The spectacle is society’s fascination with images through a social perspective. The spectacle takes people away from the reality of life and into the world of images. People believe in the world of images and often times live through the images/ They want to become what they see, and then believe what they see is what they need. “The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images.” (Society of the Spectacle, 4) Debourd explains that we think that the spectacle is a collection of images but it is more than that, it is society’s obsession with images. “All that once lived has become a mere representation” Society is consumed by images. With society’s obsessions with images they lose the real life connection to the real world
Debord describes the spectacle as images that society vicariously lives through. The relationship between society and images is that they use images, as a way to escape and those producing the images are the ones controlling society’s need and wants. They produce the images with the intent for consumers to buy what they don’t need. “The alienation of the spectator to the profit of the contemplated object (which is the result of his own unconscious activity) is expressed in the following way: the more he contemplates the less he lives; the more he accepts recognizing himself in the dominant images of need, the less he understands his own existence and his own desires. The externality of the spectacle in relation to the active man appears in the fact that his own gestures are no longer his but those of another who represents them to him. This is why the spectator feels at home nowhere, because the spectacle is everywhere.” (Society of the Spectacle, 30) Here we understand the idea of supply and demand. Society falls under this pressure to conform to the production of images. The more society lives through these images the less they become involved in the real world. Individuals are so captured by images that they become less of themselves and eventually lose who they are. Which relates back to the specific line “This is why the spectator feels at home nowhere, because the spectacle is everywhere” Images are everywhere and it’s hard for one to feel like they belong when they will relate to anything; that is everywhere.
The impact images have on society has the same affect for years but it appears as time progresses the amount of people it impacts and how they choose to get the images to impact consumers changes drastically. Images now are produced to target a certain person, and often times the images give the consumers a false illusion. The illusion that they can become that image, however the image is impossible to become. The illusion also fails to represent everything and everyone. It is hardly realistic, and that is why Deburd argues that society lives in a dream.
The spectacle as a commodity represents the spectacle putting value on things. The spectator is a reflection of images. The spectacle has the power to make the spectator believe that they can be the spectacle. In media now, we deal with convergence. Convergence is transforming media into different forms of relaying information to the public. This makes it that much easier for the spectator to quickly try to become the spectacle. With convergence we are getting more images out to the public. With the Internet, instagram, twitter, and other various forms of social media, we can create thousands of images a day. The problem with that is that now people have so much more images to lose themselves in. Along with the progress of convergence, researchers and advertisers have found ways to study how the spectator takes in information and images. With the progress of the research of the psychological impact images have an individual. Images are now created with the intent to specifically target a specific audience, and they know various tactics on how to lure in the spectator.
The commodity is the general expression the reality vs. image. Its relation to the spectacle it stresses the wants and needs of the spectator. Commodity puts value on the spectacle, making it appear that much more important. “The spectacle is the other side of money: it is the general abstract equivalent of all commodities. Money dominated society as the representation of general equivalence, namely, of the exchangeability of different goods whose uses could not be compared. The spectacle is the developed modern complement of money where the totality of the commodity world appears as a whole, as a general equivalence for what the entire society can be and can do. The spectacle is the money, which one only looks at, because in the spectacle the totality of use is already exchanged for the totality of abstract representation. The spectacle is not only the servant of pseudo-use, it is already in itself the pseudo-use of life.” (Society of the Spectacle, 49) This quote does an excellent job in explaining how commodity relates to the spectacle. As money dominates society, the spectacle dominates society in the same sense that it gets the attention of so many people. It has become the necessity in everyone lives. It has become impossible for society to live without the spectacle. They depend on the spectacle to fulfill their desires and needs.