Speaking of Ways of Seeing (see previous post).
Beginning of the first of four Ways of Seeing at the BBC
This is a first for me, I’ve read the book, but had never seen the documentary film. Fascinating.
It starts with Berger cutting a piece out of a quattrocento painting in a museum, moves to showing a printing press printing the cut-out, switches then to fragments of Man with a Movie Camera accompanied by the text of the 1923 manifesto Kinoks Revolution, by Vertov (see below). Please also the checkbook lettering which were en vogue at the time.
Notes how Berger constistenly says “camewa” and “woom”.
An excerpt of Vertov’s manifesto:
“I’m an eye. A mechanical eye. I, the machine, show you a world the way only I can see it. I free myself for today and forever from human immobility. I’m in constant movement. I approach and pull away from objects. I creep under them. I move alongside a running horse’s mouth. I fall and rise with the falling and rising bodies. This is I, the machine, manoeuvring in the chaotic movements, recording one movement after another in the most complex combinations. Freed from the boundaries of time and space, I co-ordinate any and all points of the universe, wherever I want them to be. My way leads towards the creation of a fresh perception of the world. Thus I explain in a new way the world unkown to you.”
One just has to love Youtube for making all of this available. Filesharing has made music available (but not in real-time alas), Google books did the same for books, Youtube does it for the moving image. There is still a wealth of TV and radio documentaries waiting to be unearthed. I am particularly thinking of European state funded radio and television since the 1960s.
David Toop (born 1949) is one of the more adventurous and intelligent music critics of the late 20th century. He is coming to the Argos center (Werfstraat 13 rue du Chantier) in Brussels next Wednesday at 20:30. I hope I can make it. I’ve never heard him lecture. Here is an excerpt from his intro at Argos.arts.
“Seeing comes before words. The child sees and recognizes before it can speak.” These are the first two sentences of John Berger’s Ways of Seeing. Berger defines sight as the primary human sense and introduces the idea that we find our place in the world through seeing. What this premise ignores is the fact that sound comes before seeing, and the child listens before it looks. In this lecture David Toop will investigate the position of sound in the realm of the senses, the relationship between hearing and seeing, between silence and not seeing. What did Marcel Duchamp mean when he proclaimed “one can look at seeing; one can’t hear hearing”? Are we living in a visual age, as the cliché goes, or rather in an aural world? What can words and images tell us about sonic absences and hauntings? What are the challenges sound artists, who work in the domain of visual arts, are confronted with?” –argosarts.org
Here is Toop interviewing Bjork @ Youtube.
Utopia in the United States
Founded by Charles Fourier, died 170 years ago today
François Marie Charles Fourier (April 7, 1772 – October 10, 1837) was a French utopian socialist and philosopher. Fourier coined the word féminisme in 1837; as early as 1808, he had argued that the extension of women’s rights was the general principle of all social progress. Fourier inspired communism, situationism, 1960s countercultures and Hakim Bey. He was the subject of a study by Roland Barthes Sade, Fourier, Loyola (1971), is mentioned in André Breton‘s Anthology of Black Humor (1940) and has a whole convolute dedicated to him in Walter Benjamin‘s Arcades Project.
Previous Icons of Counterculture.
See also: Knots of indecision