Below you’ll find all sorts of good things that I’ve been reading and watching (or at least meaning to) over the past fortnight or so… In contrast to previous weekend collections, I’ve mixed up articles and videos – a practice that I think I’ll continue on coming weekends – but I have tried to assemble everything into some kind of narrative. That said, do feel free simply to dive in anywhere.
PS. After my slightly self-pitying post yesterday, my aim is to return to a daily post – with another The Year in TV contribution tomorrow, this time about 1962, and then on Tuesday a kind of back-to-work piece about Illuminations’ plans for the coming months. (If I announce these posts here, that will act as a kind of prompt for me to complete them.)
• Stuart Hood obituary: Brian Winston’s elegant piece for the Guardian is far too short (not his fault, I’m certain) to do justice to this remarkable figure, who was Controller of Programmes, Television at the BBC under Hugh Carleton-Greene at the start of the 1960s; Stuart also wrote one of the key books about the medium, was a committed Marxist, a great linguist and translator, an influential educator and a profoundly warm and wise and generous man.
• The Universal Clock – the Resistance of Peter Watkins, 2001: thanks to the far-sightedness of the National Film Board of Canada, Geoff Bowie’s profile of the radical filmmaker is freely available online – and well worth a watch; Watkins was a profoundly influential figure in British television in the 1960s.
• Live from the Moon – Film, Television and the Space Race: for the BUFVC’s Viewfinder Kate O’Riordan reviews Michael Allen’s new book about the role of television in the space race.
• The ghosts in the living room: another completely essential post from Adam Curtis, about ghosts and suburbia and television and the extraordinary 1992 drama Ghostwatch.
• Elliott Carter’s music of time: Charles Rosen’s short but erudite post for The New York Review of Books has added audio.
• Après Merce:… and while we’re there, do also take a look at Alma Guillermoprieto marking the final performance (which was last night) of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.
• The chill of disillusion: T. J. Clark in the London Review of Books does some dazzling close reading of the two Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci currently at the National Gallery.
• The 22 best infographics that we found in 2011: some amazing visualisations, collated for Fast Company by Suzanne Labarre.
• SocialGuide’s year-end look at social TV: Lost Remote picks up the Brooklyn-based company’s inforgraphic – Most Social TV Series? Jersey Shore.
• Best TV of 2011: the ever-reliable Jason Mittell’s choice.
• From Drive to Melancholia: here’s why 2011 marked a shift in the history of cinematography: filmmaker Jamie Stuart at IndieWire (with some good Comments too).
• Fantomas over Paris, episode 1: a remarkable project from the Cine-Tourist (dedicated to the connections between maps and films) identifying the Parisian locations and exploring the social history from the first Fantomas serial (thanks to The Bioscope’s hugely useful new Scoop.it site).
• The ten best films of… 1921: David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson make their annual choice of the masterworks from ninety years ago.
• Apropos appropriation: Randy Kennedy for The New York Times is really good on Richard Prince, copyright, fair use and the rest.
• EU copyright on Joyce’s work ends at midnight: The Irish Times reports on James Joyce’s writing emerging from copyright – the writer’s estate was held by many academics and others to be far too restrictive and controlling with regard to permissions and quotations, so as @ubuweb so neatly responded, ‘Fuck you Stephen Joyce’.
• The coming war on general computation – the copyright law was just the beginning: for non-techies (yes, that’s me) Cory Doctorow’s recent powerful speech at 28C3 isn’t the easiest read (there’s a 55-minute video here), but it is IMPORTANT – as is @billt elaboration, Preparing for the coming war on general computation.