Links for the weekend

17th March 2013

Let’s hear it for LACMA! On the Unframed blog at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Amy Heibel revealed this week that the museum is making available for pretty much unrestricted use another 18,000 or so digital images of objects from its collection (including Wrestlers by Thomas Eakins, 1899, a detail of which is above). This is a great initiative and one that should be emulated by all of our public museums over here, and for more see Amy’s post What do cats have to do with it?, which is also about LACMA’s new Collections website:

Why would a museum give away images of its art? As [director] Michael Govan often says, it’s because our mission is to care for and share those works of art with the broadest possible public. The logical, radical extension of that is to open up our treasure trove of images… So far, we have yet to hear of a situation where one of our public domain artworks has been misused or abused.

Across the jump, many more links from the past week.

• The Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign: hot topic of the week on Twitter and elsewhere has been the decision by creator Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell from the three-seasons-only television series to seek crowd-funding for a mainstream movie; the debate on blogs and elsewhere has been richly revealing, and has included the following:

Why the world needs a Kickstarter Veronica Mars movie: James Poniewozick reports for Time.

Veronica Mars Kickstarts a movie project: Willa Paskin at Salon: ‘If this Kickstarter project succeeds it will be a model for huge corporations and creators to continue making shows based not on the size of the audience, but on the passion of that audience.’

• Crowdfunding the Veronica Mars movie: Kieron Masterton offers his two penny worth: ‘I would rather see a world where fans green light movies and vote with their wallet than watch Hollywood continue to throw endless shit onto our screens in the hope that something will stick.’

The Veronica Mars Kickstarter problem, and ours: S. T. VanAirsdale on the numbers of this ‘utterly uncreative creativity’.

Mars Landing: Chuck Tryon follows up an earlier, and similarly interesting, post, Kickstarting all the way to Mars.

What’s really fuelling the Veronica Mars frenzy: Josh Volk at Vulture is very good on the perils of ‘internet nostalgia’.

• Joss Whedon on Kickstarter and Firefly: of course we want to know what Whedon thinks about this, and Adam B. Vary at Buzzfeed got the answers.

Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas on the wildly successful Kickstarter movie campaign: Alan Sepinwall scores a follow-up interview for HitFlix.

Veronica Mars and exchanges of value revisited: Jason Mittell at Just TV has some predictably valuable round-up thoughts.

Travelling hopefully: some weeks back I highlighted the project by Norwegian broadcaster NRK to present long, long (up to ten hours) travelling shots of train journeys, such as the one filmed on the Nordlandsbaden linethat moves through the seasons as it develops; Luke McKernan locates these documentaries in a tradition of phantom rides and virtual travel by film and concludes with comments on their attractions:

What seems to make the broadcasts works so effectively is how they gently take people out of themselves. We are disembodied. We float freely through the landscape at an even speed, and though we are on a journey than began somewhere and will end somewhere else, to all intents and purposes we are travelling endlessly.

Tate Shots – Simon Starling’s Phantom Ride: … and Starling has just opened a new film work in the Duveen Galleries that extends the idea of a phantom ride, taking the viewer on a trip through the time and space of Tate Britain; this video was shot during its production:

Wonderland: a terrific post by Chris O’Rourke at his blog London Filmland about Wonderland venue for music hall, films and boxing fights in London’s East End, which after it burned down (for the second time) in 1911 was the site for the Rivoli ‘super cinema.

Charles Urban: Luke McKernan (again!) has updated his website about this major figure of early cinema, about whom has also written a forthcoming book.

Moving Places: Jonathan Rosenbaum is re-presenting his wonderful 1980 book in 11 online instalments, and this link takes you to the first – his writing has been important to me ever since I read this thirty years ago.

For-ev-ah young: Amy Taubin at Artforum liked Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers so much that she has seen it three times…

A rivalry with God: … and in another thoughtful piece about a current film, Ian Buruma hymns Cristian Mungiu’s Beyond the Hills.

16, still super: David Bordwell follows up his earlier post about the joys of 16mm film, Sweet 16.

• Galaxy – Audrey Hepburn: I guess you’ve seen this spot with the cgi Aubrey Hepburn™, but it’s worth another look after reading Erica Gorochow’s piece at The Creators Project, Audrey Hepburn cruises by the uncanny valley, in which she talks with the makers at Framestore.

‘Embracing analog’ at SXSW – what the growing fascination with the physical means for marketers, and everyone else: Frank Rose at Deep Media reports on a survey carried out with JWT about what physical objects mean to people, especially when compared with their digital counterparts – even if it only confirms your intuitions, this is definitely one to read and pay attention to.

• Society for Cinema and Media Studies 2013 Conference Papers and Contributions Online: many thanks, as so often, to Catherine Grant at Film Studies for Free, for drawing together a great list of ‘resources pertaining to papers or presentations at the (recently concluded) annual conference of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies’ in Chicago.

• Film restoration in the digital age – a chat with James White: Glenn Kenny at Some Came Running offers a fascinatingly detailed interview with the film restoration maestro, with a focus on the recent releases of The Passion of Joan of Arc and Zombie Flesh Eaters.

• BBC Celebrating 90 Years: the BBC launched an upgraded Innovations timeline this week, and whether or not you think Come Dancing returns as Strictly should be there alongside John Logie Baird tests television, the information should at least be accurate… and as I have pointed out before, coverage of the Coronation of King George VI in 1937 was NOT ‘BBC television’s first outside broadcast‘ – this page from the 8 January 1937 Radio Times describes OBs from the park at Alexandra Palace and makes explicit reference to ‘the first television outside broadcast’.

From Radio Times, 8 January 1937

Social media at the BBC – bridging the gap between audience and production: Rowan Kerek Robertson, editorial lead for social media in BBC Vision, offers some interesting thoughts about current practice.

John Freeman – Face to face with an enigma: who knew that the host of the influential interview show from the end of the 1950s, Face to Face, was still with us – and who knew he had done so much more? Hugh Purcell contributes to The New Statesman a glorious profile of a remarkable man.

You think you are a consumer but maybe you have been consumed: not sure how I missed this last week, but here is the start of a series of Adam Curtis posts about ‘stories that show how over the past fifty years both the political Right and the Left have gnawed away at the idea of objective truth’.

After Benning, after math, 12, 13, and counting…: at east of borneo Dick Hebdige’s dense discourse reflects on Two Cabins by artist James Benning, for which he has created in the Sierra Nevada exact replicas of the huts of Thoreau and the Unabomber – reading this I realised that I’ve been missing reading Hebdige’s work for far too long (with thanks to Parallax View).

MOCA-National Gallery of Art deal is an empty prospect: Christopher Knight at the L.A. Times is our best guide to the ins and outs of the story unfolding at MOCA in his city, and this is his latest astringent despatch.

Primrose – Russian colour photography: Regine at we make money not art has a great post about a wonderful-looking show at Foam in Amsterdam; there are more images and a really interesting text by curator Olga Sviblova at the site of the Multimedia Art Museum Moscow where the exhibition originated.

Danse macabre: maybe you think you’ve read all you need to about the acid attack on the Bolshoi’s artistic director Sergei Filin – David Remnick’s reporting from Moscow for the magazine he edits, The New Yorker, will convince you that before this, you hadn’t.

A strike and a start – founding the New York Review: as part of the 50th birthday celebration, Jason Epstein remembers the dinner at which it all began (and of the invite list for which he is the sole survivor).

The nightmare of the West Memphis Three: … and this is a remarkable and disturbing essay by Nathaniel Rich from the latest issue of The New York Review of Books about a story that can be seen ‘a modern-day Salem Witch Trials’.

The Thing redialled – how a BBS changed the art world and came back from the dead: Joshua Kopstein at The Verge has a terrific tale about the digital restoration of a pioneering electronic bulletin board from the early 1990s.

The demise of Google Reader – on the path to driverless information retrieval: Simon Barron at The British Library’s Digital Scholarship blog has a good piece on the implications of our loss (I’m thoroughly fed up at Google taking this away), plus suggestions for how to replace it in our lives; John Paul Titlow at ReadWrite is also worth reading on this, Why we mourn Google Reader – and why it matters; and so is Michael Mahemoff at GigaOm, Why Google killed off Google Reader – it was self-defense.

Towards a complex, realistic and moral tech criticism: Alexis C Madrigal at The Atlantic pens an admiring response to the writing of Evgeny Morozov, whose new book To Save Everything, Click Here, Madrigal describes as ‘the most wide-ranging and generative critique of digital technology I’ve ever read’.

The future of peer review: on Twitter Catherine Grant @filmstudiesff strongly (and rightly) recommended this fine piece by Dr Martin Paul Eve, Lecturer in English Literature, University of Lincoln. • And finally, let’s finish up with two deconstructive trailers from different sides of the pond – first up, Louis C K’s spot for his forthcoming HBO special…

… which we have to follow with the teaser spot for this summer’s Alan Partridge movie…

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