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Transgressions: How the
Exploitations of the
Abject communicates
with an Audience
Dissertation Synopsis

I want to write about how different people perceive cinema in modern times,
and content is changed to suit that broad demographic. In order to do this I
will be writing about transgressive and abject art forms and how they are
applied in film particularly of the smaller budget. It is interesting to study this
topic because smaller films need to expose themselves via their identity rather
than through marketing campaigns. In postmodernism the idea of shock
value in cinema is important to attract an audience, who need to feel drawn
to the content of a film via how it is described in a trailer or by a person who
analyses film. Because of this, I will also be talking about how people
influence others through their own taste in film, these could include popular
critics, actors, and also other directors.
Chapter 1 Synopsis

It is necessary to define the following word to clarify my analysations during the

essay: Transgression, Abject, Shock Value, Art, Kitsch, demographic, the individual,
and how film responds to these.
Transgression and the abject in art seeks to get a reaction as to further advertise
itself via the media, who will latch onto outcry for the means of profiteering. In
example, Myra is a painting that caused a lot of incidents regarding its subject
matter, it is described as transgressive art because of its unsavoury taste in the
perspective of social discourse. Abject art behaves similarly, but utilising much
more crude methods, often involving the object at hand. Examples of this include
Piss Christ a sickly visage of the crucifixion suspended in human urine. The
application of these values could serve as a form of shock value that causes
people to turn with disgust. By doing this hoever, the artist is actually connecting
with the individual in terms of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable,
and the commentary that this entails serves as a point of interest.
Chapter 2 Synopsis

For the next paragraph I intend to make a methodology on the last by beginning
to talk more about demographics and the individuals involved in generating a
response from the wider audience. This is done through the study of the consumer
and their habits around the consumption of film products. The success of a fil
hinges on not only the reception by the audience, but also its time of release, as
other larger films have the potential to overshadow and destroy competition. For
smaller budget films, it is then more necessary to define itself so it may stand out
more in comparison to similar budgets. This can be done through the application
of transgressive and abject art in order to reinforce a strong concept from which
the film is built around. Despite this, there are other elements that may hinder an
artist's expression, relatability is key in audience understanding. Saw is a good
example of how transgression/abject may influence a viewer, as it takes from a
stereotype, putting them in compromising positions that affect both their moral
value and their lives using lots of contraptions intended for copious gore. The
ensuing shock value then effectively cements the scene into memory.
Chapter 3 Synopsis

In the case of more effective directors defining themselves through the content of
their work it is important to note the value of reputation when it comes to the
consumer, and especially to the critics. John Waters is dubbed 'the pope of
trash' due to his extremely kitsch and abject view on the consumers of film,
deliberatly going against social standards in order to get a reaction. Pink
Flamingos features a character name of 'Divine' who is described as the filthiest
woman alive, and is played by a transvestite as if to embody the values of the
film. David Lynch provides an alternate approach by using a more controlled
approach, in Eraserhead, the main character is host to odd events that
surround him constantly, and is rich in symbolism and metaphor for the sake of
continued discussion. Through the study of these films I want to show how by
making a memorable identity for themselves they are self marketing through
continued discussion and relevancy.
Current Research Proforma

Author(s): Bennett, L.
Author(s): Chen, X. Yu, H. W Gentry, J. Yu, F.
Critical Position: Independent Researcher
Critical Position:
Title: Tracing Textual Poachers: Reflections on the development of fan
studies and digital fandom. Title: Complaint or Recommendation? The impact of customers' state and
trait goal orientations on customer engagement behaviours.
Publisher/Publication: Journal of Fandom Studies.
Publisher/Publication: Journal of Consumer Behaviour: An International
Place of Publication: n/a Research Review.

Date: 2014 Place of Publication: Hoboken

Chapter: Digital Fandom: The Arrival of New Technologies Date: 2017

Key Points and Potential Study: Chapter: Introduction

A introspective into the spread of fandoms and their effect on modern Key Points and Potential study:
media. Can provide commentary on how media is received by audiences.
Study on individuals and their interactions with film as a product. Discusses
Quotation: the ways in which new technology has influenced perspective of these
'...W ith more advanced technology, participatory culture and transmedia
practices also developed, with fans gaining stronger resources and Quotation:
integration within the digital media landscape.'
'In addition to purchasing, customers also play important roles in marketing
through many other behaviours. These behaviours include, but are not
limited to, recommending the brand to others, blogging and web posting
the consumption experience...
Current Research Proforma

Author: Constantine, V. Author: Ford, S.

Critical Position: Film and Television Professor Critical Position: Masssachusetts Institute of Technology and W estern
Kentucky University
Title: Film Remakes.
Title: Fan Studies: Grappling with a 'Undisciplined' Discipline.
Publisher/Publication: University of Edinburgh
Publisher/Publication: Journal of Fandom Studies.
Place of Publication: Edinburgh
Place of Publication: n/a
Date: 2006
Date: 2014
Chapter: Remaking as Critical Category
Chapter: W hat constitutes Media Fandom?
Key Points and Potential Study:
Key Points and Potential Study: a perspective on fandom studies from an
For comparing the difference between high budget and low budget films. individual more involved with the scene. Important for the sake of
Covers intertextuality and genre in remakes, but also a chapter talking understanding from an individual who influences others, providing
about specific interpretive communities. commentery on the interactions between creators and fans.
Quotation: Quotation:
'W hat seems to happen with contemporary Hollywood Cinema, 'The focus of fan studies is shaped in part by the areas of interest of those
particularly in the case of remakes, is that while the intratextual drawn into the field (especially as the concept of the aca/fan has led
mechanisms of classic continuity are mostly respected, intertextual many of us to study fan communities we've been personally immersed in,
referentiality(to genres, cycles and stars) is sometimes complemented by as in have) and also by the institutional history of which types of fandoms
what is perceived – within specific interpretive communities – as the explicit seminal texts in the field have explored.'
and recognisable intertextual quotation of plot motifs and stylistic features
peculiar to earlier film versions.'
Current Research Proforma

Author(s): Gourmelos, T. J Gunkel, D. Author: Various

Title: Transgression 2.0: Media, Culture and the Politics of a Digital Title: 96-Minute 'Masterclass' I nterview with Alfred Hitchcock on
Age. Filmmaking.
Publisher/Publication: The Continuum I nternational Publishing Group At: https://w w atch?v =DDv C6tzrJro
Place of Publication: New York Date: 1976
Date: 2012 Key Points and Potential Study:
Chapter: Transgression Today I mportant perspectiv es on the creativ e pipeline specifically in the
case of Alfred Hitchcock, the Director of such Transgressiv e content
Key Points and Potential Study: as Psycho, amongst other such suspenseful films.
A look at the term transgression in the current age, and how it
influences content as w ell as a perspectiv e on the cultural impacts
by ways of politics.
'We should not fail to understand entertainment's potential for
democratic participation and the importance of establishing an
infrastructure through which resistance can then function...'
Current Research Proforma

Author: H Smith, G. Moore, M. Author: Kajema, E.

Critical Position: Title: The Disgusting, The Formless and the Abject in Art.
Title: Individualism: A Reader. At:
ebooks/reader.action?docID=2010880&query= Date: 2016
Publisher/Publication: Cato Institute Key Points and Potential Study:
Place of Publication: Washington Description of the transgressive and abject in the scene of art, providing
commentary from the more exclusive side of art critic.
Date: 2015
Chapter: 1 "of the individual man, and the highest ends of his existence"

Key Points and Potential Study:

Philosopher source on the natures of individuality that effectively describes patterns
of consumer behaviour.


'Every human being, then, can act with but one force at the same time: or rather,
our whole nature disposes us at any given time to some single form of spontaneous
Current Research Proforma

Author: Mead, R. Author: Zinoman, J.

Title: The Scourge of Relatability. Critical Position:
At: https://w w Title: Shock Value.
Publisher/Publication: The Penguin Press
Date: 2014
Place of Publication: New York
Key Points and Potential Study:
Date: 2011
Discussion on the term 'relatability' and its emergence in current
culture regarding film and media. Refers to the v iewers desire to Chapter:
'seek oneself' in art.
Key Points and Potential Study:
Understanding shock v alue is key to fruitful discussion, including its
application in marketing of horror films.
'To show that the v iolence and scares of the genre were nothing for
parents to worry about, Price emphasized that horror was pure
escapism. I ts appeal was not in confronting demons, but in making
them go away.'
Current Research Proforma

Author: Newman, J.

Author: Emery, L. Title: Why Postmodern Art is Vacant.

Critical Position: At:
Title: Teaching Art in a Postmodern World: Theories, Teacher Reflections and Date: 2017
Interpretive Frameworks.
Key Points and Potential Study:
q=shock+art+postmodernism&source=bl&ots=CX7dmbxB- Commentary on the seclusion of postmodernist art, specifically on the marketing
v&sig=b4xdIpKX4AgmTM56msXri6n46Tg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi- artists that grew to the largest popularity based on their controversial/revolutionary
1e7GkLLZAhWIA8AKHYukDgsQ6AEIjgEwDA#v=onepage&q&f=true status.
Publisher/Publication: Common Ground Publishing Pty Ltd
Place of Publication: Altona
Date: 2002


Key Points and Potential Study:

Provides discussion on the recpetion of transgressive art. Particular in the way that it
is written from the viewpoints of a lecturer.


'Some other controversial works, such as the Myra Hindley work, were damaged in
the Sensation exhibition. Students have some quite strong reactions to works at
times especially if they have read things in the tabloid press or their parents have
said that the works are shocking and shouldn't be allowed ect.'

 Bennett, L. (2014). Tracing Textual Poachers: Reflections on the development of fan studies and
digital fandom. Journal of Fandom Studies. [online] 2(1), Av ailable at: [04/02/18]

 Chen, X. Yu, H. W Gentry, J. Yu, F. (2017). Complaint or Recommendation? The impact of

customers' state and trait goal orientations on customer engagement behaviours. Journal of
Consumer Behav iour: An International Research Rev iew. [print] 16(2),

 Constantine, V. (2006). Film Remakes. Edinburgh: Univ ersity of Edinburgh [01/02/18]

 Emery, L. (2002). Teaching Art in a Postmodern World: Theories, Teacher Reflections and
Interpretive Frameworks. [ebook] Altona: Common Ground Publishing Pty Ltd. Av ailable at:
v &sig=b4xdIpKX4AgmTM56msXri6n46Tg&hl=en&sa=X&v ed=0ahUKEwi-
1e7GkLLZAhWIA8AKHYukDgsQ6AEIjgEwDA#v =onepage&q&f=false [19/02/18]

 Ford, S. (2014). Fan Studies: Grappling with a 'Undisciplined' Discipline. Journal of Fandom
Studies. [online] 2(1), Av ailable at: [04/02/18]

 Gourmelos, T. J Gunkel, D. (2012). Transgression 2.0: Media, Culture and the Politics of a Digital
Age. 1st ed. [ebook] New York: The continuum international Publishing Group. Av ailable at: b3WiPWw2IC&printsec=frontcov er&source=gbs_ge_su
mmary_r&cad=0#v =onepage&q&f=false [02/02/18]

 Hitchcock, A. (1976). 96-Minute 'Masterclass' Interview with Alfred Hitchcock on Filmmaking.


 H Smith, G. Moore, M. (2015). Individualism: A Reader. [ebook] Washington: Cato Institute.

Av ailable at: e-
ebooks/reader.action?docID=2010880&query= [01/02/18]

 Kajema, E. (2016) The Disgusting, The Formless and the Abject in Art. [blog] ArtTerritory.
Available at:
the_disgusting,_the_formless_and_the_abject_in_art/ [07/02/18]

 Mead, R. (2014). The Scourge of Relatability. The New Yorker. [online] Available at: [17/02/2018]
 Newman, J. (2017). Why Postmodern Art is Vacant. Quilette. [online] Available at: [19/02/2018]

 Waters, J. (1981). Shock Value: A Tasteful Book about Bad Taste. [print] New York: Delta.

 Zinoman, J. (2011). Shock Value. [print] The Penguin Press: New York [02/02/18]