, and Jannika.

This serie is produced for the channels: Space (Canada) and BBC America. Then thanks to a deal with BBC America and the BBC Worldwide (British public service broadcaster), Orphan Black’s audience grew rapidly both in Canada and the United States.

The showcase will have more and more success thanks to this funding cooperation and lots of devoted fans. I quote ‘ This partnership Orphan Black eventually debuted in March 2013 with 513,000 viewers, making it the highest-rated original series premiere for Space. Its simultaneous launch on BBC America garnered 680,000 viewers.7 The series rapidly grew audience ratings in both countries after being widely praised by American television critics and fans’ word of mouth across social media sites.” (media industry journal, 2015)

Regarding Orphan Black’s situation and position in the TV’s market is it obvious to note the diversity of the distribution and production of Orphan Black which is in relation to issues of global TV series.

At the time, In think it is interesting to mention Shanti Kumar who said in his book that it is important to understand that television’s global characteristic is “technology“, I quote “Television technologies shape and are shaped by industrial, audience, and textual negotiations as well as changing sociohistorical conditions. And the meanings of television technology are contingent and take different properties and practices in different part of the world.“ (TV Planet). In fact, Orphan Black can illustrate thanks to cultural and financing negotiations how national channels and issues of distribution are important strategies in the global TV.

The trailer show well all the issues that were mentioned on the blog before.


Tinic, S. Where in the World Is Orphan Black? Change and Continuity in Global TV Production and Distribution. Media Industrie. Available from http://www.mediaindustriesjournal.org/index.php/mij/article/view/106/151%5BAccessed 25 February 2017].

BBC America (2017). Orphan Black: about the show. BBC America. Available from http://www.bbcamerica.com/shows/orphan-black/about [Accessed 26 February 2017]

Kumar, S. (2003). Planet TV: a global television reader. London: new york University Press