Ways of Seeing

22 03 2010

First episode

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Second episode – female nude

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Third episode -oil painting

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Fourth Episode – Advertising

Ways of Seeing is a 1972 BBC four-part television series of 30 minute films created chiefly by writer John Berger and producer Mike Dibb. Berger’s scripts were adapted into a book of the same name. The series and book criticize traditional Western cultural aesthetics by raising questions about hidden ideologies in visual images. The series is partially a response to Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation series, which represents a more traditionalist view of the Western artistic and cultural canon.

The book Ways of Seeing was made by Berger and Dibb, along with Sven Blomberg, Chris Fox, and Richard Hollis.  The book consists of seven numbered essays: four using words and images; and three essays using only images.The book has contributed to feminist readings of popular culture, through essays that focus particularly on depictions of women in advertisements and oil paintings. Ways of Seeing is considered to be a seminal text for current studies of visual culture and art history.

The first part of the television series drew on ideas from Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” arguing that through reproduction an old master painting’s modern context is severed from that which existed at the time of its making. The second film discusses the female nude. Berger asserts that only twenty or thirty old masters depict a woman as herself rather than as a subject of male idealisation or desire. The third programme is on the use of oil paint as a means of depicting or reflecting the status of the individuals who commissioned the work of art. In the fourth programme, on publicity and advertising, Berger argues that colour photography has taken over the role of oil paint, though the context is reversed. An idealised potential for the viewer (via consumption) is considered a substitution for the actual reality depicted in old master portraits.





1983: The Brink Of Apocalypse

10 03 2010

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This documentary focuses on 8 November 1983, a date now recognised as one of the most dangerous moments in the entire history of the Cold War. On this near-fateful day, a series of accidents nearly unleashed the Third World War. Senior figures in the Soviet Union had convinced themselves that they were about to come under nuclear attack from the West, and the vast Soviet nuclear arsenal of missiles, bombers and submarines were put on maximum alert, ready to launch a full nuclear retaliatory attack on Western Europe and the US. Armageddon beckoned. This documentary tells the dramatic story behind this sequence of events when Soviet fingers hovered perilously over the nuclear button. The intelligence communities in the US, Europe and the former USSR have never before admitted to the scale of this crisis.





Bush Family Fortunes (2003) Gregory Palast

24 02 2010

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Documentary about the rise of the Bush family. There’s no mention of Satan, N.W.A.,  Illuminati or world dominating lizards though. So you won’t hear Carmina Burana (but there is a little Black Sabbath at the end.)

Gregory Allyn Palast (born June 26, 1952) is a New York Times-bestselling author and a journalist for the British Broadcasting Corporation as well as the British newspaper The Observer. frequently his work  focuses on corporate malfeasance but has also been known to work with labor unions and consumer advocacy groups. Notably, he has claimed to have uncovered evidence that Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, and Florida Elections Unit Chief Clay Roberts, along with the ChoicePoint corporation, rigged the ballots during the US Presidential Election of 2000 and again in 2004 when, he argued, the problems and machinations from 2000 continued, and that challenger John Kerry actually would have won if not for disproportional “spoilage” of Democratic votes.

full wiki article





How Music Works – Howard Goodall

11 02 2010

PART I – MELODY

In this film composer Howard Goodall looks at melody’s basic elements. Why are some melodic shapes common to all cultures across the world? Can successful melodies be written at random? If not, what are the familiar melodic patterns composers of all types of music have fallen back on again and again, and why do they work?

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PART II – RHYTHM

In this film Howard looks at the common rhythmic patterns used by musicians from all cultures, from Brahms to rappers, from the founders of Cuban son to Philip Glass, from Stevie Wonder to Fats Waller.

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PART III – HARMONY

Chords led to chord progressions, and Howard looks at how familiar patterns of chord progressions give all kinds of music from classical to popular their sense of forward movement. Why do the same chord patterns appear again and again, from Renaissance Italy to the latest chart hit?

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PART IV – BASS

Howard looks at the dark horse of the musical family, and its use in the hands of such diverse musical talents as Johann (and Richard) Strauss, John Philip Sousa, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Albinoni, Bach and Motown’s resident bass maestro, James Jamerson.





The Environment

31 01 2010

A selection of videos addressing the state of the environment

HOME

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Noam Chomsky: Human Destiny

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An Inconvenient Truth

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Journey to the Center of a Triangle (1976)

29 01 2010

‘Journey to the Center of a Triangle’ (1976) 8m, dir. Bruce & Katharine Cornwell. A  film by the Cornwells, created on the Tektronics 4051 Graphics Terminal.  One of a series of animated constructions that determine the center of a variety of triangles, including such centers as circumcenter, incenter, centroid and orthocenter.





Congruent Triangles (1977)

29 01 2010

Bruce and Katharine Cornwell are primarily known for a series of remarkable animated films on the subject of geometry. Created on the Tektronics 4051 Graphics Terminal, they are brilliant short films, tracing Klee-like geometric shapes to intriguing music, including the memorable ‘Bach meets Third Steam Jazz’ musical score in ‘Congruent Triangles.’ In this melding of art and science, the Cornwells create a quasi-hypnotic take on a mathematical construct.