Thesis Dump :: Pastiche
Part II: Pastiche as Technique
The word “pastiche” here dually connotes imitation and collection. Pastiche imitation appears frequently as non-satirical work done as homage: for example, Raymond Chandler’s adoption and extension of Dashiell Hammett’s work or the sculptures and paintings of Takashi Murakami. The second meaning of pastiche is that of a collection, hodgepodge, or jumble. Quentin Tarantino – in his sampling and recombining of grind house and blaxploitation films—falls into this category. As is perhaps evident in these examples, the concept of pastiche circumscribed by the thesis conflicts with Frederic Jameson’s definition of pastiche as “a neutral practice of … mimicry, without any of parody’s ulterior motives, amputated of the satiric impulse, devoid of laughter” (Jameson, 17). Although pastiche is not ironic, as Tarantino and Chandler demonstrate it need not be humorless; neither the outcome and nor the intention of pastiche is neutrality. Implicitly, pastiche requires both intention and curation. In Tarantino’s case for example, the director has deliberately sampled from outside the established canon of films, curating his own canon of “B-flicks”, borrowing not only characters (and sometimes actors and actresses) but also plots, pacing, cinematography and other formal devices from these films. Tarantino’s juxtaposition of Greenburgian notions of avant-garde and kitsch are evident in a variety of other media— “low-art” or mass culture reused as “high-art”. Although architecture has made attempts to incorporate this paradigm into built work, mechanisms of kitsch like pastiche have required a timeline and economy that hindered their production. By the time kitsch is built, it is no longer kitsch.