Links to catch up, 2

Links to catch up, 2

A explanation, of sorts, for my absence, is in the complementary post to this, as are recommended film and TV links from the past month or so. Today, before we get back to the blog in earnest, here are further links, of literature and Ladybird Books, of peep shows (as above) and digital culture and more.

Thousands of years of visual culture made free through Wellcome Images: it’s wonderfully welcome news that the Wellcome Foundation has made freely available more than 100,000 images under a Creative Commons license; the details are in this post, and the full credit for the wonderful image above is as follows:

L0031022 Looking at a Peep show in the street, Peking (detail)
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images
images@wellcome.ac.uk     http://wellcomeimages.org
A Manchu girl, wearing platform shoes, and a Manchu bannerman, in
his sheepskin coat,stand looking at a travelling Peep show.
The showman is wearing winter dress made of coarse cotton cloth.
Peking, Pechili Province, China.
Photograph 1869 By: John Thomson
Gold and Platinum-toned albumen print by Michael Gray, 1997
Published:  -
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 2.0


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Links to catch up, 1

Links to catch up, 1

Nearly a month and not a single new post. Given the time of year, I might have expected things to have been quiet, leaving plenty of time for the blog. But not a bit of it. I have started work on the next two cinema broadcasts for the RSC’s Live from Stratford-upon-Avon. At Illuminations we have been busy developing new broadcast ideas and working on a project for the Science Museum. Distribution of our DVD box-set of An Age of Kings continues. And I have been writing two journal articles, a book review for Sight & Sound, preparing a Screen Plays season for BFI

, editing archive material for Tate Britain’s exhibition about Kenneth Clark in May, and teaching some classes at the Royal College of Art. Today, I’m taking part in a Q&A after a special encore screening at the Barbican of Richard II Live from Stratford-upon-Avon, which coincides with the end of the show’s stage run. So I’ve not been idle, just not contributing here – and not being very active with social media either. To start again, however, here is the first of two collections of links that have engaged me recently, with a concentration today on those related to television (including HBO’s True Detective, above) and cinema.
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2013 top ten, 5: Simon Field

2013 top ten, 5: Simon Field

At the end of every year each of us at Illuminations and at our sister company Illuminations Films contributes a top ten of cultural highlights of the year. We run these through this holiday period, with the third contribution today from Illuminations Films’ Simon Field. Thank you, Simon. Happy new year to you – and to all!

1. The Encyclopedic Palace

It was a very strong year for the Venice Biennale and several of the exhibitions in Venice would warrant inclusion in notable experiences of 2013: the marvellous, carefully curated Edouard Manet show – with its room of still lives the least of its pleasures – Jeremy Deller’s British Pavilion, the Anthony Caro condensed retrospective of substantial works.But I’d highlight the main show in the central pavilion of the Giardini and then continued (somewhat exhaustingly it has to be admitted) in the Arsenale: the Massimiliano Gioni-curated The Encyclopedic Palace (above). Echoing in some of its participants, outsider artists that we’ve seen in shows in London this last year (at the Hayward and the Wellcome Collection), it included an endlessly fascinating collection of encyclopedic visions of the world, strange collections and personal cosmologies from the mystical to the wittily everyday (Fischli and Weiss).
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2013 top ten, 4: Todd MacDonald

2013 top ten, 4: Todd MacDonald

At the end of every year each of us at Illuminations and at our sister company Illuminations Films contributes a top ten of cultural highlights of the year. We run these through this holiday period, with the fourth contribution today from filmmaker and facilities manager Todd Macdonald. 

1. Cirque De Soleil: Kooza, Royal Albert Hall

This was probably one of the most heart stopping live performances I have ever seen. Some of the acrobatics seemed so unnatural for any human to be able to achieve that it almost didn’t feel real to watch. It was the spinning wheels that looked like a giant rotary cheese grater act that stole the show. Two men scaled it’s frame whilst it span at speed, performing skips and flips in the brief moments they were at the top of it’s rotation. The trailer gives you a pretty good idea of how amazing the Cirque De Soleil is; utterly jaw dropping.


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Links for the weekend

Links for the weekend

Across the past fortnight Royal Opera House director of opera Kasper Holten has been posting a video diary of his rehearsals towards a new production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni which opens on 1 February. (The image above is a detail from the playbill of the opera’s Vienna premiere in 1788.) Holten has taped three episodes to date and they make a fascinating contrast with the production diaries created by Royal Shakespeare Company for Richard II. Holten’s pieces are shorter, far simpler – to date, just him filming himself speaking to camera – and strongly authored, as this first one demonstrates. I have embedded the other two across the jump, along with a clutch of additional links for this last weekend of 2013. Thanks for Twitter tips to @StephensSimon, @pkerwood, @KeyframeDaily@lukemckernan@manovich and @melissaterras.


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Links for the holidays

Links for the holidays

Neglected for the past few days, this blog needs a good deal of tlc over the coming days. On the way: a Postcard from Paris, comments on Schalcken the Painter and the Illuminations team’s top tens of the year. Here, however, is what will eventually be a bumper bunch of links to keep you engaged across these out-of-time days. First, a true treat from The British Library – the Mechanical Curator flickr collection of more than a million images identified from 19th century books, extracted and uploaded under a Creative Commons licence. Associated is the Twitter feed @MechCuratorBot which posts one of these images every hour (I’m bemused why it currently has only 142 followers). Curator Ben O’Steen (not a bot) has a blog post about the initiative, as does his BL colleague Luke McKernan. More coverage here from GeneralisingThe project is great in all sorts of ways, some of which will become clearer in 2014 – and is a kind of delightful Xmas present to us all. Across the jump, further links with seasonal thanks due to @Criterion, @henrymoorefdn and @KeygrameDaily.
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Links for the weekend

Links for the weekend

I was in Ghent over the weekend – at an excellent symposium about arts documentaries – and as a consequence I am behind with my posting schedule. I aim to build my list of links across today and also to to post a first Belgian blog. One place to start, at least for those of us interested in television and performance, is news of NBC’s live (yes, truly live) broadcast last week (at a reported cost of ¢9 million) of the stage musical The Sound of Music (above). Who would have thought it – and who would have thought that, despite a critical and Twitter-storm mauling, it would have been a ratings smash? Despatches from Charlotte Alter at Time, Lisa de Moraes for Deadline Hollywood (‘live TV is wonderfully messy’), Jaimie Etkin for BuzzfeedLindsey Weber, Kyle Buchanan and Amanda Dobbins for Vulture, and also for Vulture Josef Adalian. Disappointingly, the links are all geo-locked but the stills give you a good sense of what it looked like – which, for television in 2013, is strange. I look forward to further analysis. Meanwhile, there are more links across the jumps, with thanks this week to @zimbalist@annehelen, @audiovisualcy and @filmstudiesff.
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Links for the weekend

Links for the weekend

Along with occasional grumpiness about the BBC’s treatment of its archive, let’s also celebrate how more and more of the Corporation’s history is being made available in all kinds of ways. Newly released online, for example, and intended to be there in perpetuity, is the 1946 radio broadcast written and produced by Louis MacNeice, The Dark Tower. This is a legendary Quest drama which was, as the BBC web site says, ‘suggested by Robert Browning’s poem Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came‘. (The painting above is Thomas Moran’s 1859 visualisation of the Browning.) With music by Benjamin Britten The Dark Tower is an innovative, complex, disturbing and astonishing work which 67 years after its first broadcast more than deserves 73 minutes of your time. It has been made available as part of the Modern Classical Music archive collection which features other wonders as well. And for additional links (with thanks this week to @rachelcoldicutt, @annehelen@AdrianMartin25 and @ProfShakespeare), click across the jump.
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Links for the weekend

Links for the weekend

Two weeks ago I composed a compendious round-up of links about Gravity which included Neil Young’s essay Satellite of love – Jonás Cuarón’s Aningaaq. In this Young writes about the short by Cuarón fils that shows the other side of the radio conversation that astronaut Ryan Stone (played by Sandra Bullock) has with a man who turns out to be the eponymous Inuit fisherman (above):

Aningaaq the short fills in the gaps of the strangers’ extended conversation – a precarious affair relying on the most tenuous of technological links – chiefly for the viewer’s benefit. In Gravity, the character Aningaaq is simply a voice crackling over the ether, with a background of howling wind, husky-dogs and occasional baby-cries; but in the film that bears his name we get to see his face, his clothes, his environment, his family (wife and child), his dogs. And we see nothing of Stone.

Thrillingly, Aningaaq has now been made available online, and I embed it here. Across the jump, there are lots more links about television, film, performance and digital media, with thanks for tips to @pabinkley, @polyg and @DavidjHendy.


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Links for the weekend

Links for the weekend

With the RSC Live from Stratford-upon-Avon broadcast on Wednesday, it’s been a busy and fairly intense week. One lovely and sort-of-related online offering this week is the full audio track from the RSC’s Midsummer Night’s Dreaming event with Google back in the summer, which is now available on SoundCloud. Which gives me an excuse to showcase the image above from a recent Radio 3 blog post which is a detail from a publicity image of a 1937 BBC television production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  And what else can I find in scrabbling around among its online ruins? Across the jump is a selection, including some for which thanks are due to @stevenbjohnson, @matlock@drszucker, @KeyframeDaily and @ProfShakespeare.
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