The week’s links 8-15/4

8th April 2012

Let’s start a new week’s links with a terrific post at The Bioscope, And the ship sails on. Just what was filmed of the Titanic, Urbanora asks, and what survives today? Precious little, it turns out, since the only genuine extant shots are the ones of the ship in Belfast that open the newsreel below (shot by Gaumont but is now controlled by British Pathé).

What does the extant film of the Titanic signify? Of itself, it has little to say. It is not very interesting film of a big ship. It evokes no sense of loss, greatness, vaingloriousness, hubris or tragedy. We bring those feelings to the film, once we are told what it signifies. We invest our feelings in what we see on the screen. Yet there is that special frisson when we see the footage and realise that what is now history was once actuality. A connection is made that is part of the unique power of film, collapsing time while simultaneously making us aware of the yawning gap of time.

Beyond the break you’ll find more links to great stuff – to which I’ll add during the coming week. Already featured are discussions of John Berger and Beyoncé, Hamlet and The Hunger Games, plus the most astonishing dance film you’ll see all week (the lobby card above is a clue).

Unsinkable: ‘why we can’t let go of the Titanic’ by Daniel Mendelsohn for The New Yorker.

• Watching the Internet, part one and part two: there’s a good deal of good sense in this valuable interview by Henry Jenkins with Jose M. Alvarez-Monzoncillo from the University of Madrid.

Justifying David Simon: I enthused about Jason Mittell’s writing on American television in this week’s Complexity post; here he is reflecting on responding in print to episodic television as it unfolds; on this topic Mittell also recommends (rightly) Sympathy for Kurt Sutter (and Veena Sud, and David Simon) by Noel Murray for The A.V. Club.

Missionaries: Michael Kimmelman in The New York Review of Books on Gertrude Stein, art collector – the focus of the show The Steins Collect (until 3 June) at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The naked eye: the Financial Times’ writer on art Jackie Wullschlager really is a very good critic – here she is on the exhibition Degas and the Nude at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris (until 1 July).

• John Berger’s Ways of Seeing @ 40: a MUBI.com round-up of recent responses to the BFI Southbank screening of the seminal 1972 BBC series.

Modernism’s slyest lens: a delightful short piece by Martin Filler for The New York Review of Books about the 94 year old photographer of architectural modernism Pedro E. Guerrero.

Steel the show – Anthony Caro at Chatsworth House: lovely Guardian video of the eminent sculptor’s exhibition in the grounds of the great country house (until 1 July)…

• … and there’s a very nice review of the exhibition by Marina Vaizey for the  arts desk, Caro at Chatsworth.

Total radio: a short post from Radio 3’s Steve Bowbrick with six reasons why Radio 3’s recent ‘The Spirit of Schubert’ 200-hours takeover was ‘awesome radio’. There is still a great range of Schubert-related audio online – details here. Bravo, bravo – but why is television’s arts offering impoverished by comparison?

Visualizing sound – representations of sound in contemporary creation: Regine at we make money not art reviews – with a host of images and videos – the new exhibition at LABoral in Gijon.

Soundscapes in Maastricht: another stimulating sound post, with MichaelC at Putney Debater reporting from the symposium Soundscapes of the Urban Past.

Data visualization and computational art history: wow! Lev Manovich has posted online the syllabus of his 2012 course at UCSD – links to lots of readings and resources, and enough ideas to keep you occupied for several dozen semesters.

Judith Mackrell on live streaming: a note for the Guardian by their esteemed dance critic about watching dance on screens.

Orphan works – causes of the problem: learned legal paper (but well worth a read nonetheless) by David Robert Hansen about the complexities brought about ‘the owner of a copyrighted work cannot be located by someone who wishes to make use of the work in a manner that requires authorization’.

‘Coffee Time’ with Fred Astaire and Lucille Bremer: this is just irresistible – I saw Vincente Minnelli’s Yolanda and the Thief (1945) in the current season of his films at BFI Southbank, and this sensational dance sequence – with choreography by Eugene Loring – is one of the big numbers.

• A radical female hero from dystopia: a thoughtful (and highly recommended) exchange in The New York Times between critics A. O. Scott and Manohla Dargis about the contradictory character Katniss Everdeen inThe Hunger Games books and movie; see also Manohla Dargis’ original review, ‘Tested by a picturesque dystopia’.

Decoding the Beyoncé Tumblr: a typically rich post from Anne Helen Petersen that does pretty much what it says on the tin (well, in the title) – and believe me, I really liked this even though I have next to no interest in Beyoncé.

Robert Caro’s big dig: Caro has been writing the biography of Lyndon Johnson for forty years – for The New York Times Charles McGrath profiles the consummate chronicler of political power.

Philip Larkin complete: good essay for The New Criterion on Larkin’s greatness by Michael Dirda prompted by the new edition of the Complete Poems edited by Archie Burnett.

Shakespeare’s original pronunciation (2012): the ever-excellent Stuart Ian Burns on the Hamlet fragments included on Ben Crystal’s fascinating British Library CD of ‘original pronunciation’ Shakespeare – had I but world enough and time I’d write a proper blog about the fascinating CD (and I still intend to) but let me take this opportunity to recommend it to you.

The strange case of Thomas Dekker: Holger Syme at Dispositio on the Jacobean playwright who you need to know more about.

The case for Shakespeare – words, words, words: for The New York Times Eric Rode reviews Simon Callow’s one-man show Being Shakespeare which is currently playing at BAM in Brooklyn: ‘invigorating… the propulsive energy of a particularly juicy membership-drive PBS special.’ Remember you can buy our DVD version of the show here.

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