The question is, Is this the end of television as we know it? Henry Jenkins at Confessions of an aca-fan asks it with more acuity than most, highlighting a video (that I have embedded below) of an hour-long panel discussion at the recent research summit organised by the Annenberg Innovation Lab. If you want to understand something of this year’s seismic changes in television (or at least in the current American mode of the medium) then the contributions are well worth a watch. Jenkins also helpfully provides a host of links explicating some of the key shifts. On this topic, see also Google has a Trojan horse to disrupt TV – really, really big data by John Paul Titlow for read write. After the video, stay tuned for the usual mix of top clix (including a wonderful Hamlet mash up), with thanks this week to @JackofKent and @Chi_Humanities.
• Scandals of classic Hollywood – Robert Redford, golden boy: this might well be the nest thing you read all weekend – Anne Helen Petersen for the hairpin on an actor who
has a storytime voice, the perfect level of tan, and haphazardly spaced highlights that betray a life lived en plein air. I love him for his palpable Westernness, his ease with open spaces, the scent of high altitude that seems to waft from him.’
Great picture research too.
• Viva Mabuse! #39 – Silk!: Michael Atkinson at Sundance Now suggests engagingly that we should think of Hollywood ‘pre-Code’ films (that is, those made between the coming of sound and the 1934 enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code) as a distinct genre.
• The past, present tense: this week has seen a torrent of good discussion from the Cannes Film Festival – I was particularly intrigued by this piece by Daniel Kasman for mubi.com about Claude Lanzmann’s The Last of the Unjust.
• Mark Cousins – the kids stay in the picture: also from Cannes, Charlotte Higgins for the Guardian talks film essays with the maker of The Story of Film.
• How to find an audience for your indie film: Frank Rose’s post at Deep Media is a useful way to get to Marc Schiller’s post for ifp.com, The ‘360 degree’ equation: the one business model every filmmaker needs to know. Schiller connects ideas of community, data, content bundling and dynamic pricing in a way that has lessons for all of us looking for markets for audio-visual content. Frank Rose also points to the excellent distribution case study by the makers of Indie Game: The Movie, from which I have learned a lot over the past week.
• Hamlet Mash Up: this is just totally great – Geoff Klock’s 15-minute cut of 198 movies and TV shows quoting the play (via Slate) – we’re in there at around 3:07 and there’s a wonderful credits roll too.
• A word from our sponsor: Jane Mayer’s meticulous reporting for The New Yorker of a worrying case for American public television: ‘This wasn’t a failed negotiation or a divergence of visions; it was censorship, pure and simple.’
• Predictions for educational TV in the 1930s: I chanced on this Paleofuture post by Matt Novak from last year and was fascinated by its discussion of early ideas and experiments in the States with teaching by television.
• Shazam’s new iPad app is designed for watching TV with a tablet, too: Brian Proffitt at read write has more on the moves towards a future where ‘a strong blend of social and multimedia content [is] designed to make us forget the time when we ever watched TV through a single, lonely screen.’
• Metadata matters: … and Luke McKernan’s post matters too, with its detailed discussion of ‘data about data’ and the coming ‘automated, self-generating broadcast archive’ – this feels particularly timely in the week the BBC announced it is abandoning its plans for the Digital Media Initiative for the archive.
• How does copyright work in space?: The Economist explains some of the complications of Chris Hadfield’s ‘Space Oddity’ recording from the International Space Station.
• Of captions, credits and queens – Tweeting the medieval manuscript: you see what happens when an institution like The British Library makes available a treasure trove of images… people start to use them and enjoy them and share them and make them live again; a delightful post from Robert Miller on the BL’s Medieval manuscripts blog.
• Jerry Saltz and Justin Davidson on the restoration of Donald Judd’s loft: from New York Magazine’s Vulture.
• The Merce Cunningham archives: the ‘preservation’ of modern dance is a topic that for no obvious reason fascinates me – and this is a very thoughtful piece by Lizzie Fiedelson for n+1.
Lead image: An American family watching television, c. 1958 by Evert F Baumgartner, from the National Archives and Records Administration via Wikipedia.