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UAL Research Online

Fashion, Fetish and Spectacle; The Matrix Dresses Up - And Down

Church Gibson, Pamela (2005) Fashion, Fetish and Spectacle; The Matrix Dresses Up - And Down. In: The Matrix Trilogy: Cyberpunk Reloaded. Wallflower Press, UK, pp. 114-125. ISBN 1904764320

Type of Research: Book Section
Creators: Church Gibson, Pamela

The popularity of the MATRIX trilogy of films has generated considerable critical interest, including an essay by leading theorist Slavoj Zizek. However, most of the work within the field of cinema studies has tended to focus on the philosophical implications of these films set within two worlds, one of which is a computer-generated artificial reality. This essay, by contrast, focuses on issues of spectacle, consumption, and gendered display; in taking this completely new approach, it thus sheds a different light on the way in which the films work and assesses how these aspects of the films problematise the existing discussions of the films in terms of concepts such as ‘hyper-reality’.

The research is governed by three questions. Drawing on the work of the philosopher Alain Badieu (not yet translated from French), the essay investigates the kind of cinematic spectacle that the films provide. Second, it asks questions about the role of costuming in the construction of cinematic spectacle and the presentation of gender. Finally, it seeks to identify the marketing strategies employed in promoting the film. In this way, the essay seeks to answer questions concerning the role of cinematic spectacle in feeding consumer demands for clothes and other commodities.

The primary sources of the research are the film itself and material on the film’s promotion and marketing. The analysis involves a combination of textual analysis with theoretical work drawn from feminist theory, French political theory and cultural readings of ‘fashion.’ In this way, the discussion seeks to integrate textual analysis with an understanding of the ways in which films – and the costumes employed in them - become objects of cultural consumption.

Additional Information (Publicly available):

Pamela Church Gibson

Research Interests

Film and fashion, History and heritage, Cities and consumption, Gender and spectacle

Current Research

I have continued my work around the complex relationship between film, fashion, fandom and the contemporary star system. I am now moving into new interdisciplinary territory as I examine the relationship between cities, cinema, consumption and gendering the post-war period as part of my contribution to and role within the ESRC funded project, ‘Shopping Routes’ for which I have two articles awaiting publication and am helping to organise an exhibition at the V&A. In the wider remit of gender studies, contemporary critical theory and cinema, I have completed and published various essays. I have also published a complete reworking of an earlier BFI anthology, this one entitled ‘More Dirty Looks: Gender, Pornography and Power’ (2004) for which I commissioned twelve new essays, half of them from American academics, while myself writing a completely new 'Introduction'. I am also currently writing a book entitled ‘Cities, Cinema and Consumption in the Post-War Period’.

Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: Wallflower Press
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Fashion
Date: 2005
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2009 21:38
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2010 08:32
Item ID: 1738
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1738

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