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Themesicon: navigation pathSound and Imageicon: navigation pathMontage/Sampling/Morphing

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an extended but not really publicly accessible media campfire, which McLuhan discovered in the television set.

Image: Morphing

In conclusion I would like to mention a third term, which to me describes precisely this current relation between de facto changed cultural production, the new technology used to effect it, and the world of ideas, the euphoria and the ideology belonging to it. The term is morphing. Morphing is a conglomerate of new technology and new aesthetics—which has similarly left its mark on technically advanced cinema, the music clip, and the commercial— with an ideological content that can be interpreted in various ways. Like montage, morphing is more universal and hegemonial and thus belongs to a different pole of power than subcultural sampling.

On the other hand, morphing is even more closely linked to particular contents than montage and sampling are, at least at first glance. From Michael Jackson's ethnomorphing (»Black or white« from 1991) to the Dalmatian in the commercial who transforms into


a nominally good-looking woman for a Duplo chocolate bar to the morphing monsters out of the terminator films of this world: it is about effects that have always known an idiom, an ideological figure, a prejudice, a popular point. The character of morphed sequences is always more similar to an effect than to a construction, i.e. it is always a matter of something invariably known and unexpectedly brought about. It is not a matter of something new that has been comprehensibly inferred.

These invariably known images, however, are also present in the early period of montage, at least in the photomontage. Parallel to the attempt to dialectically produce something new or familiarly unknown in the relations in the montage through constructive combination, which the Soviet montage artists claimed for themselves, there were the American advertisers who worked with very flat jokes by e.g. having someone actually hold his nose to a grindstone, thus making use of a stock phrase and presenting it to the public for recognition. Or there were the dwarfs in the shaver commercial who populated a man's chin and checked it for nicks or overlooked hairs. Morphing is

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