Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘video’

05 OCTOBER, 2011

Everything is a Remix: Creative Influences in The Matrix

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Tracing the line from Doctor Who to Morpheus, or what Neo has to do with Alice in Wonderland.

If you’ve been paying close attention, you know I’m a big believer in combinatorial creativity and proponent remix culture, and I find Kirby Ferguson’s fantastic four-part documentary, Everything is a Remix, to be the most thoughtful and important treatise on the subject to come by in recent years. While Kirby is putting the finishing touches on the fourth and final part of the series, Rob G. Wilson — who previously dissected Kill Bill for the second part of the documentary — did this fascinating analysis of influences in The Matrix. It was written by Cynthia Closkey and most of the parallels in it were crowdsourced from Everything is a Remix fans.

Join me in supporting Kirby’s fantastic project with a donation, and catch up on the first three parts before the final one arrives next month.

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04 OCTOBER, 2011

The Innovator’s Cookbook: Great Minds on the Power of Serendipity

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How to win the future, or what 3D printing has to do with Twitter, Brian Eno and Obama.

Steven Johnson is easily my favorite non-fiction author working today, his writing pure mesmerism and his thinking an epitome of the cross-disciplinary curiosity I so firmly believe is central to creative and intellectual growth. On the heels of his excellent Where Good Ideas Come From comes The Innovator’s Cookbook: Essentials for Inventing What Is Next — a formidable compendium of essays, interviews, and insights on innovation by big thinkers like Richard Florida, John Seely Brown, Peter Drucker and many more, alongside Johnson’s own ever-enchanting writing and new material by tech darlings like Google’s Marissa Mayer and Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Jack Dorsey, dethroning innovation from its status of buzzword royalty and approaching it instead with a lucid, thoughtful, cross-disciplinary lens refracting across education, art, science, economics, urban design, and more.

Underpinning the anthology is a message about the essential role serendipity plays in innovation — or, as Johnson puts it, “the importance of getting lost.”

But as a lover of fine book trailers, I was particularly taken with this stop-motion gem on the making of the book’s cover, 3D-printed by MakerBot, one of these 7 open-source platforms changing the future of manufacturing.

It may not be possible to ‘win the future,’ in President Obama’s words, but if we’re going to encourage more innovation, it’s not enough for us to just dig in and work harder. We also need to encourage surprise and serendipity. We need to play each other’s instruments.” ~ Steven Johnson

The Innovator’s Cookbook is part Follow for Now, part Culture, part An Optimist’s Tour of the Future — but, mostly, something entirely original and wholly potent, the way only Johnson can deliver.

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04 OCTOBER, 2011

MetaMaus: Inside the Making of the Comic that Made History

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Why comics? Why mice? Why the Holocaust?

Twenty-five years ago, beloved comic artist and editor Art Spiegelman published Maus: A Survivor’s Tale — his cult-classic comic book about the Holocaust based on the biography of Spiegelman’s father, which went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1992 and paved the way for comics as a medium for nonfiction.

Today, Spiegelman releases the highly anticipated MetaMaus: A Look Inside a Modern Classic, Maus — a fascinating look at the thinking, tinkering, and creative process behind the making of the iconic comic.

The book seems to loom over me like my father once did, and journalists and students still want answers to the same few questions: Why comics? Why mice? Why the Holocaust?”

The book comes with a digitized reference copy of The Complete Maus in the form of a bonus DVD, linked to a deep archive of audio interviews with his survivor father, historical documents, and a wealth of Spiegelman’s private notebooks and sketches. (A fine addition to our favorite voyeuristic peeks inside the sketchbooks of great creators.)

MetaMaus offers a rare glimpse inside the mind of a genius storyteller, using Spiegelman’s celebrated visual eloquence to illuminate the deeper psychological and sociocultural elements that underpin his thoughtful, provocative, masterful classic.

Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s an example. Like? Sign up.