John Wyver writes: As you may have noticed, I have almost immediately failed to fulfil my resolution to write three non-links posts each week. There’s just SO much else to write at the moment: a grant application, a television series outline, a conference paper, a promised article, a book proposal. Apologies. But at least I can – just about – keep pushing out Sunday links. Here’s this week’s, with my usual thanks to those who I follow on Twitter for their great recommendations.
• A landmark reckoning with America’s racial past and present: an important and authoritative review by Adam Hochschild for The New York Times of the book version, incorporating revisions, extensive citations and new material, of The 1619 Project:
Despite what demagogues claim, honoring the story told in The 1619 Project and rectifying the great wrongs in it need not threaten or diminish anyone else’s experience, for they are all strands of a larger American story. Whether that fragile cloth holds together today, in the face of blatant defiance of election results and the rule of law, depends on our respect for every strand in the weave.
• Inventing the science of race [£, but single access via free registration]: a remarkable essay by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Andrew S. Curran for The New York Review about slavery and the Enlightenment.
• Spectral Effects, Ghost described, and how to produce them: some books on the magic lantern: a lovely post about nineteenth-century SFX from Raphaëlle, Library Assistant at the Whipple Library, and linked to their delightful display (which is online and IRL), The Magic Lantern in Europe: from the Camera Obscura to the earliest form of cinema [opens in Sway].
• Filmmaking without a camera: a new video essay from Accented Cinema running through films made on iPhones and other unexpected moving image machines:
• Citizen Kane – the once and future Kane: as Criterion release their 4K version of one of the greats, Bilge Ebiri’s essay is well worth reading.
• Stage coach: for Artforum, Cassie da Costa about the cinematic and theatricality in the just-released Drive My Car and Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s other films.
• Subjunctive cinema: IDFA, before and after: Girish Shambu for Film Quarterly on Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s documentary Homo Sapiens (2016; the header image) and other films in a series titled The Future Tense assembled by curator Sarah Dawson for the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) that ‘reveal our relationship to the future … by searching the present for potential futures’; Shambu also draws into his resonant argument this fascinating (but looong) Youtube lecture by Steven Shaviro, ‘Extrapolation, speculation and fabulation’:
• The Beatles were like aliens from the future in 1969 – and they are still as radical today: really good from Jonathan Freedland, Guardian.
• Who controls the narrative?: On David M. Higgins’s Reverse Colonization: Science Fiction, Imperial Fantasy, and Alt-Victimhood: for LA Review of Books, Brian Atterbery writes on a book I’d never heard of but now am really keen to read:
Higgins examines a particular cluster of narratives about power and identity, a cluster that is nicely described in his title: stories that use the iconography of science fiction to express fear of the other and resentment of loss of power, thus giving a boost to a number of reactionary movements, from Brexit and the cult of Trump to anti-feminist internet trolldom. Higgins traces the origins of a set of powerful tropes in print science fiction from the 1960s and early 1970s; he then follows their spread through media and electronic culture as well as their uses in political rhetoric and advertising.
• ‘Losing My Mind’ from Follies by Stephen Sondheim, sung by Bernadette Peters: what else could I end this week with?