Welcome to our first blog post for EN 364, “Remixes, Memes, and Mashups!” For our first full-fledged day of discussion Friday, we’ll be looking at the work of Marcel Duchamp, the granddaddy of appropriation in modern art, alongside a few pieces of writing — some by Duchamp and his compatriots, and some by later scholars of art, literature, and culture, perhaps most notably the theorist Roland Barthes. Part of our work will be to put these different pieces in dialogue with one another in order to start fleshing out key questions, themes, and issues for us around this work and the course as a whole. So for this blog you should do some writing to move in that direction in a way that seems significant to you. In your post you should focus on making connections between Barthes’ thinking in “The Death of the Author” and Duchamp’s work and the conversation around it. What about Duchamp’s work seems culturally significant, and in what ways does it seem Barthesian — even though Barthes’ essay comes some 50 years after the Duchamp work we’re looking at, are there ways in which that work anticipates, illustrates, responds to, complements, complicates, opposes, or otherwise speaks to Barthes’ thinking? How so, and what’s significant about that dialogue — what does it tell us about larger questions of artistry, authorship, originality, etc.?
How and where you pursue these connections is up to you — there are lots of facets of these works to explore, so try to add to and expand on what others have posted before you rather than repeating things or discussing the same elements. The only other requirement is that you ground your post in close textual analysis, directly quoting and discussing both Barthes’ essay and at least one of the pieces of writing by or about Duchamp (as well as referring to the images where relevant) to develop your thinking.
Good luck, and enjoy — I’m excited to see what everyone comes up with for this first post!
Reminder: Your writing should go in the comments section for this post — click on the link near the top of this post where it says “Leave a Comment.” It should be at least 300 words, and is due by midnight THURSDAY, September 7 (note that this first post is different from our usual posting schedule) . If you have any questions, let me know via email.