Sunday links

Sunday links

Perhaps you have all already seen Adam Curtis’ latest post, Dream on (it’s been up a week), but if not you have to take a look now. It tells what he describes as ‘an odd, romantic, but ultimately very sad story… [about] a pessimistic belief that all one’s dreams for a better future are just illusions – and [suggests] how that pessimism then came to paralyse the left in Britain throughout the eighties and nineties.’ The cast list for this saga of the sixties is extraordinary: activist and agent Clive Goodwin, painter (and Goodwin’s wife) Pauline Boty (above), filmmaker Ken Russell, philosopher Herbert Marcuse, writer Nigel Kneale, radical Michael X and the nineteenth century utopian writer Charles Fourier. Adam Curtis illustrates his story with some glorious archive extracts – and if you surrender youself to its twists and turns, his story should make you both sad and angry. Across the jump, more links to good stuff…

The future of the left: if you want to pursue the potential suggested by Curtis, you could do worse than read this fascinating interview with political theorist Robert Unger – ‘My view is that all the fundamental problems of the European societies, and the world as a whole, require the reinvention of the conventional institutional arrangements for the organization of democracies, market economies, and civil societies.’ (thanks to the always excellent The Browser)

Pordenone round-up: an invaluable page of links to The Bioscope’s invaluable reports from the Giornate del Cinema Muto silent film festival.

Labouring in the shadow of Hollywood: Manohla Dargis in The New York Times on the history of avant-garde film in Los Angeles.

Triangulating the rust-belt – notes on Tony Scott’s Unstoppable: I’ve mentioned before what a truly interesting film Scott’s runaway train movie is, and here are some reflections by Daniel Kasman to suggest exactly why.

The deaths of cinema, cont.: most of this short post is an extended quote from the doyen of cinematographers, Roger Deakins, talking about the Arri Alexa digital camera – ‘with the Alexa I believe digital has finally surpassed film in terms of quality’; coming from him, that’s a big statement.

You are my density: terrific post from David Bordwell about the idea of scenic density – ‘Most films today don’t fully exploit the visual dimension of cinema.’

Opinion: the 2012 Olympic artists posters: terrific Creative Review blog post by Patrick Burgoyne (beautifully illustrated) about the newly released posters and their historical context – great images from Munich 1972.

Katy Perry – the very good, the very bad: super-smart post about the polysemy of Ms Perry from Anne Helen Petersen’s blog, celebrity gossip, academic style.

Critical discourse in the digital humanities: very interesting post by Fred Gibbs about the role and nature of criticism in digital humanities.

The future of dance criticism: interesting defence by Ismene Brown of theartsdesk of the traditional critic in this age of culture 2.0 – ‘I’m increasingly persuaded … that the true function of a formal dance review is to light a flame.’

Never mind the bollocks, here’s the future of TV criticism: ‘boob tube dude’ tells it like it is, or might be – more reflections on criticism 2.0, this time in relation to the small screen (thanks to @jmittell).

The new patterns of culture – fast, slow and spiky: Matt Locke is well worth reading on his favourite topic, attention – ‘The ways in which audiences’ attention can be driven to new culture is infinitely more complex than in the late 20th century.’

• Birthday blogging: a thoughtful and positive post from Jason Mittell about five years of blogging as a television academic – ‘I can say with certainty that no professional decision has had more of an impact on my career than starting this blog, aside from the major geographical & personal shifts of choosing a graduate school and accepting a job.’