What if the creative production of audiovisual material centrally constitutes the research into audiovisuality?
Back from its wee break, Film Studies For Free was saddened to hear of the passing of one of the DIY geniuses responsible for its author’s early fascination with the world of filmmaking: Oliver Postgate, co-creator (with Peter Firmin) of numerous magical Small Films shown on television (Bagpuss, Clangers, Ivor the Engine, Noggin the Nog, Pogles, Pingwings), died peacefully in Broadstairs on the Kent coast on 8 December 2008.
Here are some Postgate weblinks:
Cartoon Brew weblog post ‘Pingwings Rediscovered’ link added 11.12.08
- …And God Created Woman
- America, America
- And the Ship Sails On (feat. Michael Joshua Rowin)
- Aranyer Din Ratri / Days and Nights in the Forest (1970, Satyajit Ray) – featuring Preston Miller
- Born on the Fourth of July (feat. Matt Zoller Seitz)
- Burnt by the Sun (feat. Andy Horbal)
- El Cid (1961, Anthony Mann) with Mike D’Angelo
- Evil Dead II
- Grey Gardens (1975, Albert and David Maysles, Ellen Hovde, Muffie Meyer) with commentary by Vadim Rizov
- Hour of the Star/A Hora da Estrela
- Il Posto (feat. Keith Uhlich)
- La femme infidele feat. Dan Sallitt
- La Haine
- Le boucher feat. Dan Sallitt
- Louisiana Story
- Nicht versöhnt oder Es hilft nur Gewalt wo Gewalt herrscht / Not Reconciled or Only Violence Helps Where it Rules (1965, Jean-Marie Straub) featuring commentary by Richard Brody
- Nixon (feat. Matt Zoller Seitz)
- Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid
- Peter Ibbetson
- Sugar Cane Alley
- The Draughtsman’s Contract (1982, Peter Greenaway) with Karina Longworth
- The Heiress (feat. Cindi Rowell)
- The Saragossa Manuscript
- The Sun Shines Bright (1956, John Ford) featuring Jonathan Rosenbaum
- The Vanishing
- “The Wire and the Art of the Credits Sequence” video essays on the Moving Image Source (Watch Part One; Watch Part Two – feat. Matt Zoller Seitz and Andrew Dignan)
- They Died with Their Boots On (feat. Matt Zoller Seitz)
- Tobacco Road
- Un coeur en hiver / A Heart in Winter (1991, Claude Sautet) with Mike D’Angelo
- Unfaithfully Yours
- U samogo sinyego morya / By the Bluest of Seas (1936, Boris Barnet) featuring commentary by Nicole Brenez
- While the City Sleeps
- Woman in the Window (feat. Girish Shambu)
After a recent flurry of literally feverish activity, Film Studies For Free is going to take a richly-deserved, two-week break so that its cold-ridden author can become fully healthy once more, and go off to deliver a talk on her own work (which is not totally unconnected to the focus of today’s blog post, as it happens). In the meantime, FSFF leaves you with a little video essay by Lee and Dan Sallitt on another of this blog’s favourite filmmakers (alongside Buñuel), Claude Chabrol. Adieu, pour le moment…
Open Access publishing is not all that scary
Tireless proponent and exponent of radical Open Access Professor Gary Hall gave his lecture — ‘Pirate Philosophy’ — as part of the Research in Progress Seminar Series at the School of Media and Film at the University of Sussex, a talk he had also delivered at his own institution, Coventry University. The Sussex event was chaired by Caroline Bassett, whose own writing on digital media is well worth checking out: click HERE for an online Open Access article by her on Web 2.0 and read about her new book, The Arc and the Machine: Narrative and New Media (complete with its discussion of Gus Van Sant’s film Elephant) HERE.
This Lecture presented a series of performative media projects or ‘media gifts’. Operating at the intersection of art, media and philosophy, these projects – which include an open access archive and a ‘liquid book’ – are gifts in that they are part of the ‘academic gift economy’ which circulates research for free rather than as market commodities. They are performative in that they are instances of media that produce the things of which they speak and are engaged primarily through their performance.
The media gift that this Lecture focussed on was ‘Pirate Philosophy’. This project investigated some of the implications of internet pirate philosophy for the arts and humanities, particularly the latter’s ideas of authorship, the book, the academic journal, scholarly publishing, intellectual property, copyright law, content creation and cultural production. ‘Pirate Philosophy’ explores such ideas both philosophically and legally through the creation of an actual ‘pirate’ text.
Hall’s lecture richly explored all sorts of different models for Open Access as well as, very engagingly, the current relevance to these matters of the work of a variety of cultural theorists (most prominently Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Zygmunt Bauman, and the gift-economics of Marcel Mauss — ‘gifts are never free’, but instead often give rise to reciprocal exchange).
The question session at the end of the seminar showed that many of those attending were, in part, inspired by Hall’s call to piracy/self-piracy, but were residually anxious in the ways that academics employed (or working towards being employed) by the current system so often are about the challenges to conventional systems of academic, and other, authorship that Web 2.0 has raised, and that Web 3.0 will take even further. Hall’s tactical refusal to assuage those anxieties was well met by this attendee, though. A little pirate heartiness will indeed be necessary if the lockdown culture of Western Academia is truly to change. (But that’s easy for this blogger to say…)
All these debates are closely connected to ones about the spreadability of digital moving image materials as well as text-based ones. Interested FSFF readers should also check out Gary Hall’s website together with Culture Machine, the online journal he co-founded and edits, which will have an upcoming issue on Pirate Philosophy. You should also visit and support CSeARCH, the pioneering Humanities online-archive he co-founded in 1999. Hall’s latest book Digitize This Book! The Politics of New Media, or Why We Need Open Access Now is a highly compelling read, but you can get some sense of his detailed arguments from the following online conference proceedings piece: ‘The Politics and Ethics of Electronic Archiving’; and from the following interview: ‘OA in the Humanities Badlands’.
If you’ve got as far as this point in this post, ye verily deserve today’s final, ‘piratical’ gift: a video of Hall’s lecture as given at Coventry University on September 29, 2008:
Film Studies For Free has already waxed lyrical about CinemaTech, the great blog by Scott Kirsner. Today CinemaTech offered up a link to a video posted on YouTube by Google of a hugely informative 46 minute-long talk on the history of Hollywood film technological innovations given by Kirsner when he visited the company. The presentation is wonderfully delivered and festooned with great clips.
Here’s the blurb for the talk, with hyperlinks added by Film Studies For Free for further information:
Scott Kirsner visits Google‘s Mountain View, CA headquarters to discuss his book “Inventing the Movies: Hollywood’s Epic Battle Between Innovation and the Status Quo, from Thomas Edison to Steve Jobs.” This event took place on October 16, 2008, as part of the Authors@Google series.From Edison to the iPod, from the Warner Brothers to George Lucas, the story of how the movies became America’s favorite form of escapist entertainment–and retained their hold on our imaginations for more than a century–is a story of innovators prevailing again and again over skeptics who prefer to preserve the status quo. Inventing the Movies unspools the never-before-told story of the innovators who shaped Hollywood: how a chance meeting at the Saratoga Race Track led to the end of black-and-white movies … how Bing Crosby brought you the VCR … how Walt Disney tamed television … how a shotgun blast signaled the end of hand-made models and the beginning of digital special effects … and how even the almighty Morgan Freeman had trouble persuading theater-owners that the Internet wasn’t their mortal enemy. Inventing the Movies is an important read not just for fans of Hollywood’s history, but for innovators trying to make change happen in any industry.
This is obviously a very ‘technology-positive’, not to say ‘technologically-triumphalist’, take on Hollywood/California history; for much more nuanced views readers should take a look at Henry Jenkins‘s work, including his blog. But Film Studies For Free thinks that this free video is well worth a watch and certainly serves as a particularly good and lively introduction to film technology history for those who are fairly new to the topic.
P.S. Film Studies For Free was stunned yesterday to hear the news that the aforementioned Henry Jenkins is to depart from the MIT Comparative Media Studies program that he co-founded to take up a new position at the University of Southern California. Truly, the end of an era, but hopefully the beginning of another one for work on participatory culture.
the new website for the British Cartoon Archive
Paul Ward‘s Introduction to the great Animation Studies issue of online journal Enter Text (no. 4.1)
Here are direct links to the other articles in the issue: Giannalberto Bendazzi: African cinema Animation; Joanna Bouldin: Criminal Realism: Virtual Child Pornography, Photorealism and the Legislation of the Virtual Animated Body; David Surman: Animated Caricature: Notes on Superman, 1941-1943; Suzanne Buchan: Animation Spectatorship: The Quay Brothers’ Animated “Worlds”; Michael Nottingham: Downing the Folk-festive: Menacing Meals in the Films of Jan Svankmajer; Thomas Lamarre: An Introduction to Otaku Movement; George Griffin: Willful Ignorance: Making Flying Fur; Sarah Bowen: Mindscapes and Landscapes: Pixillation and Live-Action in the Making of Daze; Penn Stevens: Making Tied Down; Richard O’Connor: Three Ways of Avoiding Animation.
- Two further, noteworthy, Open Access articles on international animation: Gigi Hu Tze-yue, ‘Understanding Japanese animation: from Miyazaki and Takahataanime’; and Paula Callus’s article on African animation (commissioned by Africa in Motion)
Tate Modern 02-03-2007 Pervasive Animation conference podcasts
Finally, and also on Miyazake’s oeuvre, please check out the following great Open Access publication by Rayna Denison for the online journal Scope: ‘Disembodied Stars and the Cultural Meanings of Princess Mononoke’s Soundscape’.
Today, Film Studies For Free brings you news of some more cinema-related items from the Internet Archive. The following are links to out of copyright or otherwise legally scannable books that have been collected and archived by the IA. They may be accessed in various formats (PDF, DjVu, Full Text) and can take a while to download, but it’s great that they’re available online. There are quite a few film books archived (of variable quality) — check out the IA search tool HERE — but Film Studies For Free especially likes these classic tomes:
- Film Technique And Film Acting (1958) – V. I. Pudovkin (also on Google Books)
- Theory of the Film (1952) – Béla Balázs
- From Caligari To Hitler: A Psychological History Of The German Film (1947) – Siegfried Kracauer
- Jean Cocteau: Diary of a Film (1950 – on La Belle et la Bête) – Ronald Duncan (limited preview on Google Books)
- The Film Till Now: A Survey of World Cinema (1949) – Paul Rotha (on Google Books)
- Rotha On The Film A Selection Of Writings About The Cinema (1958) – Paul Rotha
- Kino A History Of The Russian And Soviet Film (1960) – Jay Leyda (snippet view on Google Books)
- The Rise of the American Film: A Critical History (1939) – Lewis Jacobs
- Le Fantastique au cinéma (1958) – Michel Laclos (in French)
By the way, if you want to know more about these or any other books then Film Studies For Free recommends you look no further than the wonderful Open Library site. The Open Library promises ‘one web page [full of information] for every book ever published’:
To date, we have gathered about 30 million records (20 million are available through the site now [and there are 1,064,822 so far with full-text]), and more are on the way. We have built the database infrastructure and the wiki interface, and you can search millions of book records, narrow results by facet, and search across the full text of 1 million scanned books.
The Open Library is a project of the non-profit Internet Archive, and is funded in part by a grant from the California State Library. It needs volunteers (like all wiki-type projects) so, to find out more about participating, please click HERE, or just start browsing around and add some book information.
Finally, thanks for all the appreciative email comments about Film Studies For Free‘s listing of Online and Open-Access Film and Moving-Image Studies Writing Of Note by Individual Named Authors (also see the explanation of the listing HERE). To reiterate, suggestions for further items for inclusion are also warmly welcomed: please email Film Studies For Free HERE. Thanks.