Links for the holidays

22nd December 2012

Over the past couple of days there has been a lot of buzz about Snow fall – the avalanche at Tunnel Creek, written by John Branch for The New York Times. But ‘written by’ is only part of this true story of a group of trapped skiers, which across a multi-part feature is a dazzling web narrative combining text, images, video, audio, slide-shows and truly remarkable integrated graphics. This is state-of-the-art multi-media, and something you can spend hours with over the holidays. And for background on how it was put together, see Jeff Sonderman’s feature for Poynter. For further productive ways to pass the next few days, see the links across the jump (h/ts this week to, among others, @manovich@lukemckernan@KeyframeDaily, @holland_tom and @juliaLupton) – and then on Christmas Eve we start our Illuminations ‘top tens’ of the year.

Robert Paul in London c.1900 – tour guide and film maker: a wonderful post by The Cine-Tourist that starts from a pamphlet produced by the film pioneer that recommends sites to photograph in London – and then spins off (with great images) into a riff on topography, memory, advertising, set design and a lost obelisk.

A dose of DOS – trade secrets from Selznick: David Bordwell digs away in the David O Selznick archive at the Harry Ransom Research Center at the University of Texas.

• The prosaic sublime of Béla Tarr: Rose McLaren at The White Review on the director’s who she finds ‘a hopeful cynic or scatological mystic, whose films are as aggressively earthbound as they are inspiring.’

The trembling upper world – on Siegfried Kracauer: J. Hoberman writes for The Nation about the influential German film critic…

Tolkien vs technology: … and for The New York Review of Books about Peter Jackson’s epic (by which he is decidedly unimpressive).

48 fps and beyond – how high frame rate affects perception: Wesley Fenlon at endeavour to answer ‘an important, and extremely complicated, question about how we perceive film: Why does 48 frames per second look so weird?’

The innate irresistibility of film: at Scientific American Maria Konnikova provides an overview of cognition studies of cinema.

Going to the cinema: Luke McKernan watches Amour and thinks of other things, ‘of the strange rituals involved in seeing a film. Once it was an act of faith, now it is an act of remembrance. What did that film mean, and why did I see it? I knew these things once, but now no more.’

Homeland is anything but homophobic: ‘While there are shows that traffic in ethnic and religious stereotypes and promote superficial moral thinking, [Homeland] simply isn’t one of them – Yair Rosenberg for The Atlantic.

The Walking Dead showrunner drama – is this the end of auteur TV?: The Huffington Post‘s television critic Maureen Ryan is very interesting on the possible demise of the showrunner.

The DVDs and Blu-rays of 2012: authoritative and quirky recommendations by 28 critics compiled by Sight & Sound; for a parallel – and comparably interesting – selection, see also The Digital Fix DVDs and Blu-rays of 2012.

My year watching Shakespeare: Stuart Ian Burns, who Tweets as @feelinglistless and @shakespearelogs, and who runs The Hamlet Weblog (among other blogs) delights in ‘an excellent year watching Shakespeare’.

A great feast of languages: Mark Thornton Burnett’s new book is Shakespeare and World Cinema, and he is interviewed here by Colleen Kennedy for The Shakespeare Bulletin.

The eccentric monk and his typewriter: one of the first exhibitions I can remember seeing was a small show of the ‘concrete poetry’ of Dom Sylvester Houédard at the V&A in 1971; I’ve been intrigued about his work ever since and here Alice Rawsthorne reviews a new book about him for The New York Times.

Tenzing on the summit of Everest: our friend and colleague Mick Conefrey has started a blog that is mostly concerned with mountaineering – and this is a really good piece about images of the conquest of the world’s highest mountain in 1953.

Owen Hatherley on photography and modern architecture: good to see the new blog from The Photographers’ Gallery getting into its stride with this piece about media and modernism (although maybe the straplines don’t need to be quite so, um, literal).

•  Inventing Abstraction, 1910-1925: now just how much do we want to see this new show at MoMA, New York? For the moment, however, we’ll make do with When the future became now, Roberta Smith’s review for The New York Times and the paper’s tantalising slideshow, not to mention a free download of pages from the catalogue.

How he got it right: Andrew Hacker for The New York Review of Books on predictions of the Presidential election by Nate Silver and others.

A more perfect union, part 1: Sasha Issenberg in the MIT Technology Review is excellent on ‘how President Obama’s campaign used big data to rally individual voters.

Crowds are not people, my friend: Maggie Koerth-Baker for The New York Times on the fallacy of treating crowds as sentient beings.

The Academy In Peril – A symposium on Toby Miller’s “Blow Up the Humanities”: at the Los Angeles Review of Books three authors provide richly interesting responses to Miller’s provocative thoughts about where the future of the humanities.

Musical chairs with Ribbentrop: from the London Review of Books, Bee Wilson on Nancy, Lady Astor.

Postscript – Charles Rosen: Jeremy Denk remembers the great critic for The New Yorker.

Joy: a truly gorgeous Zadie Smith essay, from The New York Review of Books.

Heavy petting – the political use and abuse of animals on TV: you could spend much of your Christmas with this remarkable post from the ever-remarkable BBC blog by Adam Curtis.

The basement: a strange and lovely and uncategorisable feature about the past and pipes and memories and more; from via @mathewi and @RobinSloan.

… and why not? Here’s Judy Garland in Meet Me in St Louis (1944)


  1. […] a clutch of terrific links, John Wyver passes along a pair of articles for those who like a little scientific rigor in their cinema studies. At Mythbuster’s Tested […]

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